It’s quite likely you’ve never heard someone preach about the party tithe, but it’s actually a thing. In the Torah there were three tithes – one to support the full-time temple workers, one for the poor, and one for parties.
God told the Israelites that once a year they were to bring a tithe of their crops, wine, and oil to Jerusalem so they could have a feast. This was mandatory fun, commanded by the Living God.
And if anyone would find it too difficult to travel the whole way carrying all their produce, they were told they could sell it. Then they would bring the money instead. And when they arrived they could ‘spend the money for whatever you desire – oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves’ (Deuteronomy 14.26).
Make no mistake, neither the prohibitionists of yesteryear nor the purse-lipped vegans of today would have been particularly happy. Prime rib and brandy were on the menu, and God expected his people to get merry and laugh.
Why? Because celebration fosters gratitude, and gratitude is at the heart of worship. As soon as you stop having fun in Jesus’ name, your faith is very much in trouble. But enjoying raucous laughter, good food, and strong drink can all be ways of stating that Jesus is Lord, that he’s kind, and that he loves us. (Obviously, abusing these things is a way of saying he isn’t Lord, but that’s a topic for another day.)
With this in mind, I want to invite you to join with us on our annual celebration of the fact that our church still exists (that was never guaranteed when we started – but God is faithful). So, come along, give thanks, and have some mandatory fun to the glory of God.