This devotional is one day of a 365 days devotional book entitled Living Hope for the End of Days that explores Revelation, the final book of God's Word; and is available at http://www.dtbm.org/
Giving God What Is His
(Revelation 18; 2 Peter 3:10-18)
As the end of days approaches, you can find hope as you learn to avoid materialism
and give God what is His in this life!
FRIDAY: Stewardship—Giving to God Without Reservation
“… for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood” (Mark 12:44, Emphasis added).
In Enjoying Intimacy with God, noted author J. Oswald Sanders has this to say about giving to God without reservation: “Whether we tithe or not tithe, our Lord's life on Earth as a man set the standard for His disciples, and this principle applies equally to living for God and giving to God. Paul holds Him up as the supreme Example. ‘You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich’ (2 Cor. 8:9).
“Judaism was an expensive religion, and as a devout Jew, who fulfilled the whole Law, our Lord was meticulous in fulfilling its financial obligations. What would He pay into the
“A Jew was first required to give one-tenth to God. Then at harvest time, the farmer must give the firstfruits to God, and that consisted of one-sixth of his increase. Then every three years a second tenth was given for the poor—social security tax. In addition were the special offerings of cleansing and consecration. That means that his total contributions to religion would be nearer a fourth of his income than a tenth—and that does not include voluntary support to the local synagogues. It is not difficult to imagine the temptation in times of stringency to withhold the tithe. So here we have our answer as to how much of His income Jesus gave to God. We know that Christ fulfilled all righteousness so we know that He gave all He could.
“If we object that the Jews were under law and we Christians are under grace, and that for us the law of the tithe has been abrogated, another question arises. Will a Christian who is experiencing intimacy with his Lord wish to take advantage of grace so that he can give less to God's work than the less privileged Jew who knew nothing of Calvary's sacrifice and the inestimable blessings it has brought? Do you think God expects less from us? Was our Lord's matchless generosity in becoming poor for us intended to beget stinginess in His children? Paul cited it rather as an incentive to sacrificial giving. Grace is the super abundant overflowing—Not ‘I have to give this.’ That is the Law. Grace is ‘all I am, all I have, all I’ll ever be.’ ”
The people closest to Christ gave up all they had and followed Him. One might say, “That is the apostles, not us.” Such thinking is why the church is not conquering the world anymore. When has it ever done that? In the nineteenth century, through the ministry of the Cambridge Seven (C.T. Studd and friends), many students chose to give up careers in
A Biblical View of Tithing: "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill, and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy, and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former” (Matthew 23:23, NIV). Jesus said tithing was proper, and thus relevant to us. Admittedly, tithing is nowhere specifically commanded in the New Testament, since that is not the genius of God's method under grace. Instead of legislating regulations, Jesus enunciated principles by which His disciples were to regulate their conduct. "I am not commanding you" were Paul's words. He knew that a lavish hand without a loving heart was valueless.
The patriarchs practiced tithing four hundred years before the Law was given (Genesis 14:20; 28:22). The usage of consecrated tithes prevailed among Romans, Greeks, and Arabians as well as with the Jews; so tithing seems to rest on the common law of God's kingdom rather than on special Hebrew legislation. Jesus Himself gave tithes and offerings. Is the servant greater than his Lord?
W. A. Criswell (1909 -2002), the great expository teacher for many years at First Baptist Dallas, tells the story about the pastor who was asked, "How many church members do you have?" The answer was, “One hundred fifty." The pastor was further asked, "How many of them are tithers?" The pastor replied, "One hundred fifty." In astonishment the inquirer exclaimed, "What! All one hundred fifty, the entire church, are tithers?" "Yes indeed," said the pastor. "About fifty of them bring the tithe to the storehouse, and God collects it from the rest." In the end "we do not cheat God," concludes Dr. Criswell. "I can either give it to Him in a deeply spiritual act of worship, or He can collect it. In either case, God gets His own."
What does God truly want from us? Since no one has ever seen the Father, we need to listen to Jesus, who said: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38).
And Jesus has said that if we love Him, we will obey Him—and that includes how we handle His money, His possessions, and His time!
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