LCN Article
Make This a Giving Feast

September / October 2020

Scott D. Winnail

The Feast of Tabernacles is a spiritual highlight of the year for God’s firstfruits. This holy time points us to the 1,000-year reign of Jesus Christ and His saints on the earth—a time of reeducating and teaching humanity how to live God’s way of life. It is a time when the saints of God, as full members of the God Family, will give of themselves, their time, and their energy—24 hours a day, seven days a week, for a thousand years—as they help humanity understand that God’s way of life is the only way to true, lasting happiness. The Feast is a time when we contrast God’s “give” way of life with the “get” way of life that currently undergirds Satan’s failed society.

God commands His people to rejoice during His Feasts in the locations He chooses (Deuteronomy 12:12–14; 16:13–15) and to learn to fear Him always (Deuteronomy 14:23). To help us accomplish this, God also instructs His people to withhold ten percent of their annual increase and spend it at His Feasts (vv. 22–25). God commands us to use this special festival or second tithe to enjoy whatever our heart desires within His law, be it wine and similar drink (in moderation, of course), special foods, or other desires (v. 26). As God commands us to leave our homes and stay in “temporary dwellings,” He wants us to reflect on the difference between Satan’s world today and His coming world ahead. The Feast is a time when God intends for His people to enjoy extra means—beyond what is normal—as a tool to help them rejoice! In fact, God promises to bless those who obediently save their festival tithe, “so that you surely rejoice” (Deuteronomy 16:15). We must remember that the physical abundance God intends His people to experience at the Feast is a foretaste of the physical abundance the entire world will experience when God’s Kingdom is finally established on the earth! This physical abundance is God-intended and good!

Another Feast-related command is to use our festival tithe to serve others (Deuteronomy 14:27). Truly, during the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day, God’s people have the opportunity, the time, and often the financial means to give to others in special ways. As God’s people rehearse the coming millennial rule of Christ and His firstfruits on the earth during the Feast, He wants us to practice His give way of life. After all, as Christ taught, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). The Apostle John encourages us to “walk just as He [Christ] walked” (1 John 2:6). Christ taught His disciples that those who desire to be great must first learn to become servants (Matthew 20:26). And He also taught that, to the degree we give to others, He will bless us, in “good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over” (Luke 6:38). Indeed, when we look to Christ’s personal example, we see that He came to earth not to be served, “but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).

During the Feast of Tabernacles, we spend a great deal of time focusing on the eternal reward of the saints—inheriting the coming Kingdom of God as joint heirs with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17). It is God’s “good pleasure” to one day give us His Kingdom (Luke 12:32). As we celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, we must develop a heart of even greater giving to others, just as during the Millennium we will assist Christ in giving His Kingdom to humanity! Giving is a godly characteristic that God wants us to make a habit in our lives—a habit we can and should plan to develop further during the Feast.

A Test of Character

This year, the Feast of Tabernacles will be unique for most of us thanks to societal adjustments introduced because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While some may attend a Feast site they have been to before, the attendees at that site will likely be different than they were in years past. Many of our Feast sites will not have “transfer” brethren this year. Most of our Feast sites will be smaller and will consist primarily of brethren who live in relatively close proximity. In some cases, we may not be at the Feast with extended family members this year.

For some—especially those used to extensive Feast travel—this year’s Feast may be a test of our character. This could be the first time some of us have ever attended our assigned Feast site! However, we must all remember that we have been personally invited to attend the Feast of Tabernacles by Almighty God Himself! Attending God’s Feast is a privilege, regardless of where we are blessed to attend—a privilege that God has only extended to a very few at this point in time. And attending the Feast with our local, spiritual family of like-minded believers—even if we already know many of them—is truly a special blessing!

A Wealth of Opportunities

As we attend the Feast, we have the opportunity to spend concentrated time with many brethren we already know, but also many we may not know well—yet. Now is the time to begin planning how we will share with and serve our fellow brethren at the Feast. For families attending the Feast together, it may be wise to sit down with each other and plan how you want to serve and share at this year’s Feast. For singles, consider not only how you might serve and share individually, but perhaps consider gathering with two or three other singles and together planning something special for others. For those with extra festival tithe this year (and many may have extra, due to attending a local Feast site), plan how you might be able to use some of the extra to serve others. As you consider different ways to serve others at the Feast, be sure to include people you do not know well or do not know at all. Rejoicing with friends and family at the Feast is a very special opportunity—and serving those we do not know well and those who have less wealth is also something God expects of each of us (Luke 14:13–14).

The following are several ideas you might consider as you ponder how to serve and share at the Feast this year—different ways to live God’s give way of life at His Feast!

  1. Volunteer to serve in an area related to daily worship services (e.g., ushering, the mother’s room, public safety, setting up the stage, greeting, sound, and AV).
  2. Plan to share a meal and fellowship with brethren—you can go out to a restaurant or “eat in” at your temporary dwelling.
  3. Plan to meet and fellowship at services with people you do not know or do not know well. 
  4. Invite a widow or a single out for a meal or to experience an excursion with you.
  5. For single men: Each day of the Feast, invite a different single woman to sit with you during services. Give a date to a few different single women during the Feast, whether in groups or one-on-one. Remember that going out on a date does not always need to be about future matrimony—it can simply be about giving and building friendships. Of course, if something longer-lasting results, that is an added bonus!
  6. Be sure to pray each morning that God will use you to encourage and uplift His people. We are tools God uses to stir up our fellow brethren to “love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24–25).
  7. Watch for ways to assist others. Help a young family carry their gear into services. Help an elderly couple to their seats. Go out of your way to befriend a shy person who is sitting alone. Grab an umbrella and walk someone to the car when it is raining. Babysit for a young couple so they can go out on a date together.
  8. At services or activities, look for and reach out to those who cannot come to you or may be uncomfortable coming to you to fellowship. Some people are very shy, while others may have physical infirmities that make it difficult to move around easily. Do not “push” yourself on them, but do show your outflowing concern and desire to share fellowship.
  9. There are many other ways to give at the Feast. Be sure to pray about and ponder different ways to serve and share.

God’s Feast of Tabernacles is always a blessing, regardless of the location we are privileged to attend. Ultimately, the Feast gives us a special opportunity to develop a greater, clearer vision of God’s coming Kingdom on the earth while we intensely practice the give way of life for eight days. As God’s seasoned saints know well, the best Feasts are those at which we intentionally give and serve. As we prepare for this year’s Feast of Tabernacles, let’s be sure to take time to plan to serve and share. As we each do our part, we will make our Father in Heaven proud of us—and we will help make this “the best Feast ever” for our fellow brethren!