12 Apr 2001

The Giving of Grace

Submitted by theshovel
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In having challenged many deeply-held notions connected to the theme of tithing, I need to make something clear: those who really WANT to give a tenth of their income to an institution are as free to do so as another is free NOT to. You see, though there is no such law that ENFORCES those born of God to give a tithe, there is no such law that FORBIDS it, either. Understand, the GIVING is not the problem, the LEGISLATION of the giving is. The tragedy of restricting giving according to a standard (either, to do or NOT to do) is that this is exactly what happens. In other words, we limit the whole meaning of giving - as well as the giving itself - in direct proportion to the standards by which we hope to understand and control it.

Many sermons have been preached on Paul's confrontation of the Corinthian church regarding its long-overdue promise of financial aid to the devastated believers in Jerusalem. How we have turned it into a totally separate issue from everything else in Paul's correspondence defies the very living connection he made to them.

So, before we go using carefully selected portions of an ongoing discussion to back up our divinely-inspired standards for giving we ought to at least consider what prompted the discussion, don't you think? Believe me, I understand how easy it is to quote a verse and declare, "Thus saith the LORD!". Now, it may help to back up my convictions, but it sure comes across as if the "It is written" failed to get imprinted upon the heart through the Spirit and has been left up to me to do so.

So, what of the giving of grace?

and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God. 2 Corinthians 8:5

There is a seemingly misplaced story in the book of Exodus about a contribution God commanded Moses to take up from among the people in order to build the tabernacle (the place where they met God). What was so unusual about it was that the stipulation was for only those...

of a willing heart Exodus 35:5

...to participate. So, here in the midst of a society operating under meticulous requirements for every single area of their everyday lives comes this totally foreign command that could be ignored.

So, how did it work?

The Israelites, all the men and women, whose heart moved them to bring material for all the work, which the Lord had commanded through Moses to be done, brought a freewill offering to the Lord. Exodus 35:29

God picked a foreman and...

filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding and in knowledge and in all craftsmanship Exodus 35:31

...and also filled the workers under him to perform their duties.

And they received from Moses all the contributions which the sons of Israel had brought to perform the work in the construction of the sanctuary. And they still continued bringing to him freewill offerings every morning ... and they said to Moses, 'The people are bringing much more than enough for the construction work which the Lord commanded us to perform. Exodus 36:3 & 5

Basically, what happened next was that Moses issued a command to stop the giving!

Thus the people were RESTRAINED from bringing any more. Exodus 36:6

Now, what can we learn from this? Well, we could either use it as a formula hoping to recreate a similar financial overflow (of course, we would never say "Stop" because we can simply open new bank accounts in which to handle such a problem) - OR - we might realize that God nestled this incredible story to hint at a totally different basis of living apart from the law.

Did you notice that the command to give was based upon the willing heart, but the command to stop giving was not? The giving from the heart was restrained by a command very much like it is restrained today in those who have had the law "written upon their hearts" (see Jerermiah 31:31-34).

Smack dab in the middle of a life based upon strict requirements covering every minute detail has come the freedom of a life that has giving embedded in its very being. Any command that violates the willing heart merely restrains the flow of that heart.

More to come ...

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Comments

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These comments were all transferred over from the original website


Posted: Dec-03-04 by michele

hi my name is michele, and i have had a problem with tithing for a while, I always said if they teach tithing then why not teach us to keep the feasts! anyway, I asked the Lord to show me what to do, he told me to turn to Gen.28 as i read not knowing what I was going to find , I saw the story of Jacob and how he called that place Bethel, and how he told the Lord that he would give God a tenth of everything, as I read the Lord said call this place Bethel meaning my house,{ I was not going to church at the time} Bethel which means House of God so for almost a year now I tithe into my house,I put it aside, for what you might ask? Well I give it to people the Lord shows me who needs help, like single mothers and so forth , I do not touch it as it belongs to the Lord,but I still question why tithe if we are not under the law? I just want to be obediant, so thus far I still set it aside.


Posted: Feb-25-05 by Aislinn

Hi!

I'm new here and and have been doing a lot of reading and digging about all over this site, which is full of precious treasures. This site is just so awesome, freeing and thought provoking! Anyway, I was reading on tithing and just wanted to ask Michele (who posted the above post) if she got a chance to read, "The Tithe Under Grace- 2"? If not, I hope you go there, Michele and read what Jim wrote about us being the tithe!

I thought it was so fascinating that God would point you to Genesis 28 where it talks about Bethel, which means 'the Lord's house', when you asked Him about tithing. In the New Testement, Paul calls us the Lord's temple! We are where He resides -His house! Now, put that together with what Jim was speaking about in, "The Tithe Under Grace - 2", where he wrote about us being the tithe. Am I crazy, or are you seeing the same thing I'm seeing? Maybe it wasn't so much that God was talking about your physical house made out of wood and bricks (not that it isn't wonderful to open up your house to those in need, mind you), but instead you yourself! Is that just so cool or am I totally missing it or something? Any thoughts?

Aislinn


Posted: Feb-26-05 by the shovel

Hello Michele and Aislinn!

Thanks for your comments. And thank you Aislinn for sharing what you did regarding Michele's post (I apparently missed her post during my computer unavailability period where my room was torn up from hurricane repairs). What you added about our being called the house of God is excellent ... full of life! I love it. :)

Michele, it sounds to me as if your heart simply desires to give but that you still harbor the idea that you need some kind of special command from God to do so. I say, do what your heart desires to do in this matter of giving without the restrictions of an outward command. For the command carries with it an assumption that you need to be told to do so, and this will eventually remove your desire and leave only the demand of duty and obedience. But in Christ you are free! You need no other motivation than what has been put within you ... for you already please him. Your heart testifies of this truth.

Jim


Posted: May-12-08 by Piet Uys

Man it is the first time i write to you. I love what yous said about us being the storehouse. I always had the view we made it so complicated. I say Just listen to the Holy Spirit and because you love Jesus you will give what He prompts you to give and you will do it willingly and not grudgingly. You wil give it to the many parts or storehouses or bodies of people. These people are the temple of the Holy Spirit and lets give to whoever and any amount the Holy Spirit shows us.

This way of giving is totally against the flesh . This way of giving will be attacked as Paul and others were attacked for their freedom in Christ .

I really like the part where you talked about the OT where the people were restrained to give more . For me a clear indication of grace in which we stand . I am a missionary in malawi and i will surely teach that as many people are bound by laws in the church here

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