The motivation for us to give today is not fear of punishment from God, but rather the love of Christ constrains us to give as we have been blessed. (II Corinthians 5:14)
How have we been blessed?
We have been blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places. (Ephesians 1:3) We have been given eternal life simply by trusting in the work of Jesus Christ, we have been given everything we need to live our lives to glorify God, and we have been made complete in Christ.
How shall we not give a small portion of our money to the ministry of reconciliation?
So the question remains, how much should we give?
Many say, "You must tithe! That means you must give God 10% of your income." Then they go on to quote verses in Deuteronomy and Leviticus, among others. However, there are many things in those same passages they do not force their congregation to uphold. Why is one verse to be followed, but the one before it is not to be followed? I find it curious.
To tithe means to give a tenth. However, there are many tithes to be found in the Old Testament scriptures. There are actually three tithes. In fact, a member of the Nation of Israel was to give a total of 23 1/3 percent of the increase of their income, livestock, and the fruits of their fields. This included everything, not just money. Why do these "preachers" not ask for 23 1/3 % of everything? I find this curious.
Enough talk about what we are not supposed to do, let us spend our time looking at what we are allowed to do, now that we are set free from the bondage of the law and the commandments therein.
We have spoken of our motivation, now let us look at what we should do.
Let us look at how Paul uses a church as a model of giving to teach the fleshly living, childish Corinthians.
II Corinthians 8:1-5 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.
We can read here the brethren in Macadonia were going through much affliction and were living in deep poverty, but were abundant in joy and grace. Yet they were willing to give to Paul and Titus and to take upon themselves the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. They were willing to give out of their poverty, because they knew they were rich in grace and in their liberality because of the gospel. They knew of this grace and liberality and wanted others to know about it as well, that is why they chose to give. They knew the motivation was one of love, not fear. It was one of grace, not commandment. The brethren in Macedonia knew of their spiritual blessings and wanted to help spread the word about the liberty Christ gives.
To be continued ...
Grace and Peace
Complete in Him