Thursday, August 24, 2006

tithing relevant?

I received an email from a great guy who is just starting to catch on fire for Christ. He came to our membership class and was wondering about the issue of tithing. He sent me an email to question whether or not this is a New Testament command (or something only relevant to the Old Testament).

There are some great Christians out there who are certain and zealous about the abolition of the O.T. law which frees us from things like tithing. I both agree & disagree with them (how's that for a firm answer?).

I agree that Christ came to free us from the law of the O.T… but he said he didn’t come to abolish, rather to fulfill it (to fill in the blanks, to make it complete). Therefore he said the O.T. law forbids us from committing adultery, but the real spiritual principle behind that law is not to even look at a woman with lust. The O.T. law said don’t kill, but Jesus emphasized that we shouldn’t even curse someone. Jesus focused on the principle of the law. He said the bar is way down low when you only deal with the technical aspect…but Jesus said, “It’s not about the bare minimum you can do. It’s about raising the bar and doing even more than the minimum of what God requires with an attitude of love in your hearts.”

That is the very reason why I believe tithing is relevant to the N.T. Remembering that his message was to the Jews who were already religious, Jesus didn’t have to go out and preach at them saying, “You need to tithe your income in obedience to God.” He didn’t have to say it, because they were already doing it. And when he criticized the Pharisees he didn’t say, “Stop giving 10% and just live in the freedom of N.T. grace.” He said, “You already give 10%...that’s good. Don’t stop doing that. But understand that it is so much more than that. It’s not 10% God’s and 90% yours. It’s ALL Gods. Give with love and joy in your heart.”

Unlike a lot of principles that we must extrapolate from Scripture, tithing is something that Jesus spoke about specifically. And he affirmed it. Just like the above mentioned issues (adultery, murder)…it’s not just about doing the minimum of what Scripture says. It’s about making that the starting point, the base line, the beginning. And to go from there in order to give even MORE in honor of God’s blessing in my life.

I pray that everyone will someday take that step of faith and believe God to provide for their needs...while learning the joy of giving ridiculous and crazy amounts to his kingdom. It's one of those areas where Tracy and I have just turned it over to the Father and we've seen him bless us back time and time again!