Beyond the Tithe
By Robert F Simms
“Don’t you think tithing is unreasonable?” The thirty- something man said to the churchman he had met.
“Not at all,” said the other. “In fact, if you had to tithe as Israelites did, you would give much more than ten percent.”
“Okay,” the first man interrupted, “but that was the law then. Am I right that Christians aren’t under the law?”
“Yes, you’re right,” conceded the church member.
“I don’t mean I won’t give. But I’m not rich… comfortable, but not rich. I don’t think giving a tenth is reasonable, given what else people have to do just to get by these days.”
“Let me take you somewhere,” said the churchman. They paid their checks and drove down into town, and into a section occupied by many prostitutes, vagrants and drug dealers. The churchman pointed to a building with a lighted cross over the door. “That’s the gospel rescue mission. We didn’t have one until two years ago. It’s run by a man who started a small business here a few years back. Like you, comfortable though not rich.”
“How did he lose it?” asked the thirty-something.
“Oh, he didn’t lose it. But he became a Christian, and God gave him such a heart for these people that he poured his living into half a dozen things to help them. He personally runs the rescue mission at night.
“I’ll bet his wife loves that.”
“As a matter of fact, she does. He preaches; she cooks. They run it together. They probably put more than half their worth into their church, various missions and this rescue operation. They have a modest home now, and they drive a nine-year-old car.”
“Because they discovered that it means more to give than to receive.”
If Christ has changed our hearts as he did Zacchaeus, we shouldn’t be looking for limits on giving, but for opportunities to show our thankfulness, and our new values.
“Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.”