Christian and Consumer Talk Giving

By now I’m sure you’ve been acquainted with my friends Christian and Consumer.  As I’ve said before, on the outside it’s often hard to tell them apart.  Even walking into a local church on a Sunday morning; you’ll shake hands with both of them and hardly notice any difference.  Their differences lie deeper than the naked eye can perceive.  Their differences are differences of heart, character, thought, and will.  Their distinctions are matters of the soul.

One way to tell them apart is to get them talking.  There are a variety of subjects you can get them debating over, and within moments their respective identities will be revealed.  One of those areas is giving.  They’re pretty far apart on every aspect of giving, but especially when it comes to FINANCIAL giving. 

Question: “So, what do you two think about tithing?” 

Consumer (scoffs): “Huh!  I’m a NEW COVENANT guy.  I don’t buy into the LAW.  I’ve been set free from the law by grace.  Haven’t you read Galatians?”

Christian (surprised): “Actually yes, and the rest of the New Testament as well.  It seems pretty apparent that tithing (giving the first tenth of your income) is the biblical starting point for a Christian.”

Consumer (rolling his eyes in annoyance): “Yeah, I’ve heard this before.  Listen, I subscribe to the biblical concept of “firstfruits,” you should look it up.  It’s the reality from the Bible that we’re supposed to give the first things we have to serve God.  These first things for me include my time and my energy.  I pray, and sometimes I volunteer, and these things clearly count as my firstfruits.  Sometimes I give money, but I don’t make it a legalistic thing, I give “as I have determined in my heart beforehand,” that’s in 1 Corinthians somewhere–you should look it up.” 

Christian: “Yeah, that’s in 2 Corinthian 9:7, the whole context actually says “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.  7 Each one must give as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”  Paul goes on to explain that giving is to be done sacrificially and in thanks to God for His grace.  He also says that as we give God will “increase the harvest of our righteousness.”  This pretty clearly makes financial giving a major priority for a Christian.”

Consumer (sarcastically): “Wow, Bible Man!  That chapter and verse stuff is pretty impressive.  Tell you what, why don’t you give me chapter and verse from the New Testament where it says, ‘Thou shalt give 10% at least to your local church.'”

Christian: “That verse isn’t in the New Testament.”

Consumer: “HA!  GOTCHA!  What now???!!!”

Christian: “If you’d like evidence that the tithe doesn’t just disappear in the NT, look at Jesus’ words in both Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:42.  He clearly states that these Pharisees should have practiced justice and love for God along with not neglecting their tithes.  After that, we see in the Book of Acts several places, along with places like 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, 2 Corinthians 9, and Philippians 4 that the New Testament examples of giving show it was regular, sacrificial, and cheerful.”

Consumer: “Yeah, but it doesn’t say an amount or a percentage!”

Christian: “But in following with Jesus’ affirmation of the tithe and the further explication of “sacrificial” it is very obvious that in excess of at least 10% was the norm practiced.”

Consumer: “But I’m under grace…I don’t have to give any money to get into heaven.  Salvation is a FREE GIFT, not something I buy with my tithe.” 

Christian: “Sure…it is a free gift…one that produces fruit in every life that it takes place in.”

Consumer: “What are you trying to say?”

Christian: “Read the book of James and get back to me.”

About Pastor Andrew

Follower of Jesus, Husband to Carissa, Daddy to four daughters, Lead Pastor at LifePoint Church in Vancouver, WA.
This entry was posted in 2theSource, Letters to Christian, Life @ LPC, Preaching and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Christian and Consumer Talk Giving

  1. Bob Metcalf says:

    Most excellent, explained very well.

  2. Tim Padget says:

    Ever since I started truly tithing several years ago, the differences it has made in my life have been profound. In three years I have paid off 20K in credit cards, and gone from wondering if I would have enough gas till next pay day, to having plenty left over after paying the bills. All this without any major changes in income or bills. I can not explain how this has happened, other than to give credit to The Lord. Once you make the decision to truly start trusting God with your money, He will truly open the storehouses and start blessing. I have heard all the above arguments to many times from people. But the bottom line is, a tenth of every dollar is only the beginning.

  3. Mendi says:

    My family had the same experience as Tim. For the first year we attended LifePoint we gave regularly, but not nearly the percentage we needed to. We were living paycheck to paycheck on my husband’s monthly draws. When Pastor Rich posed a challenge for us to put God to the test with our finances and take a leap of faith a couple years ago, I turned to my husband and asked him to take the plunge. He has a 100% commission job and I thought what better position is there to see what God can do?! Funny thing is right after we wrote our first big check, my daughter crashed her bike into someone’s car and my husband made a comment that maybe we shouldn’t have tithed so we could cover the damage. I got upset and was convinced we still needed to be diligent about tithing. Amazingly, after 15 years in his job market, we saw God double his business and income in that year. And that car my daughter damaged… The guy never called us back to pay for the damages… Of course my husband is believer now in how God can use what we have and it has been awesome for us to see God at work in our lives. I want to shout from the rooftops to everyone in our church that being afraid to step out and give more is just cheating us from all the blessings God has in store for us!!! 🙂

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