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Summary: Like most of you, I could do without picking up my socks, mowing the lawn or setting the table for dinner. But you know why I do it (and for the most part) don’t have to be told to do it? I love my wife! I love being able to help her and that’s what gives

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House Rules

Text: Selected passages

House rules – the blessing and curse of daily life. Pick up your socks. Brush your teeth. Mow the lawn. Take out the garbage. Set the table. Walk the dog. “Seriously Dale, you’re worst than the girls” laments my weary lady!

God has house rules. Among them are his rules about stewardship of resources including, but not limited to, house rules about money.I used this theme in December 2008. I'm repeating today as we close our fiscal period on March 31st.

Today's stewardship theme is a dirty seven-letter word – tithing. The subject for some people is like that bad taste in your mouth when the dentist injects an anesthetic to deaden the gums.

1. GOD ESTABLISHED TITHING HOUSE RULES

Tithe is a noun (Dictionary.com)Some definitions include:

-- A tenth part of one’s annual income contributed voluntarily or due as a tax, especially for the support of the clergy or church.

-- A very small part.

Tithing is God’s idea and he wired it into the principles of life that he intended for his church.

We'll start our journey with some of the earliest Scriptures and work our way through the Bible on this subject.

a. Leviticus 23:10

When God restored the people’s identity as his nation he instituted the act of first-fruits giving. This offering was a single sheaf of grain offered to the priest represented the entire harvest. The people gave this offering before they could eat any of the harvest. One source notes, “In this rite they show that all they possess also belongs to {God}.” This would remind us that we are not free to spend our own energies, abilities or income first upon ourselves and then, if there is a surplus, share with the Lord. Our first-fruits belong to God.

This verse strengthens teaching that tithing begins on our gross income, not net. First-fruits is defined as “the first results” (dictionary.com). It is that amount of income actually received before tax deductions and bills. To argue tithe after gross is to say tithe after the bills are paid. They are essentially the same.

b.Leviticus 27:30-32

Verse 30… One of the first steps toward commitment in tithing is realizing God owns all your money. Let’s suppose you left your wallet on your seat and I found it tomorrow. Because I found it I instantly believe I have a right to entitlement and spend the money that you have in your wallet (or use your credit cards!) When you find out I did that you will rightfully be angry and accuse me of stealing from you. You will argue that because I held your resources in my hands did not give me entitlement to help myself to it.

The Lord’s tithe operates on the same principle. His money is in amongst the income we generate because it all belongs to him. He outlined that of our resources a minimum 10% of those resources are to be set aside for the work and needs of the church. What happens sadly is we open his wallet and say, “I’ll take that.” It’s stealing – more on that in a bit.


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