God already owns everything. David said it, the Prophets said it, we are told this throughout the Tanakh. God is the Creator of everything.
When we tithe, we only give Him back what He already owns.
When we give to the poor, the orphaned and the widow, we give them what God gave us. It was His to begin with.
Our property- His; our gifts and talents- His; our very life- that’s right, it’s His, too. He gave it all to us, and we only give Him back that which He already owns.
Nu? What gift can we give God that is really a gift? What can we give God that is something we own, totally ours and no one else’s, something that He cannot have without us giving it to Him?
What can we possess that God doesn’t have, wants to have, but can’t have unless we give it to Him?
The answer is: our love and our faithful obedience.
God has given each one of us Free Will. We decide what we will do and what we won’t do; consequently, He made us in such a way that He doesn’t already own our love or obedience. And He wants it. He tells us so, doesn’t He? In the Bible, from front to back, we are told that what God wants is faithful obedience. More than sacrifice (maybe because He already owns the animals?), more than lip service, more than anything else. The V’Ahavta prayer (found in D’Varim/Deuteronomy right after the Shema) tells us, first and foremost, we are to love the Lord with all our heart, soul and strength. The Prophets tell us constantly to return to the Lord, and that means to do as He says we should do. Why? For His sake? No, for our sakes! In Ezekiel God says that He is not glad to see the sinner die, but rather that the sinner turn from his sins and live. God isn’t concerned with this corporeal existence when He says “live”, He means to have everlasting life in His presence. And He desires our love and obedience.
We are told God can do anything, but that isn’t true. I remember a funny paradox that George Carlin used to say, even though some may think it’s not all that respectful (God has to have a sense of humor- I mean, He created us, right?): George would ask, “If God can do anything, can He make a rock so big He can’t lift it?” I’m sorry, but that’s funny.
But, I digress.
There is one thing God can’t do, and that is sin. Oops! Make that two things God can’t do- sin, and make us love Him. Well, He could make us love Him, I suppose, but He won’t! As much as it hurts the Lord to see even one of His children suffer, He is just and fair. He laid down the rules and we can follow them or reject them. It’s totally up to each one of us.
I just remembered a story I once heard. No idea where it comes from, and I don’t even know if it’s valid as Jewish folklore, but it certainly sounds correct. I will put it out here and you decide if you like it or not.
Just after the Hebrews safely crossed the Red Sea, and as the waters engulfed the Egyptian army, the angels in heaven said to God, “Let’s sing a song of joy, for the children of Israel are safe!”, but God was sad. When they asked why He was sad, God said, “Because my children are dying.”
If you love the Lord, and you want to give Him something that is truly from your heart that really means something to Him, something He doesn’t have already, then love Him. And show that love by obeying Him.
Yeshua told His Talmudim that if they love Him, they will obey Him. He was just repeating what His Father has always said.
Give God your love and faithful obedience, and you will give God the only thing that exists which He doesn’t already own.