Treasure

Tithing

Mt 22:15-21 “Then the Pharisees went off and plotted how they might entrap him in speech.  They sent their disciples to him, with the Herodians, saying,
"Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.
And you are not concerned with anyone's opinion, for you do not regard a person's status.  Tell us, then, what is your opinion: Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?"
Knowing their malice, Jesus said, "Why are you testing me, you hypocrites?  Show me the coin that pays the census tax."
Then they handed him the Roman coin.  He said to them, "Whose image is this and whose inscription?"  They replied, "Caesar's."
At that he said to them, "Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God."
Whose likeness is on the coin?  Caesar’s – so give to him what carries his likeness.  Then what is God’s?  What carries His likeness?  It is nothing less then we ourselves.

Stewardship is a knowing who you are, it defines what and how you think, live your life, how you use your gifts,...  it is a way of life – of using our gifts of TIME, TALENT AND TREASURE. 

Christ paid a debt that was not His; we could not pay it, but He did!  Stewardship is our way of paying back to Christ.  It is not a manipulation of God, but it is a help to become more like our heavenly Father.  At the end of our lives we will have to give an account of what we have done with everything that God had given us on a loan.  It helps me to live as God’s servant who came to pay my debt.

Gamaliel (who was a Jewish doctor of the law who died 18 years before the destruction of the Temple); he wrote:

He is no fool who gives away what he cannot keep, so as to gain what he cannot loose.

What do we do with our treasure?  We have to learn to set goals; not just earthly goals – but KINGDOM goals.  Everything we have, is given by God to us – on loan.  God gives us gifts according to a KINGDOM vision, not an earthly vision.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said: “do not be anxious about anything – seek first the Kingdom of God and everything else will be given to you.” (Mt 6:33)

- we need to budget our resources, among them is our money.

- we need to teach our children how to manage our money before God.

- avoid debt under any circumstance – don’t live beyond your means (Prov 22:7 “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.”)

Is tithing a legal obligation?

Mt 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and fidelity. (But) these you should have done, without neglecting the others.”

We are to tithe + be kind and merciful.  “I have come not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it” (Mt 5:17)

Gen 14:18-20 “Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine, and being a priest of God Most High, he blessed Abram with these words: Blessed be Abram by God Most High, the creator of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who delivered your foes into your hand." Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.”

Abram gave to the priest of God 1/10th of everything.

Gen 28:20-22 “Jacob then made this vow: "If God remains with me, to protect me on this journey I am making and to give me enough bread to eat and clothing to wear, and I come back safe to my father's house, the LORD shall be my God.   This stone that I have set up as a memorial stone shall be God's abode.  Of everything you give me, I will faithfully return a tenth part to you."

If the Lord protects me, I will give Him 1/10th of his income – tithe is 10%.

Tithing is not just a catholic innovation; rather it was practiced in many cultures, even in Egypt, in Syria 4800 BC, in China, in India, Greece, Rome,...  there was a sacred tithe, which was 10% to support the temple.

3 times God calls the people to come to Him and bring gifts:

Exodus 23:15, 34:20

Deuteronomy 16:16

Leviticus 27:30-33

There was a 3 fold tithe in the Old Testament:

Tobit (1:6-8) was faithful tithing:

“I, for my part, would often make the pilgrimage alone to Jerusalem for the festivals, as is prescribed for all Israel by perpetual decree. Bringing with me the first fruits of the field and the firstlings of the flock, together with a tenth of my income and the first shearings of the sheep, I would hasten to Jerusalem and present them to the priests, Aaron's sons, at the altar. To the Levites who were doing service in Jerusalem I would give the tithe of grain, wine, olive oil, pomegranates, figs, and other fruits. And except for sabbatical years, I used to give a second tithe in money, which each year I would go and disburse in Jerusalem.

