Important Messages

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tithing...The Final Frontier

Today’s devotional reading took us through Mark 12:41-44 and other parallel passages in the New Testament. Below, we read of the poor widow’s offering:
Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” Mark 12:41-44

Not only was this lady poor but she was a widow. This fact makes this story all the more amazing to me. In those days, being a widow meant your income supply was gone. As a widow, the source she had depended on to provide food, clothing and shelter was dead. She wasn’t bringing a tithe knowing that her husband would get paid again in two weeks, she brought all that she had to live on without having the security of a husband who would be providing for her needs in the days to follow.

This is one of the places in the Bible where I wish the story continued so we could see the amazing way that God provided for her. There's no question that God provided each and every need this widow had according to His glorious riches. And the same is true for us who trust in Him. God is faithful to His promises and "with the measure you give, the same will be measured back to you." Scripture's testimony is that she "put more into the treasury than all the others." God's perspective is different than ours. When I tithe, I think I know the value of what I'm giving, but what does God see? Is it more, is it less....only God knows. All I know is that my tithing should not be a "comfortable" act of obedience.

The Evidence Bible Commentary puts it this way:
It has been said that the wallet is the “final frontier.” It is the final area to be conquered—the last thing that comes to God in surrender. Jesus spoke much about money. He said that we cannot serve God and mammon (Matthew 6:24). “Mammon” was the common Aramaic word for riches, which is related to a Hebrew word signifying “that which is to be trusted.” In other words, we cannot trust God and money. Either money is our source of joy, our great love, our sense of security, the supplier of our needs—or God is.

When you open your purse or wallet, give generously and regularly to your local church. A guide of how much you should give can be found in the “tithe” of the Old Testament: 10 percent of your income. Whatever amount you give, make sure you give something to the work of God (see Malachi 3:8–11). Give because you want to, not because you have to. God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:6,7), so learn to hold your money with a loose hand.

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