Matters of the Heart

Matters of the Heart

Being a giver is never out of style.

I remember, when I was young when relatives and friends came over to my parent’s house, they always brought something with them to give to my parents.  The joy of giving is a gift. It is always a pleasant thing to do for someone else. It makes them feel accepted, liked, and most of all it strengthens their friendship bond.

The sad thing is, that the art of giving is disappearing. Nowadays, nobody wants to bring a pot-luck food item to a group event or party, they don’t want to contribute to someone else’s needs, nor do they want to give….  out of their substance for example of their tithes and offerings to their local church.

Are we becoming selfish?

The act of generosity is woven into our refection of love.  Jesus told his disciples as a guiding principle: “Freely you have received, freely give” as he sent them out to spread God’s salvation message and to heal the sick. (Matthew 10:8)  In this scripture, the Hebrew definition for “freely” is without cause or undeservedly. This principle still applies.  We are to freely give to others as God gave to us His only son, Jesus.  We, as Jesus disciples, we are to give freely of our time, our love, and of our possessions. Let’s not give out of vanity, but of love.  We can never make up for the gift God gave us (Jesus). We all have been blessed beyond measure.   Let us be cheerful givers and generously give.

Tithing and Giving unto the Lord

I have come to realize that many or most Christians are manipulating the scripture as a means not to tithe or give. Many have argued that the word “tithe” is not in the New Testament, which is true.  We need to take a look at this objective, that God has requested his children to follow in the giving of tithes.  You see, God has structure and order for His Kingdom to expand and eventually take over the earth like it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10)  Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. The key word in this scripture is “thy will.” In order for this to happen, God has ordained the chosen unto himself to be ministers, the five-fold ministry, which consists of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelist, Pastor, and Teacher.

Abraham

For example, in the beginning, Abraham gave his tenth to honor Melchizedek, the King of Salem and he was also a priest unto God. Melchizedek brought Abraham bread and wine to eat and he also prayed over Abraham blessings after the battle.  Abraham’s act of tithing was to honor and acknowledge Melchizedek.  This act was done prior to God’s mandate to tithe.  You can say, that this was an act of appreciation to honor God’s chosen.  Abraham’s actions in giving were before the Law was introduced. When one feels appreciation, it is always fit to honor the person that is blessing you.

God watches over the Levites, the priesthood. 

Many Christians are now debating the fact that the tithe was in the harvest and the Herd, not actual money.  During that time it was true.  God did ask them to tithe of the harvest and the Herd because this was given to the Levite priest so they would have food to eat.  Those that were late in their tithing were charged a 20% penalty.  The priest’s job was to be in charge of the tabernacle of the congregation and for all the services of the tabernacle (they were not farmers).  God gave the children of Levi all the tenth of Israel as an inheritance since they were not given land – for their service unto the tabernacle of the congregation (Numbers 18).  These priests were from the tribe of Levi, and this clan was chosen by God to be the priest over the tabernacle of the congregation.

Tithing, is it still valid? 

Christians are continuing to justify themselves for not tithing. The debate is, that when God initiated tithing and gave a mandatory law, it was based on the harvest and Herd, not money.  Well, yes, again it was because it was the food for the Levites, the priests.   They, the Levite Priest were to fully concentrate on the management of the tabernacle, this was their job. They were not farmers or businessmen, they were the priest.   Therefore, a tenth of the harvest fed all the priests and everyone else who was in service to the congregation with the priest.  In Numbers 18:20, the priest was to tithe a tenth from the harvest, which they received to Aaron, the priest. So, even today, Pastors have to tithe to their spiritual leader.

Don’t allow demonically influenced people to deceive you from the truth.

I have come across many websites and YouTube videos where people are trying to convince God’s children that they don’t have to tithe.  This is so wrong because the word of God says in Malachi 3:8 that if we don’t tithe, we are robbing God. Malachi 3:9 states we curse ourselves if we don’t.  Yes, they even state that since we are no longer under the Old Testament we don’t have to tithe. Yet, in Matthew 5:17  Jesus said that he didn’t come to destroy the law but to fulfill it.  Christ didn’t come to destroy the Old Testament, but to build upon it. Jesus came to finish the old covenant (circumcision) and to establish the new covenant (salvation by faith), It’s from circumcision to salvation by faith through Jesus Christ who died and resurrected to redeem us back unto God, YHWH.   This is what Jesus came to fulfill. Jesus came to let us know that we were no longer justified by works of the Law (sacrifices), but that by Jesus in the shedding of His blood upon the cross, now we are justified by faith – we are now the temple of the Holy Spirit, whom you have received from God.  We continue to obey and honor the Ten Commandments, so why is the mandatory tithing any different. Just remember, that the law was written for the nation of Israel, not for the Gentiles.   Any non-Jewish person is a gentile. The Law was written for them, yet, we were grafted in after the Chief cornerstone was rejected by its people, that he then opened it up for the Gentiles, which is us, non-Jewish people. (Ephesians 2:11-15 )   Please understand that the Law and tithing were still in effect while Jesus was still on walking on the earth and even as of today and the Jewish people are still tithing.

