Why Tithe? – Part One (Deut 26)

In Australia, the year began today.

If you’re from the Northern Hemisphere, you’ll think this is weird – 2016 has been underway for quite some time. But for us, December 25 ushers in the start of our long summer holidays. And January 26, the Australia Day public holiday, marks its end. School goes back this week, horrendous traffic returns to our roads, as we jump back on the treadmill of life.

So, too, Coffee with the King throws out the reheated summer dregs, and puts on a fresh, new pot. And what better way to start the year proper than to talk about money. About tithing. About how it is we’re going to use our financial resources this coming year in light of what God has to say on the matter. Over the next three days, we’ll be asking the question: why tithe? And we’ll be looking for the answers in Deuteronomy chapter 26.

You’ll need to read Deuteronomy 26 first, and then continue on below.

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Why Tithe? – Part Two (Deut 26)

To kick off the year, we’re spending three days looking at the question Why Tithe? in light of Deuteronomy 26. Yesterday we made three false starts that we thought we could find in the text:

  1. We give so that God will make us rich – which flies in the face of Jesus’ call to give up material possessions, take up our cross, and follow him… not to mention the experience of millions of faithful believers around the world who live in poverty.
  2. We give because God needs our money – which, despite cash-strapped churches struggling to support gospel workers and social programmes, is quite silly in light of the fact that God created the world and has access to far more resources than we could even imagine.
  3. We give to please God – which is heading in the right direction, but neglects the fact that we can’t please God by our works any more than Christ has already pleased the Father on our behalf.

But these three popular misunderstandings of why we tithe are all missing something. They’re missing the reason for tithing God gave Israel back at the start of the chapter – which we ignored yesterday, because we weren’t reading in context. Let’s see if we can pick up that reason, starting from verse 1:

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Why Tithe? – Part Three (Deut 26)

For the start of our year, we’re spending three days looking at the question Why Tithe? in light of Deuteronomy 26. On Wednesday we made three false starts that we thought we could find in the text:

  • we give to get rich/blessed
  • we give because God needs our money
  • we give to make God happy

Then yesterday we read the whole chapter in context, and saw that giving to God was intended to be an expression of joyful gratitude for what God has already done for us. (For Israel, in bringing them into the land; for us, in bringing us into union with Christ.) So what’s left to talk about?

Maybe we can redeem those three false starts. Because, as we said at the end of Wednesday’s post, they’re not entirely wrong. Each of them is not a reason to give – but to some extent, each is a result of giving to God out of gratitude.

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