Tithing and Living By Grace

. at . 6 comments

  • I was sitting on the hearth of the fireplace with an individual who was considering becoming part of Mosaic. He turned to me and asked if Mosaic was a law church or grace church.

It was pretty obvious to me that he was setting a trap, so I thought I would go ahead and jump in. I said, “Well, of course we’re a grace church.”

“I thought so,” he replied. “I was concerned that you were one of those law churches that told people they had to tithe.”

“Oh, no,” I said. We’re a grace church.

  • The law says, ‘Do not murder.’ Grace says you don’t even have to have hatred in your heart; you can love your enemy.
  • The law says, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ but grace says you don’t even have to have lust in your heart for another woman.
  • The laws says, ‘Give 10 percent,’ but grace always takes us beyond the law. You can give 20, 30, or 40 percent. We would never stop you from living by grace.”

He looked at me and said, “Oh” – a profoundly theological response.

The above story is from An Unstoppable Force(pp 204-205) by Erwin McManus. I read that story tonight and thought it went well with the study Pastor Mike is leading us through on The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn.

The subtitle of Alcorn’s book is Unlocking the Secret of Joyful Giving. I reckon that’s what a grace immersed heart does – joyfully gives.

Alcorn and McManus both declare that one way grace wins is by keeping our focus on God, His priorities, and our grateful response.

Everything I’m hearing and reading these days has to do with this issue. Today on a John Piper CD, he said to be mindful of when we spend our money on things because we won’t be allowed to bring a U-Haul to Heaven. The CD is Desiring God and really isn’t about tithing!

Let me share one more quote from McManus. Warning – this is a faith stretcher. At least it was for me.

We believe that the use of money is a deeply spiritual issue and that how you give is an honest refection of your heart toward God . . . The sacrifice of time and energy, of unique skills and talents, is the overflow of a spirit of generosity. If people are selfish with money, you’ll never get their real contributions” (220).

Wow, that last sentence pinched. I allow my fear to tell God “no” to giving all the tithe He asks of me. I am telling Him “no” to His sovereign control of my life. Instead of living in faith (and grace) I AM living in fear.

I am tired of living in fear. I am tired of  saying “no” to God. Even in the very small areas like . . .

  • Making a call to someone I don’t know very well.
  • Reconciling the checkbook.
  • Starting the final I  know I can’t do.

I so appreciate your examples, prayers, and accountability. And I so appreciate that God gives me plenty of opportunities to live by His grace.

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Entry filed under: Learning, Susan's World.

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Theresa Lindamood  |  . at .

    Hi, I enjoyed this post. I think tithing is hard because we feel like toddlers…”it’s mine!” and we want to be in control. For me tithing has been a lesson not in giving or sharing, but in trusting God. I have to trusth Him that if I give “my” money to Him that I will have enough for me! I don’t know if this is from having just barely enough or if even people have more than plenty feel this way! I know it makes it hard when you add up what you tithe and you see all that you could do with more money. But the longer we have tithed, the more we have seen God’s hand in our finances, taking care of things, providing for us even in some amazing and unbelievable ways. It hasn’t gotten overly easy over time…we still need money, but the trust is growing. I also loved that law/grace example!

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  • 2. susan2009  |  . at .

    Great example, Theresa, about us being toddlers.
    Yes, you guys have some great titihing examples. Thanks for sharing so openly about your journey.

    Funny enough, I find it easier to tithe when I have a littler amount.

    Ie. At the begininning of the school quarter, God provided the money needed for tuition (almost 4K) and a bit extra. Of course the extra amounted to a 10% tithe. I really wanted to keep the extra for myself – buy books, buy presents, you know do GOOD with it. But I really felt God wanted me to give it to Him. Which I did – but it was a struggle.

    I am also struggling a bit with McManus’ thought that we are selfish when we don’t fully tithe. Maybe it’s the toddler in me that is reacting.

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  • 3. jbbaab  |  . at .

    Good examples showing the difference between what the law says and what grace says. The gift of Jesus Christ was given to us freely so should we give back tithe and offerings the same way.

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  • 4. susan2009  |  . at .

    Thanks, jbbaab, for your comment.
    Yes, it does always come back to the freely given gift of Christ.
    That is my motivator and greatest example.

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  • 5. few4th  |  . at .

    2 Corinthians 9:6-15 is one of my favorite passages on giving. I love verses 7-8, which basically say that as we give generously and cheerfully, God will meet all of our needs and then some. We can then use the “then some” to turn around and give more so that “we can abound in every good work”. Thanks for your post.

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  • […] you don’t tithe, start. Ponder and pray about why you don’t tithe. If it is because of fear, go here. Even a small amount […]

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