It’s that time of year again! The goodfellows are out collecting all of our loose change before and after we hit the Tim Hortons drive thru.
As I proudly rolled down my window and handed the nice fireman a few bucks from my unused car ash tray, I wondered how much people give on average, not so I could compare myself and see where in the line of saints I would stand, but so I know if I’m being cheap or not.
How many take that little newspaper that nobody reads and put it on display in the windshield so that everyone else knows they gave? Truth is, I don’t put the paper on the dashboard so everyone else knows I gave, I put it there so the goodfellows know I gave, that way the next time I encounter one of these do gooders they know I’m with them, I already did my share.
The reality is most people do not give willingly, they only do it because someone is asking. While I don’t really know what the goodfellows stand for and where the money goes, perhaps if I read that colourful little paper of cheer I would know, and I’d want to give. I have to believe that since they are allowed to stand in the intersection it must me for a good cause.
Let’s be honest though I’m not going to read it, it’ll sit there until I’m tired of the reflection in the window and I’ll throw it out…. no, I’ll recycle it because I am a good person.
Truth be told though if they weren’t out there blocking traffic I wouldn’t give them anything, but since they are and everyone else seems to give, I will also.
So with my placard of pride displayed in my windshield I drove away with coffee in hand, the firemen wave at me, and my bought and paid for newspaper proudly displayed on the dashboard as I head back to the office. I smile a victory smile like Captain America who with one unselfish act just saved the world from impending doom.
This got me thinking about this thing called money, why we covet it so much, why we spend every waking hour chasing every last dollar, why we cringe when we see good people asking us to spare just a little of it.
I know we need it in this urban jungle and if we are to compete with Jones’ we must somehow acquire as much of it as possible, we need it so we can buy stuff, so we can buy houses to put that stuff into, so we can buy cars and fill them with more stuff, and rent storage units to store the stuff we still want but aren’t willing to give up.
Money pays for the bills and makes us look cool, money stored up in the mattress makes us feel safe, money in the bank means we can retire with all of our stuff and live out our retirement years happily.
Until it’s too late and we realize that it’s not the stuff we need, it’s the people in our lives and the Jesus in our hearts, but now we’re in an expensive nursing home, alone and afraid as we’re ignored by our families who now possess our stuff.
Jesus said that where our money is, our hearts will be also. “So true” I think to myself as I openly and overtly covet the latest and coolest smartphone.
Even if it only does the same thing my current one does it just looks cooler, I want it. I make it my goal to get that phone and I stop caring about where those dollars should be going and only care about acquiring the newest and sleekest gadget.
So with my heart (phone) in my pocket please allow me to preach to you just a little bit about where our money should go and where we store our treasures (hearts) or at least should.
The Bible talks an awful lot about tithing, and just as much about being selfish with those tithes.
The word tithe, literally means tenth. A tenth of everything goes to the Lord and willingly so. That shouldn’t be such an issue if we Christians actually believe that it all belongs to Him anyway, we make it sound like giving Him ten percent is us doing Him a favor.
But it is a problem isn’t it? How many of us literally tithe? I don’t, and if looking at the current state of our churches, you don’t either.
Now before you remind me that tithing is an old testament thing and we are no longer bound by old testament law, respectfully….you’re wrong.
Tithing is as much a new testament thing as it is an OT thing.
All four of the gospels mention tithes and so does the author of Hebrews, let me give you some examples…
And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.
Genesis 14:19-20 KJV
For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace.
Hebrews 7:1-2 ESV
And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
Mark 12:41-44 ESV
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Matthew 6:1-4 ESV
Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.
Malachi 3:8-10 ESV
Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.
Proverbs 3:9-10 ESV
At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year’s produce and store it in your towns, so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.
Deuteronomy 14:28-29 NIV
“A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord ; it is holy to the Lord.
Leviticus 27:30 NIV
Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father’s household, then the Lord will be my God and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.”
Genesis 28:20-22 NIV
Let’s be perfectly clear, God does not need our money, He could do whatever He wanted and no amount of money would either help Him or stop Him.
We are to tithe so that the widows and the fatherless are taken care of, we are to tithe as a way of honoring God.
Giving money away is like giving a piece of our heart, it feels good to give.
I know we have to be good stewards of the money we earned and we have college and life and retirement to worry about. But God says He will take care of it, He even said to test Him on it (Malachi 3:8-10) and when can we ever test God? Never, with this one exception.
It will take faith to first give like the poor widow mentioned above but God says He will open up the heavens when we do it with the right heart, without bragging about, not even letting the left hand know what the right is doing. We are not called to hoard it, we are called to give it.
So, when you see the goodfellows out there give them some money, it is for a good cause, I know cause halfway through this post, I read their newspaper! But don’t stop there, give in this season of giving, give when you don’t feel like it, give before someone asks and I promise your heart will feel better than it did had you kept it.
“Have you ever noticed the smile on the face of the person that’s doing the giving?”
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