Over our last few articles, we've been looking at the practices of tithing and giving in the New Covenant. This study somewhat responds to the uproar and outrage of traditional churches and ministries because an international megachurch pastor spoke the truth concerning tithing under Grace. It seemed good to continue examining our giving in light of Grace.
Over the many years that the Church has thrived in America, and throughout the earth, one constant is always prevalent. That is the act of giving financial donations. Just as with any practice, man has perverted it, corrupted it, misused and abused it. This is why God allows men of God with international platforms to address controversial issues to help us get back to the center, to the basics once again, in essence, to bring Jesus back into the focus.
When we see Jesus again as the focus, as the center of it all, our motives and our actions become Christ-centered. We are engaging in Christian practices because we are honoring our risen Savior. We pray, we read and study the Word, and we volunteer our time and talents to help others, we are a blessing to our local church, and yes we give financial donations. All these are sincere responses to Jesus and His Grace and Goodness in our life.
We aren't acting under compulsion, pressure, or spiritual obligation. We aren't bowing to the crippling commands of the religious taskmaster. We aren't dutiful to the demands of traditional religion. We are responding to the Love of a loving Savior who took our place, bore our shame, and received our due punishment gladly.
This is what God intended. This is Grace in action. This is how life in Christ flows so freely. No demands, no obligations, and zero pressure. Just simply abiding in Him. Just basking in His Goodness and Grace.
My times in prayer, devotion, and detailed study of the Word are not "forced" or chores I must finish before I can enjoy my day. Religion turns relationship into tasks that must be completed. Instead of I get to spend time with my Father, I get to invest in His work, and I get to help that work come to pass through my talents, religion twists it into, I better spend time with God or He won't hear or help me later. I better give or I am cursed, or won't prosper in life, I better volunteer or I will never be rewarded.
The truth is God so loved this world and sent His Son so He could offer life everlasting to whosoever will freely receive it. He gave His Son, so He could have more sons and daughters. His Grace and Goodness are what motivated God our Father to do this. That's the point of it all. His Love. His Grace. His Goodness.
This is what draws the love response from His people, His family, His kids. God's Love for you, God's Love for me, that's what strengthens and encourages us to follow this Savior, to lay our plans down and embrace His. This is what moves us to know Him more and more. This is what moves us to invest our time and talents and our finances so others can see and know this beautiful Savior!
What is not of God, what is the works of tradition, of man, is this obligatory concept concerning our walk with God. Use all the mental gymnastics you want to convince yourself and others, but when one says we must give a certain percentage, and/or teaches our giving or our doing is the source of blessings and prosperity then it's no longer about Grace but the works and performance of man.
Want to be blessed and protected financially? Then you better give ten percent! Well, what about the people who've tithed faithfully for years and went bankrupt? Must have been in sin, is the only response they have.
Want to be blessed and prospered? Give and keep giving above ten percent. Give right and you'll receive the hundredfold return! I have given above the ten percent consistently for years and never even saw thirty times, or sixty times. Let alone one hundred times my giving returned to me. Their response? You didn't give in Faith!
Wait, let's analyze that comment. Faith is of the heart. Real Faith, Bible Faith is a persuasion, a fully persuaded heart that moves one to act on what is heard from God. Those of us who heard the teaching about giving to receive were persuaded in our hearts and minds. We, therefore, gave our finances. The fact we gave means we gave in Faith.
The disconnect is God never promised any believer if you give money you're going to get more money. So in reality, we were giving in "faith" to man's misuse and misinterpretation, and manipulation of the Father's Words. Keeping it about Jesus, and being transparent, giving and then getting more money in return, is not about giving to increase the work of God, but giving to increase the bank account, and fatten the wallet or purses of men and women. There is no Grace in this!
Look at Jesus alone! Look to Jesus alone! Jesus is our Savior. Jesus is the source of life, healing, hope, protection, and prosperity. Our behavior isn't our Savior, Jesus alone is!
In summation, look again at Jesus Christ. The Author and Finisher of our Faith. The only One who can satisfy. The Lord of all, who died for all, so that whosoever will may come and abide with Him forever.
Look at this Savior, The Lord of Heaven and earth. This loving Savior, who gave all so He could be with me and you. Put Him back in the center of it all. When Christ is the focus, when He is the exalted One, our performance, our doings, our works, and disciplines, fade away in comparison. Live your life loved by this Savior. Live life with Him as the center of it all, the exalted One, and see how dead works fall by the wayside, and genuine worship and responses to the Love of God flow from you without strenuous effort.
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