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The Cheerful Giver

6) But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7) So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 8) And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. 9) As it is written: “He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.”

10) Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11) while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. 12) For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God.

Why Should I Support My Local Church?  Why? Because it’s taught throughout scripture. Now, if you were to do your own study of tithing, you’d find that most passages dealing with the subject are in the Old Testament – and this is where some people get hung up. They think because something is in the Old Testament that it’s outdated or irrelevant. In other words, it doesn’t apply to us.

Now, it’s true that the Old Testament is full of principles and precepts, codes and commands – some of which were indeed situational and specific to the context in which they were given – but others of which are of timeless value (i.e. The Ten Commandments). Wisdom is learning to tell the difference between which were situational and which were timeless. To do that, we should always look to Jesus. Which did He address?  Were there some He treated as timeless?  Did He treat others as merely context-specific?  After all, if Jesus thought a command was timeless enough to keep and obey thousands of years after its being given, we probably should too, right?  Well, tithing was one of those issues that Jesus seemed to take very seriously. He endorsed the practice and never spoke against it.

In dealing with the religious elite of his day – Pharisees (professional theologians) and Sadducees (priests) – he treated tithing not as a merit badge of the “super spiritual,” but as a “bare minimum” of what anyone who loved God would do. Listen to how Jesus scolded the Pharisees: “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law–justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.” (Matthew 23:23, NLT)

For Jesus, whether or not a person should tithe wasn’t in question. This was a basic practice that God-honoring people has been engaged in for thousands of years. As a matter of fact, He saw tithing as being the easy part of the God-honoring life – even Pharisees could do that! Living a life of justice, mercy and faith, however – that was, and is, a bit more difficult.

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