The third tithe I gave to orphans and widows, and to converts who were living with the Israelites. Every third year I would bring them this offering, and we ate it in keeping with the decree of the Mosaic law and the commands of Deborah, the mother of my father Tobiel; for when my father died, he left me an orphan.”

To the Temple to support the priests

To Jerusalem

To the poor and outcasts (alms)

Josephus (Jewish historian, born AD 37, at Jerusalem; died about 101) tells us that the tithe was used to support the Temple and many charities.

Proverbs 3:9-10 “Honor the LORD with your wealth, with first fruits of all your produce; then will your barns be filled with grain, with new wine your vats will overflow.”

If you will give to the Lord, He will take care of you.

Malachi 3:7-12 “Since the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes, and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. Yet you say, "How must we return?" Dare a man rob God? Yet you are robbing me! And you say, "How do we rob you?" In tithes and in offerings! You are indeed accursed, for you, the whole nation, rob me.  Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, That there may be food in my house, and try me in this, says the LORD of hosts: Shall I not open for you the floodgates of heaven, to pour down blessing upon you without measure?  For your sake I will forbid the locust to destroy your crops; and the vine in the field will not be barren, says the LORD of hosts.  Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land, says the LORD of hosts.”

God says that the people rob Him – how did they rob God?  By not tithing – He also said: “put me to the test – try me!”

Christ said – I have not come to do away with the law, but I came to fulfill it.  What we learn here is to become like our heavenly Father – who cannot be outdone in generosity.

Giving enables us to be free from the attachment to money and possessions.

You never fear poverty when you know the riches of God.

Read up on St. Thomas Aquinas wrote in the Summa Theologicae II-II 2-2-Q87.


When we tithe – do we give from our gross income or from out net income?

Do we want God to bless our gross income or our net income?  And we pay taxes from our gross income – so in other words, we put government before God in paying our dues.  We ought to give from our gross income.

Put God to the test – have financial trouble at home, in your business, not paid off your credit cards?  Test God!  That does not mean that we ought to be foolish with our money; rather we maybe ought to look for help to get our finances under control. 

Vatican II calls for a universal holiness of all people.  Now even the lay people have an opportunity as well as a challenge to put their money where their mouth is.

God does not need our tithes – but WE need to tithe so as to become more like our Father, who cannot be outdone in generosity.

1 Honor God and praise Him as Lord

2 Empower the Church by targeting your giving to advance the Kingdom

3 Increase your faith and trust in God

4 Once you start giving, God blesses you and you are able to give even more

5 It promotes becoming thrifty and move from the path of wastefulness

6 It promotes the common good

7 We submit our finances to God and so acknowledge His Lordship.

 

Psalm 96:4-13

“For great is the LORD and highly to be praised, to be feared above all gods.

For the gods of the nations all do nothing, but the LORD made the heavens.

Splendor and power go before him; power and grandeur are in his holy place.

Give to the LORD, you families of nations, give to the LORD glory and might;

give to the LORD the glory due his name! Bring gifts and enter his courts;

bow down to the LORD, splendid in holiness.

Tremble before God, all the earth;

say among the nations: The LORD is king.

The world will surely stand fast, never to be moved.

God rules the peoples with fairness.

Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;

let the sea and what fills it resound;

let the plains be joyful and all that is in them.

Then let all the trees of the forest rejoice

before the LORD who comes, who comes to govern the earth,

To govern the world with justice and the peoples with faithfulness.”

2 Cor 8:8-15 “say this not by way of command, but to test the genuineness of your love by your concern for others.  For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that for your sake he became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich.  And I am giving counsel in this matter, for it is appropriate for you who began not only to act but to act willingly last year: complete it now, so that your eager willingness may be matched by your completion of it out of what you have.  For if the eagerness is there, it is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have; not that others should have relief while you are burdened, but that as a matter of equality your surplus at the present time should supply their needs, so that their surplus may also supply your needs, that there may be equality.  As it is written: "Whoever had much did not have more, and whoever had little did not have less.””

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