Summary: The word tithe comes from the Hebrew word which means ONE-TENTH. Literally, a tithe is one-tenth of anything. In the OT a tithe was more than just giving one-tenth of your money to God.
TITLE: TO TITHE OR NOT TO TITHE, THERE IS NO QUESTION
We have an exciting month ahead of us as we look forward to celebrating – BLACK HISTORY MONTH. We are off to a wonderful start this morning with other great worship opportunities in which we will reflect upon those whose shoulders we stand upon today. This month will also be our “LOYALTY MONTH.” We will consider various topics that will assist us in the growth of this Church. We will focus on Loyalty to GOD – CHURCH – MINISTERIAL STAFF - This morning, and for the next few weeks we will consider the importance of TITHING, which encompasses our loyalty to all three categories.
There are certain problems a Pastor faces whenever he talks about the subject of GIVING. Chief among those problems is the idea of BOREDOM. Not only is it difficult to make this subject exciting to preach, but also; people feel like they already know what is going to be said before I say it. So we have tendency to TUNE-OUT or what I call what we take is a “MENTAL VACATION” throughout the message.
--Let me begin with a True Story that perhaps some have heard and are aware of - PRESIDENT FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT - that great charismatic leader, who grew weary from having to be in so many receiving lines at the White House.
--He felt that many times people weren’t paying attention to the things that he was saying to them as they would pass by and shake the President’s hand. So one day at a reception he decided to try an experiment. As each person filed by, he reached out to shake hands and as he did so he murmured, “I MURDERED MY GRANDMOTHER TODAY.”
--Several hundred people went through the line and as he would say, “I murdered my grandmother today,” they would say, “Congratulations. We’re so proud of you. You’re doing a wonderful job. God bless you.”
--He finally got to the end of the line and here came the AMBASSADOR FROM BOLIVIA. When President Roosevelt said, “I murdered my grandmother this morning,” the ambassador leaned over and whispered in his ear, “I’M SURE SHE HAD IT COMING.”
--Well, I have no doubt that most of us are like majority of those other guests. We think we know what’s going to be said and so we don’t pay much attention because we’re pretty sure we’ve heard all about the subject of tithing before.
Let’s examine our Scripture text -- This morning as we consider the subject “To Tithe or Not to Tithe, There Is No Question”. That is the subject of great interest to Christians. It is a subject that preachers preach about, teachers teach about, and one that is much discussed by Bible students. However; it is also a subject that is at the same time neglected and misunderstood by the average Christian.
Many of us can’t help but be confused - You listen to one Bible teacher and he says one thing. You listen to another Bible teacher and she says something else. You go to one church and the pastor says one thing. You go to another church and the pastor says something else. It’s the same way with the commentaries. One commentary says one thing and another commentary says something else. In fact, all the way along the spectrum there is confusion.
We find people who would say that the tithe is binding upon Christians today and that all Christians without exception are to tithe all the time. On the other extreme there are those people who say that tithing belongs under the law and has no relevance whatsoever for Christians today. And you will find people all along the spectrum in between those two positions. So it’s important for us to know what the Bible speaks about this that we have proper understanding.
The differences of interpretation fall along the lines of if we are AN ADMIRER OR FOLLOWER OF JESUS. Have you ever had someone say to you, “you know I really admire you” or have you ever told someone, “I sure do admire you.” JOHN ORTBERG said the difference between an ADMIRER and a FOLLOWER is:
• An Admirer is impressed
• A Follower is devoted
• An Admirer applauds
• A Follower surrenders his life
• A lot of people admired Martin Luther King
• Some marched with him
• Not many went to jail with him
• Not many got their houses bombed like he did
• A lot of people admired Mother Theresa
• Not many people followed her to live among the destitute and dying
You know we admire Jesus with the songs we sing.
• Lord, I’ll never forget what you’ve done for me