March 20th, 2015 by Carl Buffington
Last Sunday we played a short video of Karen James sharing a touching testimony about tithing. If you missed it, you can catch it -- HERE. And this Sunday Fr. Dave McDaniel will share on the same topic.
While there are lots of opinions on, and a lot to be said about tithing, I fear I say too little.
Jesus talked about only one topic more than money, the Kingdom of God.
Tithing is not really about giving. The scripture says we are to bring the tithe into the storehouse. We don’t give the tithe because it belongs to God. Our gifts, alms, offerings and support of missions and ministries are after, or above and beyond, the tithe.
And it’s not about an Old Testament law dragged into the New Testament -- although Jesus did say something about not coming to abolish but fulfill the law. As Jane Trnka said one time at a vestry meeting, “We don’t have to tithe, as Christians we get to tithe!”
I have included some of my notes on tithing in what follows, and I do mean notes. They are a bit disparate and my hope is that something, maybe just one piece, may resonate with or make sense to you.
Blessings to you all,
I think of Gn 4.3-5 – Cain brought “an” offering and Able brought the first fruits. One was acceptable the other was not…
God should come first. Get our firsts. Is the Lord our #1 priority?
The tithe is a reflection of our commitment to the Kingdom of God.
Man with wallet out of water at baptism … the last thing to be given to our Lord. –can’t serve two masters-
And we don’t ‘give’ we ‘bring’ it because it belongs to God.
“I had tithed all the time and hated every minute of it.” From a pastor who did it out law not love. “I didn’t have God first.”
“It’s my money isn’t it?” Answer: No.
It all belongs to the Lord. He asks us to bring 10% to him and be caretakers of the other 90%.
• Psa. 24:1 The earth is the LORD’S, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;
We will give an accounting of every word, money, actions…
We are accountable to God for what he has given us.
• “Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom – for where your treasure is there will be your heart also.”
What is my treasure? What do I treasure?
Our treasure can bring us closer to the Lord or put a distance between us – e.g. the widow’s offering and the rich young ruler
We are managers not owners.
“It’s my life isn’t it?” Answer: No. Not if you have given it to the Lord in baptism – you have died…
• Remember (Danny Stockdale, tornado in Madison, IN)
Isn’t this an Old Testament law dragged over to the New Testament? No, Tithing came with Abraham i.e. before the law.
• Gen. 14:18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, 19 and he blessed Abram, saying,
• “Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
• Creator of heaven and earth.
• Gen. 14:20 And blessed be God Most High,
• Who delivered your enemies into your hand.”
• Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
Some Things –
1.) Here's what Jesus had to say: Jesus said that if we are not faithful in these matters who will allow us to be responsible for “true riches.” In the Kingdom? Here?
The tithe is a good place to begin.
• Luke 16:10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?"
• Luke 16:13 “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
• Luke 16:14 The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. 15 He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight."
2.) What Jane Trnka had to say, “We don’t have to tithe, we get to tithe.” -- when on vestry.
When the law is written not on stone but on hearts, he causes us to walk in his ways i.e. we want to do what he says out of love not law.
Motive for giving is thankfulness.
Jesus says to scribes and Pharisees, "You tithe your dill seeds not because you wanted to give 10% to God but because you didn’t want to give more." (loose translation Mtt 23.23)
Takes trust to let go.
Nothing we do, give or bring makes God love us more. We don’t give to get. We don’t do to earn favor – we do it in our relationship with the savior.
The story of the year of Jubilee – God takes this seriously -- see sermon from CT
Foot Note from Fall Letter:
From the scriptures, I understand the tithe to be 10% of what we get belongs to God. So we don’t really give a tithe, scripture says we bring our tithes. It’s a simple way to practice obedience and is very much a spiritual discipline. Jesus said that if we are not faithful in these matters who will allow us to be responsible for “true riches.” The tithe is a good place to begin.
Luke 16:11 "So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?"