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10-03-11
"Tithing to the Lord's Work" by Pastor Greg
In the midst of our “Journey of Promise” I have been asked about the emphasis on “tithing to the Lord’s work.” In our preaching series we are reflecting in detail on the life of Abraham. When Abram was blessed by the High Priest Melchizedek, he gave him one tenth of everything he gained from defeating Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him. "And Abraham gave him one tenth of everything." [Genesis 14:20]

In the New Testament, we read that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets. It is true, we live under grace, and not old covenant legality. One could argue the civil law is still in effect, but the religious codes, the food laws, were specific to the nation of Israel. So, on that basis alone, one could argue that tithing is not required. Indeed, tithing was a law, we are not under the Law.

When Jesus reprimanded the scribes and Pharisees for neglecting justice and mercy and faith, he indicated that they should not neglect tithing. In those days, tithing was considered ten percent of one's income.

But the church now, as before, is required to do certain things, like care for widows and orphans. The New Testament is clear about supporting your clergy as well; and missionaries. Without financial support, our congregation could not even keep the lights on, much less fulfill the Great Commission.

When it comes to our finances in the New Testament, the “ten percent” rule might actually be holding us back. Rather than ten percent being required, we find verses like Acts 11:29, where each gave according to his ability. Some of us are able to give far beyond ten percent. 2 Corinthians 9:6 says we should give willingly, v. 7 even telling us that “God loves a cheerful giver.”

Even if we give ten percent, we still must honor God with the other 90. What Jesus requires is much greater than ten percent of what we have; he requires the whole thing, and not just our money. As Paul reminded the Corinthians, we are no longer our own but have been bought with a price. Our tithes, offerings and gifts (including time and talent) belong to God; and he is worthy to receive them.

"The choicest of the first fruits of your ground you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God." [Exodus 23:19]

On this subject, St. Paul taught the Corinthians that God loves a cheerful giver. As such, each one must make up his own mind as to how much he will give, not giving because he feels obligated, but because he is a cheerful giver.

Are you tithing your income to the work of the Lord? We are stretching our faith in the promises of God by giving to God ten percent of our income.

We are committed to the principal of “Not equal gifts, but equal sacrifice.” Some of you can only give a few extra dollars per week, while others, we hope, will be directed by God to make the largest commitment of their lives towards this project.