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Sunday, June 30, 2019

Growing Together as a Church Family - Part III: Tithing

"Theologically, tithing helps us understand our lives as a matter of stewardship and realize the thanks we ought to give for all God's gifts in our lives. It also encourages us to learn more and more to walk by faith. Tithing is our way of recognizing that all we have comes from God. [Speckhard, Connected to Christ: Why Membership Matters, 72].

From Leviticus 27:30, "Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the Lord's it is holy to the Lord". Indeed, everything is of the Lord. As we confess the Apostles Creed, or even pray the fourth petition, "Give us this day our daily bread", we are reminded that God is the provider of all things. Even Abram in Genesis 14, gave the priest of God Most High [Melchizedek] "a tenth of everything" as a thank offering to the Merciful Lord for His gracious protection.

In the New Testament, the story of the widow's offering [Mark 12:41-44] reveals her faith in the Lord. "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". The cheerful giver [2Cor9:7] is one whose faith trusts in God as the provider of all things. Yet, at times, we are tempted by the material possessions that possess us. And rather than joyfully giving our first fruits, we give with a burdensome and legalistic heart.

"Tithing also expresses faith in God's providence, that is, trust that God will always provide. Let's face it, at first, ten percent seems like an awful lot of money...Tithing helps us learn to trust, to go by faith rather than by sight. If you go by sight, you'll quickly conclude that tithing is impossible-at least for you. But then you meet people who do it and find out they are like is a far greater blessing than we can conceive until we start trying to do it" [Speckhard, 73].

When I was younger, I remember when I thought ten percent was "an awful lot of money". But now, as we prepare offering each week, I prayerfully thank the Lord for all that He has done and continues to do in every facet of our lives. Yes, there are times when we clench the wallet or purse, as the tempting voice says, "mine, mine, mine!" or when the covetous heart desires more for itself than anything else. But we pray that the Lord will give us a heart of faith that cheerfully gives in the name of the Lord.

For young families, I encourage you to teach your children the gift of giving. That is, to instruct them on how to use their weekly salary/allowance to give to church every week. What a wonderful habit that teaches the children that all things come from the Lord.

But all in all, it is through your tithes and offerings that we are able to continue with Word and Sacrament ministry as well as continuing to be the beacon of light to our community and to all the world. Whether it is to keep the property operationally safe and sound, or meeting the needs of the community, the Lord provides as we continue to walk together as a body of Christ. Go! Thank the Lord! And give joyfully!

May you have a blessed July!

✝️ Pastor Jeong

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Faith Lutheran Church • 123 Park Lane • Moorpark, CA 93021 • (805) 532 1049 • Send Email