I must admit the issue of giving to the work of the kingdom has been on my heart for the past several months. Sometimes I think we can get lost in the weeds on certain subjects by separating so many doctrines and practices with the dividing line of the Old and the New Testament. However, I believe we are called to look at everything within the context of the entire bible to get an accurate picture. Let’s use the issue of tithing as an example.
Tithing is not an Old Testament law, but a kingdom principle. Principles precede laws because they are not influenced by culture or time and are universal, more often than not. The idea of giving to God has long been a principle of worship, a display of honor and respect, and a recognition that God alone is the source. Long before the law was instituted, Cain and Able understood this principle. Other cultures (apart from God's people) also tithed; making it a universal principle. At its core, it is about gratitude and acknowledgment. Tithing is a reflection of the heart of the one who says they are a worshipper. "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matt. 6:21). The tithe (10%) was the minimum and Israelites, actually, gave upwards of 30% if all types of giving were included.
Concerning Law vs. Grace
The whole law was good because Jesus said so. Somehow it is thought that the tithe was done away with, but there is scripture where Jesus himself seems to be reminding the Pharisees that giving, mercy and justice go hand-in-hand and are not exclusive of one another: “How terrible it will be for you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest part of your income, but you ignore the important things of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but you should not leave undone the more important things." Matt. 23:23.
I'm convinced that tithing is a principle that honors God and at the same time causes our hearts to both fear and trust God. I know some may object to the idea or use of the word "tithing" because they like the “appealing nature” of the New Covenant being about grace and not law. I, personally, believe that this mindset is wrong, because they assume that the standards of grace are lower than the standards of the law. In Matthew 5:17-19, Jesus again says that the requirements of the law were not to be done away with until heaven and earth passes away and all is fulfilled (His second coming).
There was nothing wrong with the “duty’ of the law. It was right within the old covenant and is still right within the new covenant because the “principles” were right. The only difference now is that it is to be done out of a changed, worshipful heart because of God’s grace.
Concerning Grace & Generosity
Depending how well a person understands personal grace will they determine the level of their generosity.
In His Grip!
Pastor Bill <><