Friday, May 11, 2012

Sanctuary Sights and Senses: Tithes and Offerings

The following is the latest installment of my "Sanctuary Sights and Senses" bulletin inserts for Centenary United Methodist Church (New Albany, IN):

Tithes & Offerings  -  Each week, having heard God speak to us through the Word, we then give thanks to the Lord through the giving of our tithes and offerings. 

Tithing (giving 1/10 of our income) and giving offerings is grounded in Scripture as God’s plan for providing for the needs and ministries of the Church. 

Malachi 3:8-10 is one of the most powerful passages to talk about tithing, because it makes clear that when we do not tithe and give offerings, we are actually stealing from God!  We are warned that when Israel robbed God, they were under a curse.  -  Because the tithes and offerings belong to God, we bring them forward and place them on the altar/table as an act of worship.

On the other hand, God says, “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse (i.e., the local church), . . . and thus put me to the test . . . See if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing.”  -  God actually challenges us to put Him to the test in this regard!

Jesus, too, in Matthew 23:23, affirms that we ought to be a tithing people.  However, with the coming of the Holy Spirit,  tithing becomes for us more of a bare minimum, for the Holy Spirit so fills us that we give generously, knowing that “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7).  -  That cheerful giving is symbolized as we stand and sing forth our praise to God from whom all blessings flow!

One can observe:  Those who refuse to tithe never seem to have enough.  Those who tithe always have enough.  It is not so much a question of money, but a question of the Lordship of Jesus Christ in our lives.  -  So too, I believe that a Church where members faithfully tithe will always have enough, but where members fail to tithe, it will likely always struggle.  -  Let us be cheerful givers of our tithes and offerings!

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