Tanzanians affirm again and again that there is no God like our God. None of the other gods compare to the Most High God. I have always thought that these were statements about God’s power but this week a friend helped me to see that this is also about God’s generosity. God is not only a more powerful God but a more beautiful God.
She said, if you choose the way of the witchdoctor, you go to him and you ask him for something. He will give it to you but he takes something in return. He might even ask you to sacrifice your child or someone else’s. You go again and he has a new demand. He takes and he takes. And maybe he does not even stop there. It stops being ‘give me X and I will do Y for you’ and becomes ‘unless you give me Z, I will do V to you.’ You become enslaved to him. She asked me, “Then how can you succeed?” You have neither freedom to pursue your plans and pieces of your life are being taken one by one.
But God is not like this, she told me. God is not a taking God; he is a giving God. He created the whole world and he gave it to humans to use wisely and to rule over. Not only this, when he gives it to us, he tells us to increase and become fruitful. God is all about increase, not decrease, and he gives the freedom, ability and resources to do so.
This means you do not need to approach God with a bargaining tool or a bribe like you do a witchdoctor. You can come freely to God with your concerns, problems and needs. You need not fear when coming before him, wondering what it will cost you. Even tithing is not demanded of God’s people with threats of death and destruction. It is a chance for thanksgiving from God’s people. And it is a mere trifle. Of the abundance God gives, what is 10%? What kind of God asks for such a small amount? The kind whose joy it is to give to his people and to see them being productive in it.
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.