The Gift that Honors
At the close of the service on Sunday at Concord Baptist Church, representatives from the deacons, the hospitality committee, the men’s ministry, and other groups in the church had Bryan Carter, their senior pastor, come back up on the platform. “It’s your 41st birthday and we come bearing gifts.”
Each ministry presented their expression of love—a night at a classy hotel for Bryan and Stephanie, his wife, a gift card for the Dallas Cowboy Pro Shop, and envelopes with more cash. Then the entire congregation stood. You could feel how much they loved and honored their senior pastor. His birthday simply gave them an opportunity to express it. Now suppose that the deacons or the various ministries got in an argument over what percentage of the budget should be spent on appreciation to the senior pastor and said, “We took up an offering to celebrate your birthday but came up empty.”
I’m often asked about tithing. Usually, the questioner wants me to give them a yes or no about whether they are obligated under the New Covenant to give ten percent of what they make back to the Lord. A focus on percentages misses the whole point.
The question Mary and I ask is, “Does this gift express how much we love and honor our precious LORD?” We learned this many years ago from the wise father in Proverbs who, right after he commanded us to “Trust in the Lord,” added this command,
“Honor the LORD from the substance of what your abilities generate, from the first fruits of all that you produce. Then your storehouses will be filled with plenty and your vats will burst with new wine.” - Proverbs 3:9-10
LORD, the more Mary and I seek to honor You in our giving, the more You prove that You are the more generous giver. Thanks for supplying our personal needs, but even more, thanks for continuing to provide for Truth Encounter as we seek to honor You by helping others discern the essence of Your Story as told in the Scriptures.
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