Let's pick up where we left off last week as we thought through the "cup" illustration Jesus used. Remember, Jesus loved to use ordinary, real life to help us understand the most important things in life. Every time we drink from a cup to enjoy our favorite beverage, let's peer in to see if it is clean on the inside. Every morning as we drink in life, let's peer into our souls to see if it is clean or not. Remember, Jesus is the only one qualified to clean our souls.
Now, let's look at what Jesus says to us about money in this dinner discussion.
"When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited Him to eat with him; so Jesus went in and reclined at the table. But the Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus did not first wash before the meal.
Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.
“Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone." Luke 11:37-42
What did Jesus say about tithing?
There are many who claim Jesus did not say anything about tithing. Others say that Jesus has changed the way we need to give.
Let's look at what Jesus said...
“Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone."
Here was a prime time opportunity for Jesus to actually change the teaching about tithing. But He did not change it.
Jesus was confronting outside of the cup living, legalism. While at the same time keeping the Biblical guideline to give a tithe.
So, Jesus did not change the Biblical guideline of the tithe. I believe He is helping us understand more of what God has already revealed in the Old Testament.
He is saying that God has never held back, He has and does and will always give more and beyond anyone ever expects. Because at the core of who God is, He is a Giver.
He gave life. He gave the universe. He gave the earth. He gave everything on the earth. He gave you, you. He gave to each of us much talent, intelligence, skills, abilities. He gave us His One and Only Son. He has given us salvation. He gives us His Spirit. He gave us His Word, the Bible. He has given us all of His promises. He is the one who has given us the ability to learn, to get an education, to get a job, to have a career to receive a salary. He is truly a Giver.
I believe Jesus is helping us understand that when it comes to tithing and giving an offering, Jesus wants us to respond to God as the Extravagant Giver by becoming more like Him. He wants us to be generous like God. The tithe is not to be changed to anything lower. It still is the benchmark that puts all of us in a position to actually trust God. Ten percent of what we make is a lot of money that we can use. But, do we trust God? Do we realize that all of the money and income that we have is not really ours, it is all of God's. We are just stewards of His resources.
As we put more and more of our trust in God, we begin to become more and more like Him, we become generous. We seek to give more than the tithe. We seek to put more of our lives on the line for God and with God. We discover that God is our present and our future.
So, tithing and beyond reminds us that we are putting God first in our lives.
It is declaring to temptation and evil, "Jesus is our Lord and Savior, so move out of our way."
It is our declaration that we are going to trust God for our future.
It is our declaration that investing in God's Kingdom will last forever.
It is declaring He is our first love.
Let's follow Jesus teaching and His example.
Let's continue to grow in our generosity.
Pastor Chris Reinertson enjoys all sports, especially those involving a ball. He loves to hang out with people and challenge them to be Jesus REVolutionizers.