We started new series at Discovery yesterday and we’ll be talking about stewardship and specifically finances over the next few weeks. It’s funny how many people and pastors seem to shy away from talking about money. Stewardship is part of discipleship and so we can’t ignore it. I made what I thought was a pretty strong statement – I said something like “I don’t need your money, Discovery doesn’t “need” your money – it’s not your money anyhow, it’s all God’s money. I’d rather you attend another church and faithfully tithe and give your money there than to stay here and not tithe” If you want, you can watch the whole thing HERE or download or listen to the podcast at www.discoverync.com
We’ll be looking at what a tithe is and whether or not it’s for today in more detail during the series, but let me start by repeating what Randy Alcorn (author of Money, Possessions and Eternity) said, which is basically, that being under grace does not mean living by lower standards than the law (even though we are no longer under the law). Tithing is a biblical starting point, it’s entry level obedience, the minimum – it coexisted with voluntary giving in the OT and there is no reason to cancel/ignore or other wise dismiss it’s practice today.
Arguing against tithing would be like arguing against seatbelts – if the law that requires the use of seatbelts were repealed (or didn’t exist like prior to the 1970’s or currently in New Hamshire), it wouldn’t mean that the use of seatbelts was now suddenly unwise or even unnecessary. In fact quite the opposite. Regardless of the existence of some particular law, seatbelts would still be wise and beneficial. The same holds true for the tithe, and most people who argue against the tithe as a biblical starting point for giving – are the same people who don’t even give close to a tithe. But then it’s not an argument, it’s an excuse for selfishness, greed or control (and a poor one at that).
So let’s get over the idea that the tithe is legalistic. Anything can become legalistic but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea. For some people, Bible reading, prayer, studying, church and fellowship times are all legalistic to them. Nobody is suggesting we stop practicing those disciplines.
As we “Consider the Cost” let’s at least be in agreement that stewardship is part of discipleship and if you desire to be a disciple – we’ll need to handle the money God puts us in charge of, with great care and wisdom.