Saturday, August 22, 2009

My Reflections on Five Things Every Christian Needs To Grow by Dr. R.C. Sproul (Part 8)


'Giving should be an act of worship.'

'The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein” (Ps. 24:1). God is the author of all things, the Creator of all things, and the owner of all things. Whatever God makes, He owns. What we own, we own as stewards who have been given gifts from God Himself. God has the ultimate ownership of all of our “possessions.” He has loaned these things to us and expects us to manage them in a way that will honor and glorify Him.'

'The word that is translated “stewardship” in the Bible is the Greek word oikonomia, from which we get our word economy. It is two distinct words joined together to create a new word: oikos, which comes from the Greek word for house, and nomos, the Greek word for law. The word that is translated “stewardship” literally means “house law” or “house rule.” '

'If we spend our money on one thing, we cannot spend them on something else. (Therefore we need to be good stewards on how we spend every penny)'

'It seems, however, that very few Christians believe the tithe still applies. A poll of people claiming to be evangelical Christians indicated that only 4 percent of them tithe. A similar poll indicated that the average percentage of income evangelical Christians give to God’s work is less than 2.5 percent. If the tithe principle is still in effect and the polls are accurate, then 96 percent of professing evangelical Christians are systematically robbing God.'

'He (God) understood market economics, wherein the marketplace establishes the “value” of goods and services. He knew that, left to themselves, people value doctors, business entrepreneurs, and even entertainers more highly than ministers or educators.'

'However, a minister who is being underpaid can hardly help but conclude that people do not appreciate his work. Because I work with so many pastors, I know that many of them experience a profound sense of discouragement because they feel that people do not appreciate
their labor." '

Five Things Every Christian Needs To Grow, R.C. Sproul

Again, as in the case of service, the motive behind is very important. If a believer tithes out of a personal decision or conviction,that is good.

This tithing issue has to be handled in a balanced manner and should not be handled in a simplistic manner. Tithing becomes a problem when it is forced upon, or coerced upon.

Tithing should also not be seen as a form of "Christian stock investment", by using the promise of financial blessings as a form of returns for the "investment" they have put in. Pay the tithe, and God will give you more money in return. Refuse to tithe, and God will punish you.

This is not hard at all for the very rich ones. To a very rich man, 10% is simply a paltry sum. It may also give him a false sense of assurance that they are obeying God and that God is now under the obligation to bless them back in abundance!

How about the very poor? How about those who really can't give at all where they are really struggling to make ends need, where they are living from paycheck to paycheck? For someone where every penny counts? Does that mean that this person is living under the curse of God? Shall we squeeze out that 10% from him too?

So, my personal view is that, while the 10% should serve as a guide, it should never be used to inflict guilt upon someone that if they are giving less than 10% or not giving tithes at all, they are living under the abundance of God. The blessings of God are much more than just financial gains - it includes good health, good family support, the ability to laugh, etc.

Tithing should also not be viewed as a litmus test for discipleship. This is especially so if the very rich who gives a lot to the church is made to head the church council board, to be made an elder, etc, etc.

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