2 Corinthians 8:9
New International Version (NIV)
9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
Do you give 10% of your income to the church? I don’t mean to offend anyone, but I bet for the vast majority of us, the answer is no (as a matter of fact, according to this article I’ll bet only about 3% – 10% actually do).
Here’s what I’ll proclaim though, tithing is a step towards stewardship. We are challenged to be stewards of the Earth. Look at Genesis – You know; Adam and Eve in the Garden where mankind is tasked with being Stewards of the whole world.
Justice, Peace, Love, Faithfulness, Environment, Hope – We are stewards of all of it and we now live in a world where in order to make some of these things happen; it takes financial resources. So we have to be stewards of our own finances, over our time, our energy, and our efforts. More than that, even; stewardship is about leadership; it’s about being accountable, responsible, reasonable, discerning, and a voice of security.
New International Version (NIV)
23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.
Matthew 23 even provides the admonition; ‘I shouldn’t neglect one thing to honor another.’ Instead I should do both. In order to be a faithful steward, I must contribute; but I must also use my time, talents, and strengths for the benefit of building Christ’s community. Sharing Christ like love is essential to everything we do.
Perhaps one thing we often concentrate on too heavily when we speak of “tithing” and “stewardship” is “budget.” Forget the budget for a minute. Why do you give? Are you giving to keep the lights on? Or are you giving to share the love and peace of our Lord? Are you giving to share Love to others? The word ‘tithing’ should not be synonymous with ‘budget.’ Instead, tithing is more closely related to generosity and magnanimity.
I give what I can because God’s mission matters to me. I give my time because I want others to know the love and peace of Christ. I give my talents because I want to create things that draw others nearer to God and to allow them to experience a consuming Love. I give what I can financially because I have experienced the love of Christ. I know what the Love of God feels like. I know what it feels like to have value and worth. I know what it feels like to have hope, joy, love, and peace in my life. I want others to experience that.
Stewardship is about radically challenging trends that are contrary to God’s Love. Doctrine and Covenants 163: 3b echoes the calling of Matthew 11: 16-19 where Jesus challenges cultural trends of his day.
3b. Above all else, strive to be faithful to Christ’s vision of the peaceable Kingdom of God on earth. Courageously challenge cultural, political, and religious trends that are contrary to the reconciling and restoring purposes of God. Pursue peace.
Stewardship is providing a light in the dark. It’s giving time, talents, treasures, and finances -responsibly. Stewardship is sharing God’s love, protecting God’s creatures, and living God’s mission. Tithing, is an important biblical portion that lays at the base of sharing the Gospel of Christ’s love. Freely, generously giving at your true capacity is responsible discipleship in action.