Tag Archive: tithe


Challenge to Leadership

“During the next 40 years the Israelites will become bitter, quarrelsome, and openly rebellious.  After Korah leads 250 others in what amounts to a mutiny, are miraculously destroyed for their rebellion, thousands of other Israelites who stand in sympathy with them are also stricken by plague and die.  This was an assault against God’s chosen priesthood.

God declares that the priests and the Levites will have no inheritance in the promised land, but will rather be supported through the practice of tithing.”

Read Numbers 16, 17:1-13 and 18

All quotations taken from The Daily Bible.

It has been over 20 years since I watched the movie Ghost; starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg.  That’s a great movie even now, but it’s interesting how 20 years can change a person.  How, and praise God for it, eyes can be opened.

There were a couple things that stuck out to me in that movie and one of them in-particular got my attention even 20 years ago.

First; there’s a moment in the movie where Oda May, a psychic helping the recently murdered Sam protect his lover who is in danger, has a check  for $4 million dollars; the blood money Sam was killed for.  She has in her hands something that will change her life forever.  She has suffered and stolen most of her life because she has always lived in squalor, but this check, this money will set her up.

All will be better now and Oda May is elated, her mind reeling with all of the things she will be able to do.  But Sam, knowing the murderer will look for the money, tells her she needs to get rid of it and tells her to give it to the church.  It’s in Oda May’s response where I see myself:

 

 

Isn’t it just like Oda May, when God asks us to give back to Him through our tithe and offerings, that we grasp that check, that money we need for bills or food, perhaps a salon visit or new shoes and not want to let go.

We hold on white knuckled, “I deserve that money!” we cry.

“I earned that money!” We declare, while clenching our teeth and digging in our heels.

If you have been reading my blog for any amount of time, you know my view of tithing and the results of following that command.  (See my post on tithe.)

“Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”   2 Corinthians 9:7

But so many enter the throne room and place an offering in the plate to save face; showing others how generous they are, or out of duty; to make sure they get it checked off their “hafta’ do” list.  I even remember agreeing with that common belief when Sam says to Oda May:

“Just think of it this way; you’ll go to heaven.”

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”   Ephesians 2:8-9

Interesting.

But the part that stuck with me all of these 20 years is the interpretation of death presented in the movie.  No, people don’t hang out on this earth waiting for their eternity to be decided or seek revenge upon people that wronged them while they were alive.  The Bible is clear about that.

“All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’ Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;'”   Matthew 25:32-34,41

It’s the view of how the bad guys get caught up in death that stuck with me.

 

 

It’s a dark and scary interpretation that might very well be accurate.  Death and eternity will be a very scary place for a person who doesn’t know Christ and the Bible reveals the truth of that.

“and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”   Matthew 13:50

 

Related posts/articles:
Tithe
Are you a sheep or goat?
What does the Bible say about Purgatory?   (http://carm.org/)
Question: What does the Bible say about purgatory?   (http://www.gotquestions.org/)
What Will Hell be Like?   (http://www.godandscience.org/)

Tithe

Isn’t it just amazing how God provides…in His perfect plan and in His perfect timing?!

We were short on money this week…Jax saw that we were going to be short $125.00 for our mortgage because we paid our tithe to church.

It always seems to be a struggle, although I know it shouldn’t be, putting in that money for tithe.

“You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake.”   Deuteronomy 15:10

I never understood the idea of tithe, or giving 10% of your income to the church.  I remember Jax talking about tithing when we were first married.  He would say that we are to tithe because everything we have is from God so we need to give a portion back to Him.

“But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own.”   1 Chronicles 29:14,16

I thought it was crazy.  Why would I give money to someone else, when it was difficult to make ends meet with the money we made as it was?!

So, we didn’t tithe.

“Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions.”    Malachi 3:8

Knowing what I know now… yeah yeah, hind sight is 20/20…the reason we are to tithe stems from the Old Testament.  Israelites were to give a tenth of their income; be it from crops, cattle, or goods, to the Levites who served the Lord and ministered to His people in the tabernacle.

“For the tithe of the people of Israel, which they present as a contribution to the LORD, I have given to the Levites for an inheritance. Therefore I have said of them that they shall have no inheritance among the people of Israel.”   Numbers 18:24

Hmmm…sounds familiar.  The church of the Old Testament, just as it is today, was non-profit and relied solely on the gifts and tithe of its congregation, and how its “employees” were paid.

Although I had heard this explanation, I still didn’t feel the need to tithe.  God in His gentle, loving, way continued to remind me that tithing is a command, but I still considered it foolish and continued to live and spend “my” money my way.

Yeah…interestingly enough God only allows that to happen for so long.

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.  For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”  Hebrews 12:5-6

“Why should a living man complain, a man, about the punishment of his sins?”   Lamentations 3:39

Jax felt called to quit a high paying job in order to go back to school and I wasn’t terribly concerned.  Yes, it would be challenging, but I figured it would be a new and fun adventure to see what God had in store for our family.  When Jax began working for a different company whose hours worked well with his classes, at a much lower wage, we started to feel a bit more of a financial squeeze, but we were getting by…and still not tithing.

But when God took Jax’s new job away…that’s what did it.

We still had bills to pay; rent, utilities, groceries, gas… plus we were driving an hour back and forth from Watertown to church in Verona on Wednesdays and on weekends…but now no job.  Stress levels went up significantly.  I couldn’t believe God would do this, and I questioned Him a lot.

However, we started noticing when rent was due, money would show up in our mailbox.  Or when we needed gas, we would find money in our cubby at church, or someone would take the car keys and fill up the tank.

It was absolutely astounding to see God work miracle after miracle of provision… and it was in those moments, in those times of great stress, worry and wonder how things would be paid, I literally saw that everything we have is from an awesome, amazing, and loving God.

“Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty.   Job 5:17

It was then that we began tithing.

“But there will be no poor among you; for the LORD will bless you in the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance to possess—if only you will strictly obey the voice of the LORD your God, being careful to do all this commandment that I command you today.”   Deuteronomy 15:4-5

Now don’t get me wrong, it is still a struggle to tithe, but we have yet to miss a Sunday, and by the world’s standards, if you look at what we made last year and then at how much we gave to church, we would appear fairly crazy…

But the proof is in the pudding… how did God provide that $125.00 we were short this week you ask??

  •  An honorarium of $100.00 was received for Jax’s preaching, which wasn’t expected and had never been paid before
  • A friend had given me money the week prior to buy a birthday present for my daughter, in which I still had $20.00 left over
  • A couple “winner” scratch-off tickets totaling $11.00 from Christmas were conveniently found

“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”   2 Corinthians 9:7

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