Friday, June 5, 2009

New Testament "Tithing"

2 Cor 9:6 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 9 As it is written, in Ps. 112:9,

"He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever."

10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 13 By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission flowing from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, 14 while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. 15 Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

This section is a small section at the end of 2 chapters where Paul is talking about generous giving. He is giving some encouragement, exhortation and even examples of what giving is to look like in the NT Church. I think it is interesting that he points to other churches good practices and he picks one that was in extreme poverty but yet they still gave; and gave joyfully. The church in Macedonia was excited to be able to give, though they literally had nothing extra.

In 8:7 Paul encouraged the Corinthians that they were excelling in so many other areas and that he wanted them to continue to excel in those areas but then to add to this list giving.

I like this above section because it reminds me who owns it all anyway and it is also a comfort to know that we really cannot out give God. God has a way of providing for each one of our needs though so often it is not the way we had thought it would come.

In James 4 we are told that the reason we don't have a particular thing is because we haven't asked or if we have asked, we have asked in the wrong way or with wrong motives.

Since God knows our every need and He has promised to supply that need, and He only gives what is best for us, shouldn't we be asking Him to supply those needs? We are not told that we will automatically get what we need if we are not asking, as I believe God wants us to come to Him in dependence asking Him to keep His promise of provision to us. When we do this, He will faithfully and perfectly supply our needs, according to His riches in glory.

We have a very good Heavenly Father who is waiting to lavish all His good gifts on us, to supply our every needs and to give more than we could ask or imagine, but He is waiting for us to ask. How prideful would it be if us to have this richest of Fathers waiting to lavish all His good gifts on us, yet we never ask Him to do it? It is pride when we say that we don't want to bother God with our little requests. He is not busy. He wants us to ask and then to be asked a million times more, so He can really show how good and powerful and generous He truly is; but we must ask.

In human terms how foolish would this look if your earthly father had billions of dollars and he told you that he would always take care of your needs, no matter how desperate your plight, but you had to come to him and just ask, and you lived in poverty your entire life, because you never wanted to bother him? People would say you are crazy.

Are you asking? He will supply your every need and He expects us to also be generous with the provisions He has given us. When God blesses us, we are to bless others in return. Not out of compulsion, but out of joy, knowing that God is the One who has provided it all in the first place and that He will continue to provide as we continue to ask Him.

I want to live more like this. I want to see God work in my life and in the lives of those around me. I want to prove His goodness to all those around me. Can you imagine how great it would be to say every morning, "See how good God is. He totally did it again. I don't know how He does it, but look; He did it again"? It would be exciting to live like that 100% of the time.

Our Heavenly Father wants to show off to the world how good and great He is; why not have that display come through you and I? Let's start asking rightly and when He does bless us, be faithful to tell others what He has done and share with others.

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