Monday, October 06, 2008

His Eye is on the sparrow

A couple of weeks ago, the Lord told me -- I think it was Him-- to always save $100 from each paycheck or money I receive from my pension. On the one hand, that's a lotta money. It could pay off a bill. On the other hand, it's not a lotta money. How can one build a savings account. But it's what the Lord told me, I think.

So, am gonna trust that the Lord is telling me to do this.

All this is in addition to the Tithe we are ordered to give to God, and the offering that we should also give. So it's my part to save, to tithe, to give offerings. And basically to trust that God is taking care of me.

It'll be interesting. The Lord tells us that we can't serve God and money. He tells us we should be like the sparrow. The sparrow doesn't sit around saying "Did I tithe enough? Does God owe me? Have I sowed?" The sparrow doesn't sit around sowing and thinking about what that sowing will make him reap. We tithe because it's part of our realization that the tithe belongs to God. It's our opportunity to use something that belongs to God in order to show God how we use money that doesn't belong to us. When we tithe to help others, we show God that we are using what belongs to his in a cause he considers worthy.

Churches and Christian television programs kinda brainwash by saying God will bless us if we tithe. And while it is always good to sow, it is not really Scriptural to think that our daily life depends on us sowing seed and God blessing it. God blesses his children no matter what and He always takes care of us. It's good to tithe but the Lord tells us to give cheerfully. Not out of necessity. God wants to take care of his sheep and his sparrow. And God doesn't want us to think of Him as a means to an end. We are here to serve Him. He is our master and the good shepherd who takes care of the sheep. We should rely on God who owns all the cattles on a thousand hills. He has given us the power to get wealth. We should trust in His supernatural blessings. But we are to trust Him to provide for us and not to use God to get rich. We tithe in order to get money so we can bless OTHERS. We are not here to serve and seek after money. We are here to use money.

Ecclesiastes 7:12 "For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it." Ecclesiastes 7:11-13

We are not to fear poverty. That leads us into believing that God isn't there for us. Money is not picked on in the Bible but we are told how to use it.

Remember the wasteful steward in Luke 16:1-12 "And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods."

Notice how the story ends: The rich man was very happy to see how the wasteful steward handled matters. One would think he would have been angry with the steward for stealing from him and cooking the books. The rich man was proud that the steward finally understood how to use money: as investment, as a tool, instead of wasting it and not influence through it.


Anonymous said...

Friend, May I offer an alternative interpretation of Malachi for your study.

From: Tithing is not a Christian Doctrine
Russell Earl Kelly, PHD

Malachi 3 is the Most Abused Tithing Text in the Bible. The “whole” tithe never was supposed to go to the Temple!

A. Malachi is Old Covenant and is never quoted in the New Covenant to validate tithing (Lev. 27:34; Neh. 10:28-29; Mal. 3:7; 4:4).

B. In Malachi 3:10-11 tithes are still only food 1000 years after Leviticus 27:30-34 and Numbers 18:21-28.

C. Malachi’s audience had willingly reaffirmed the Old Covenant (Neh.10:28-29). The blessings and curses of tithing are identical to and inseparable from those of the entire Mosaic Law. The rain in Deuteronomy 28:12, 23-24 and Leviticus 26:1-4 is only obtained by obedience to all 613 commandments. Galatians 3:10 (quoting Deu 27:26) “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continues not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” Trying to earn God’s blessings through tithing only brings curses for failure to keep all of the law. See also Galatians 3:19.

D. Beginning in 1:6 “you” in Malachi always refers to the dishonest priests and not the people (also 2:1-10; 2:13 to 3:1-5): “Even this whole nation of you --priests” (3:9). In 1:13-14 the priests had stolen tithed animals vowed to God. In Nehemiah 13:5-10 priests had stolen the Levites’ portion of the tithe. God’s curses on the priests are ignored by most tithe-teachers (1:14; 2:2 and 3:2-4).

E. Point #12 of the essay. The Levitical cities must be included in a correct interpretation of Malachi 3:10. Most tithe-recipients lived outside of Jerusalem.

F. The 24 courses of Levites and priests must be included in a correct interpretation of Malachi 3. Normally only 2% of the total Levite and priest work force served at the temple one week at a time. Subtract wives, males under the age of 30 and daughters. Therefore 2% did not require all of the tithe. See 1 Chron 23-26; 28:13, 21; 2 Chron. 8:14; 23:8; 31:2, 15-19; 35:4, 5, 10; Ezra 6:18; Neh. 11:19, 30; 12:24; 13:9, 10; Luke 1:5.

G. Nehemiah 10:37-39 is the key to understanding Malachi 3:10, The people were commanded to bring their tithes, not to the temple, but to the nearby Levitical cities. Verse 38 says that the priests were with the Levites in the Levitical cities when they received the tithes.

H. According to Nehemiah 13:5, 9 the “storehouse” in the Temple was only several rooms. The real “storehouses” were in the Levitical cites per Nehemiah 10:37b-38. Only the Levites and priests normally brought tithes to the Temple (10:38). Two rooms in the Temple were far too small to contain the tithe from the entire nation and 98% of the Levites and priests lived too far away to eat from them.

Therefore, Malachi 3:10’s “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse” only makes contextual sense if it is only commanding dishonest priests to replace the tithes they had removed from it or had failed to bring to it.

While the 3:10 of the Law in Malachi is so important to tithe-teachers they ignore the 3:10 of the Gospel in Galatians and 2nd Corinthians. Perhaps those wanting to enforce the 3:10 Law of Malachi should also enforce the 3:10 Law of Numbers. They share the same context.

Christian giving is freewill, sacrificial, generous, joyful, regular and motivated by love. That is enough to provide the needs of the Church.

Carole McDonnell said...

Russell, you obviously have a kind of google alert which alerts you to any kind of blogging on tithing. As I read your comment I have the feeling you didn't read what I said and you only posted to my site in order to lead people to your site. I find that a bit tacky.

Re: the tithing issue. I think that's exactly what I said that God's eye is on the sparrow and that Jesus said the birds do not sow or reap. So you needn't have said you had an "alternative" to my post because it's obvious you didn't look at my post.


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