If the tithe is wrong, then what is the correct doctrine when it comes to giving for the Christian?
28 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; 30 AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’ 31 The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”. – Mark 12:28-31 (NASB)
This verse points to the core premise of the doctrine of all:
1) God is not first, He is the center. God is not first, He is all!!.
2) There is to be unity in the body of Christ
Read – Acts 2:41-47
Notice in the passage that the mindset of the believers was one of unity
2 Corinthians 8:5 – “This they did, not as we hoped, but even beyond that, first they gave their own selves to the Lord, and to us, by the will of God”
Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God which hath been given in the churches of Macedonia; how that in much proof of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For according to their power, I bear witness, yea and beyond their power, they gave of their own accord, beseeching us with much entreaty in regard of this grace and the fellowship in the ministering to the saints: and this, not as we had hoped, but first they gave their own selves to the Lord, and to us through the will of God. – 2 Corinthians 8:1-5
The thing to notice here, is that the giving of the Macedonian churches was inspired by their fealty/allegiance to God first, which was exhibited in part by their generosity…
Or consider 2nd Corinthians 9:6-8, which says: But this I say, He that soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he that soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Let each man do according as he hath purposed in his heart: not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound unto you; that ye, having always all sufficiency in everything, may abound unto every good work:
Verse 7 says again: Let each man do according as he hath purposed in his heart: not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
Matt 6:21 – For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Where your treasure is, your heart is, and vice versa. Where your heart is, your treasure is…
Let’s consider two examples of heart issues when it comes to finances:
The first is found in Luke Chapter 18
A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good — except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother. All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.
When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!
Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”
Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!” “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.”
So in essence, because Jesus requires all, the young man went away sad.
He was unable to deal with the implications of all.
Peter on the other hand, and the other disciples, had dealt with the implications, and because of this were promised true abundance.
The second is found in Acts 5: Ananias and spouse (please read verses 1-10)
The issue for them was not giving, for the reality is that they could have easily brought a portion and given it. As we discussed earlier 2 Corinthians 9:7 says Let each man do according as he hath purposed in his heart: not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
So the amount wasn’t the problem. Their lying was.
The book of Luke records this:
Luke 6:32-38 (N ASB)
32″If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33″If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34″If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount.
35″But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of (E)the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. 36″Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
37″Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.
38″Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure–pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”
So what are these passages pointing to?
1) Giving all, is a mindset, which originates in the heart.
2) It is inspired by Love for God, and is not percentage or amount dependant. Do I mean literally sell everything and give it to the church? No, the point is here that we have a mindset which counts nothing of greater importance than the Lord.
3) Where you heart is… If you love God, you will treasure the things of God, and the work of God
In practical terms, what does that look like?
Matthew 25 speaks of The Sheep and the Goats
31″When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34″Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37″Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Whether anticipated or addressed in the spur of the moment, meeting the needs of our brethren, is how we serve each other, and serve God.
Notice that The sheep, did without being asked, did without looking to see who it was, or looking for applause/adulation. They did it because it was the right thing to do.
No guilt, no cajoling, no fear mongering necessary. This is the point to which we must come, where loving/sharing/giving/caring are natural and done almost without thinking, because we are motivated by Love for God and for one another…