Table Fellowship and the Tithe
And he gave him a tithe of all. ~Gen14:20b
What is table fellowship? The last few years have been a wonderful part of my spiritual journey, having been introduced to weekly communion. At the local church I’ve attended, there is a table that is central — not only in the furniture arrangement in front of the platform — but also in the worship experience. Wait a minute! I just heard a bit of a rumble from the midst of the congregation, saying “Yeah, I get that, but why did you have to bring the tithe into it?” That’s what we’ll explore in Genesis 13 & 14. Table fellowship and the Tithe.
Let there be no strife between you and me. ~Gen13:8
You’ll remember how “Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold” (Gen13:2). Verse 5 says “Lot also…had flocks and herds and tents.” So, they were both doing quite well. But verse 6 goes on to say, that “their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together.” Not only that, but “there was strife” between each of their respective workers.
I love that Abram took the high ground, initiating the elimination of strife between their guys. Always great (in the local church), for someone to take the initiative to elminate one of the great enemies of the church – namely strife.
Selfishness is the enemy of Generosity
Robert Morris of The Blessed Life has the revelation on this truth. Lot’s descent to Sodom began with the lust of the eyes, rooted in selfishness. Abram lived that blessed life with his roots in the soil of generosity.
Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom. ~Gen13:12
When deciding how to break away from each other (in order to avoid strife), Abram welcomed Lot to take whichever land he wanted and Abram would take whatever he did not want. Lot chose for himself the land that looked to be the best, but in so doing, Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom (Gen13:9-13). Applying this to our lives — when you choose for yourself that portion that looks to be best for you (selfishness), you compromise on God’s best and your heart begins this road of compromise. The descent into less than God’s best. Your gradual, yet eventual journey toward Sodom. And of course, Sodom represents darkness ruled by the prince of darkness (our adversary). Lesson> Don’t pitch your tent based on the lust of the eyes and flesh in the direction of darkness.
They took all the goods of Sodom and Gommorrah. ~Gen14:11
As you read Genesis 13 & 14 for yourself, you’ll discover how Abram delivered Lot out of the hand of the enemy, defeating them. Interesting wording in Gen14:11-12.
“Then they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their provisions, and went their way. They also took Lot…”
Reminds me of I Sam30 ~ David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken. “And David took all the flocks and the herds, which they drave before those other cattle, and said, This is David’s spoil.” The spoils are the booty — David went and got his booty back! Abram did go after Lot, but he also got all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah as well as getting Lot’s booty back. More than a conqueror. “So he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his brother Lot, and his goods…” ~Gen14:16.
Table Fellowship and the Tithe
And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. ~Gen14:18
Melchizedek is a picture of Christ Himself, “without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God ~Heb7:3” And so, how interesting that this High Priest (like our High Priest, the Lord Jesus) brought forth elements of bread and wine. This is communion, this is fellowship, this is a joint participation — the very fundamental meanings of the Greek word “koinonia“. And with that fellowship at the Table, the High Priest speaks a blessing over he, who is of God Most High. This God “has delivered your enemies into your hand.” ~Gen14:20)
And so it goes, that as Abram didn’t forget to go to church (come on, somebody), he finds the blessing of the Lord there as he presents himself humbly to God’s servant. He receives the Bread and the Wine in thanksgiving (think Eucharist – the giving of thanks).
And he gave him a tithe of all. ~Gen14:20
He came to church to present himself before God, to lay down the first 10% or tithe of everything. And then to pick up the Bread and the Wine. I believe this strengthened him for what was to come. Yes, he had great victory in days past, yet aren’t there always battles ahead? In fact, soon after in Abram’s case, the king of Sodom came to him and made an offer. “Give me the persons, and take the goods for yourself.” ~Gen14:21) Really? I’m thinking, “Wait a minute; I’ve already GOT both.” So, Abram was strengthened in standing up to the enemy in might and power and authority. And his mindset seemed to be — only God will get the glory for what He has done in me and through me. Verse 23 has Abram’s confession to that end, “I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say ‘I have made Abram rich’. You go, Abram.
Conclusion? Be generous. Avoid strife. Don’t forget those left behind. Stay open to being a blessing, not just wanting a blessing. Be part of a local church on a regular basis. Have koinonia, fellowship, and the giving of thanks — that’s communion — best when taken regularly with bread and wine). And don’t forget to honor God with the firstfruits, which by the way are His anyway. Return the first 10% to Him through the local church.
PS> After you’ve tithed to the Lord through your local church, consider a missionary offering to the children of the world through Abbott Ministry – true ministry to children – preaching the Gospel – not just children Bible stories.