In Matthew 16:18  Jesus told Peter that upon this rock He was going to build his church – the rock being, Christ, of course. God continues to build upon His church – the body, we are the Body of Christ; we are the church, us, people not the building we gather in to worship.   Therefore, does the tithe still exist to the New Testament church?  Yes, and God instituted the Church… not man.

Tithing, is it still valid? 

Now, in today’s time, many people still claim, that the tithe is no longer valid.  While non-Jewish people were getting converted, they didn’t follow the Mosaic Law.  They didn’t tithe. So, don’t you think that while the Jewish people were tithing, they, the Gentiles were wondering about giving?

Let us go to 2 Corinthians 9:1-8, If you notice it starts with “In touching the ministering to the Saints” Paul was addressing concerns the people had. Paul was addressing the people in Macedonia, which was in the northern part of Greece.  These were not Jewish people, but Greek.  Paul knew that the Macedonians gave according to their ability. In that sense, they weren’t able to give as they wanted too due to poverty, which the Romans had taken all their wealth.  So, they gave in proportion to the little they did have, but with a grateful heart. They wanted to give unto them as a gift of appreciation, and Paul knew they had little to give. He was not asking for money instead they wanted to bless Paul.  In seeing what they were doing, Paul began to tell them to give what they could.  And for future visits, they could save money from every payday so when they came, then they had some money saved to give them.  You see, the Macedonians were very grateful to hear the gospel and received the gift of salvation. They wanted to bless them by giving unto Paul and the disciples as a gift of gratitude.

Giving with a grateful heart, as God gave us his only begotten Son, Jesus. 

Giving with a grateful heart is in comparison to what God did for us…  He gave us his one and only begotten son, Jesus and in him, we have eternal salvation – God gave unto us freely, and unselfishly. Therefore, when we give an offering (not the tenth) and it should be the given in the same way, freely and unselfish as it honors God.  This had nothing to do with the Tithe. What most Christians don’t think about is that Jesus and the Disciples were converting people into salvation by Faith. These people, many were Gentiles.  They didn’t follow the Mosaic Law. They didn’t give nor tithe; they had many questions.  They were being taught to love and give. Just because Jesus and the Disciples didn’t talk about Tithing, it didn’t mean they couldn’t or had to give.  Remember, they were Gentiles, not Jewish.  The Jewish people were all ready Tithing.

Yet, Jesus said in Matthew 6:21, for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  What we give reflects our hearts intent, and it validates our standing with God.  When we don’t give with a joyful heart or we don’t give an offering at all, then we are telling God – he is not first in our lives, and that we do not trust in him to provide for our needs; even better – you may not truly be saved nor completely believe in Him.  With all this been said, we cannot use these scriptures out of content to insinuate that tithing is no longer warranted.    In withholding our tithes and offerings, we are alienated from God. Malachi 3:7,  God states, “Return to me.” Don’t be the one to say, ” Wherein shall we return?”

How can we return to God?

Malachi 3:1, “ Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,” says the Lord of Host.   Who is this messenger to prepare the way?  It was John the Baptist, and after that, the second messenger is our Lord, Jesus.  Now, why would God start Malachi 3 with that statement?  Well, continue to read Malachi 3:2-7   Isn’t it interesting that in verse 7, it states, “Even from the days of your fathers ye gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them.  Return to me, and I will return to you, saith the LORD of Host. But ye said Wherein shall we return?”  Let’s go back to verse 2, it states, “But who may abide the day of his coming?” Isn’t that interesting?   Our Father is telling us that, even till the day of judgment, His people will continue to rob him of the tithes and offerings.  You see, even in the New Testament era and the last days before the judgment – His children are to continue tithing.

I’m pretty sure, that your Pastor has blessed you in so many ways.  Don’t you think, that as a child of God, your tithe and offerings should go back into the House of the Lord? We must continue in the ordinances that the Lord has set for His House – that His kingdom will continue to grow and bring people back unto Him.  Put away the Harvest – we are now in the 21st century, we now have jobs.  With our salaries, we are to pay the tenth with our finances unless you have yielded some crops in which you can tithe.  It’s always great to eat fresh produce, unfortunately, the utility companies, the mortgage company and everyone providing a service needs to collect for their services provided.  This is why we now give a tenth of our wages. The ordained order of the church is to pay the tenth to the Pastor and the offerings go towards the needs of the temple.  Pastoring is a full-time job, and the church of Christ is to support the Pastor and his family so they can focus on full-time ministry and the edification of the body, the church of God.

Again, this is to make sure that His faithful servants in full-time ministry are taken care of. Just as the Levites who were the priest of, God.  Full-time Pastors are to focus on the Kingdom of God and lead His sheep into green pastures.   If the tithes and offerings are withheld, then the Kingdom of God suffers, and you will be cursed with a curse.  Not until we all repent and come back to the Lord in our tithes and offerings so that all is well within our own household.

God promises

God promises, that he will open the windows of Heaven and pour you out a blessing, that there will not be room enough to receive it. He will also rebuke the devourer for our sakes and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field.

Now, in not tithing, we are not cursed, but our wages are not blessed either. This is where we have to be carefull that we are not withholding our tithing or giving because we have become greedy, selfish or we worship money.  We can not worship the two, manna (money) and God, but one or the other.

May you be blessed, and should you have any questions, please feel free to email me at “gracie.rent@hotmail.com.”

Gracie Renteria

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