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What the Bible says about Giving, Attitudes toward
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Malachi 1:7

They were treating the service of God with a ho-hum attitude, as if to say, "This is just a job. It is simply an offering that I have chosen to give. It means little."

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Tithing

Mark 12:41-44

Many people were putting great sums of money into the treasury. Christ does not condemn them for giving so much, but He makes an insightful observation on the human condition. These people gave much because they had much from which they could give. Note that He is not even saying that they gave their donations in a wrong attitude. Their effort, however, was probably not very great, especially since they were not experiencing financial hardship.

Nevertheless, He makes the point that the widow gave all that she had. Whether from the perspective of the size of her gift, the attitude behind it, or even how insignificant the amount might seem, the widow took her responsibility very seriously. Actually, she was putting her life on the line! It takes tremendous effort to trust God's promises to provide for one's needs.

We should compare this to our situation in the church. We were once part of a work that we could readily see as being viable, sizeable, and economically sound. We could see just how much we were accomplishing from the size of our holy day offerings and number of television and radio stations the church's program played on. Yet, if we look at what has occurred, we quickly realize how money alone did not solve our problems. All the money and effort we expended, while not totally for naught, did not produce the spiritual results God is looking for. God is the One who determines the success of His people, not us or our money or our efforts. Our part is to strive to follow His lead.

How many people consider a smaller group to be a viable product of God's efforts? Can we see that, even though we may be a "widow's mite" size group, the approach and the results are what really matter to God? God is working with us individually to help us grow in grace, knowledge, and truth. A large group with a visible, potent work is not necessary for that goal. In fact, it may be subtly detrimental. It may be good to see ourselves as a group like Gideon's army, which needed a great deal of help from God to succeed.

If this is the case, we need to have the Luke 12:48 approach: "For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more." Undoubtedly, God has given us much, more than we ever deserved. What we must ask ourselves is, "What are we doing with it, and what is our attitude in doing it?"

Staff
Small, But Significant

Ephesians 4:28

Paul's command is clear and straightforward. We are to gain property and possessions by honest work—hard work, as the verb "labor" indicates exertion to the point of exhaustion. In addition, we are not to work merely to satisfy our personal desires and needs, but that we can freely give any excess to the needy.

Besides mere survival, Acts 20:35 reveals an additional reason for working: "I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" Stealing runs totally against the grain of God's way of life. In the spirit of God's law, a person not only steals by taking another's possessions, but by the refusal to work hard and honestly in order to share and give to others in need.

Romans 12:10, 13 helps to clarify this purpose: "Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; . . . distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality." Love has no meaning unless it is demonstrated by giving, and having the ability to give in this manner comes from sacrifice and labor. Paul is writing about total commitment to what is good, an undiminished devotion to kindness regardless of the recipient's response.

Our God sets the example for us. Jesus says in John 5:17, "My Father has been working until now, and I have been working." We are driven by self-concern, and all too often, that concern degenerates into greed. That desire, however, must be overcome. We are to become like God. He is a Creator, and He works. A major characteristic of His Kingdom is that it is a producing, working, creating Family that sacrifices itself to give and to share.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Eighth Commandment

Hebrews 7:4

Regarding the word spoils, the Expositor's Commentary says that it literally means "the top of the heap," and is used of the choicest spoils of war. From these spoils, then, Abraham gave one-tenth - the very best - to Melchizedek. It is impossible to know how the spoils were laid out. Were all of the linens stacked together and the jewels in one chest and the armaments in a heap? Whatever the case, Abraham knew that his victory came from God, so he gave to God the very best that he had, the choicest spoils of the battle.

We must see and understand this attitude in giving. Why is Abraham called the "father of the faithful"? David is called a "man after God's own heart." Abraham, too, was a man after God's heart, but he is better known as the father of the faithful.

As we study tithing, a requisite that must be examined is our attitude. How do we approach God as we pay Him what we owe? Our money never seems to stretch far enough in this day and age. The world markets everything toward our lusts, and we feel that we have to have everything. Tithing often interferes with our desires. We can come to believe that God is keeping us from having what we want. Some come into the church up to their ears in debt and discover that they now must tithe on their incomes! They may feel that it is unfair, that undue pressure is being placed on them.

The problem with this thinking is that we are viewing the paying of tithes from the wrong perspective. The attitude of Abraham is an example for us as we give to God. We should wholeheartedly imitate his faithfulness as we, too, pay our tithes and give our offerings. God wants us to give a perfect offering to Him. This is really important! It should not become something that we just do, as if it were merely another bill to be paid.

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Tithing


 




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