Dear Church Family,
I recently confessed to you that I had not done a good job of discipling the church in the area of finances. I’d like to change that, and for more reasons than what is probably coming to your mind right now.
As I was reading a book in my office on the subject of generosity, I came across this excerpt. I thought it was worth sharing. It came from Andrew McNair’s The Giving Crisis. I pray it speaks to your heart…
Some Christians hold the mistaken belief that the Bible is silent on giving. Nothing could be further from the truth. One count tallies 2,350 versus about money. One-fifth of Jesus’ parables involve money. According to Forbes, money and material possessions is the second most referenced topic in the Bible, appearing more than 800 times. Money - collecting it, giving it, paying the government, and the dangers of money - is quite present in the Bible.
What about tithing, specifically?
Some dismiss tithing as an outdated Levitical law - but is that the case? It’s amazing how many people become overnight biblical researchers when defending their current spending habits.
Tithing has a broader foundation than Levitical code. We can trace tithing all the way back to the first book of the Bible: Genesis. In Genesis we encounter the story of Abraham, called by God as the Father of many nations. Abraham’s story is the beginning of the story of the people of God, the Jews. Chapter 14 describes his quest to rescue his nephew, Lot, from his captors. When he returns successfully, he gives 10 percent of his spoils to the priest-king Melchizedek. The author of Hebrews, a book in the New Testament, affirms Abraham’s tithe.
Later in Genesis, Jacob, grandson of Abraham, vows to give 10% of everything to God.
You might be asking, “What about grace” It’s true. We must remember that because of the New Covenant, we Christians are now covered with a layer of grace that wasn’t known in the Old Testament. Grace never lowers the bar for living Godly lives.
In fact, we learn from the Sermon on the Mount that grace raises the bar. The law was only the beginning. It was a starting point. It set the standard for us to follow. The Law reveals to us our own reluctance to give; it reveals our selfishness. As New Testament Christians, we are challenged to give even more. As we grow in spiritual maturity, the tithe becomes something we feel eager to give, not a check we feel obligated to write. The 10% required by Law becomes a baseline for our giving - not the maximum amount.
See you Sunday!