The Pastor\’s Pen

An Independent Baptist Preacher\’s Musings and Observations

The MEASURE of Giving

Posted by Pastor Szekely on September 16, 2008

And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.” Mark 12:41-44

 

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself cared about HOW people were giving their treasure [vs41]…but also, The Lord Jesus cared about WHAT was being given [vs42-44]. 

 

DID YOU KNOW that the Temple Treasury consisted of 13 brass chests, or boxes, to cast in offerings. These chests were called “Trumpets” due to them being shaped like a trumpet, or the “bell” of the trumpet. As metal coins were cast into the “Trumpets” a loud noise would be heard by those around the Temple Treasury…the more someone gave, the louder the noise!

 

If someone wanted to “put on a show”, it wouldn’t be too difficult. IN FACT, the Lord Jesus rebuked the ones who did put on a show in this way…Jesus said in Matt 6:1-2, “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. [vs2] Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.”

 

When this poor, widow woman “threw in two mites” [Mark 12:42], they sounded “mighty small” in comparison to the other offerings being made. HOWEVER: What kind of sound did it make in the Lord’s ears? Mark 12:43-44 again says, “…Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.” From what we read here, we can definitely figure out how man would measure her giving verses how the Lord did measure her giving!

 

HOW IS OUR GIVING TO BE MEASURED? HOW ARE WE TO GIVE?

 

A.  We are to give PROPORTIONALLY

 

In the measure of the giving of what God has given to us, we can give the same amount “proportionally”. For example: One person’s income is $2,000/month and another person’s income is $9,000/month. If Biblical, proportionate giving is practiced, BOTH would give the same amount proportionally! Both would “bring back a tenth part to God’s storehouse”!

 

BTW: What proportion, or what percentage, did the poor, widow women give in Mark 12? She gave 100% of all her living!!! Jesus said in Mark 12:43, “That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury”!

 

Notice, too, that the Apostle Paul endorsed proportional (or proportionate) giving: 1 Cor 16:2, “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” What Paul was saying here is: “When you bring all the tithes and offerings into God’s storehouse, give in proportion to your income or to your increase”…as God hath prospered you!

 

HOW IS OUR GIVING TO BE MEASURED? HOW ARE WE TO GIVE?

 

B.  We are to give PROPERLY

 

Malachi 3:10 says, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” From this verse and 1 Corinthians 16:2, we can clearly see that God has appointed a “proper place” to bring the tithes and offerings. That proper place is His New Testament Institution and Storehouse, the Church.

 

HOW IS OUR GIVING TO BE MEASURED? HOW ARE WE TO GIVE?

 

C. We are to give PERPETUALLY

 

God has designed our giving to be systematic. Giving ought to be a regular part of our livesProverbs 3:9-10 says, “Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.” Every time we have increase, we need to honor God with the “firstfruits” of that increase.

 

We’ve already looked at 1 Cor 16:2 more than once: “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” When did Paul instruct the church at Corinth to “lay by him in store as God hath prospered him”? …upon the first day of the week, or the Lord’s Day!

 

Sadly today, many only give when they have “left-overs” or when moved by conviction or guilt, but this is not God’s plan and this isn’t how God measures our giving. Many miss the blessings of God in their MEASURE of giving.

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11 Responses to “The MEASURE of Giving”

  1. Friend, May I offer an alternative interpretation of Malachi for your study.

    From: Tithing is not a Christian Doctrine
    http://www.shouldthechurchteachtithing.com
    Russell Earl Kelly, PHD

    Malachi 3 is the Most Abused Tithing Text in the Bible. The “whole” tithe never was supposed to go to the Temple!

    A. Malachi is Old Covenant and is never quoted in the New Covenant to validate tithing (Lev. 27:34; Neh. 10:28-29; Mal. 3:7; 4:4).

    B. In Malachi 3:10-11 tithes are still only food 1000 years after Leviticus 27:30-34 and Numbers 18:21-28.

    C. Malachi’s audience had willingly reaffirmed the Old Covenant (Neh.10:28-29). The blessings and curses of tithing are identical to and inseparable from those of the entire Mosaic Law. The rain in Deuteronomy 28:12, 23-24 and Leviticus 26:1-4 is only obtained by obedience to all 613 commandments. Galatians 3:10 (quoting Deu 27:26) “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continues not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” Trying to earn God’s blessings through tithing only brings curses for failure to keep all of the law. See also Galatians 3:19.

    D. Beginning in 1:6 “you” in Malachi always refers to the dishonest priests and not the people (also 2:1-10; 2:13 to 3:1-5): “Even this whole nation of you –priests” (3:9). In 1:13-14 the priests had stolen tithed animals vowed to God. In Nehemiah 13:5-10 priests had stolen the Levites’ portion of the tithe. God’s curses on the priests are ignored by most tithe-teachers (1:14; 2:2 and 3:2-4).

    E. Point #12 of the essay. The Levitical cities must be included in a correct interpretation of Malachi 3:10. Most tithe-recipients lived outside of Jerusalem.

    F. The 24 courses of Levites and priests must be included in a correct interpretation of Malachi 3. Normally only 2% of the total Levite and priest work force served at the temple one week at a time. Subtract wives, males under the age of 30 and daughters. Therefore 2% did not require all of the tithe. See 1 Chron 23-26; 28:13, 21; 2 Chron. 8:14; 23:8; 31:2, 15-19; 35:4, 5, 10; Ezra 6:18; Neh. 11:19, 30; 12:24; 13:9, 10; Luke 1:5.

    G. Nehemiah 10:37-39 is the key to understanding Malachi 3:10, The people were commanded to bring their tithes, not to the temple, but to the nearby Levitical cities. Verse 38 says that the priests were with the Levites in the Levitical cities when they received the tithes.

    H. According to Nehemiah 13:5, 9 the “storehouse” in the Temple was only several rooms. The real “storehouses” were in the Levitical cites per Nehemiah 10:37b-38. Only the Levites and priests normally brought tithes to the Temple (10:38). Two rooms in the Temple were far too small to contain the tithe from the entire nation and 98% of the Levites and priests lived too far away to eat from them.

    Therefore, Malachi 3:10’s “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse” only makes contextual sense if it is only commanding dishonest priests to replace the tithes they had removed from it or had failed to bring to it.

    While the 3:10 of the Law in Malachi is so important to tithe-teachers they ignore the 3:10 of the Gospel in Galatians and 2nd Corinthians. Perhaps those wanting to enforce the 3:10 Law of Malachi should also enforce the 3:10 Law of Numbers. They share the same context.

    Christian giving is freewill, sacrificial, generous, joyful, regular and motivated by love. That is enough to provide the needs of the Church.

  2. Thank you, Dr. Kelly, but no thank you.

    I agree that “Christian giving is freewill, sacrificial, generous, joyful, regular and motivated by love” as you’ve stated and as I’ll similarly state in my next post, “The MOTIVE of Giving”, but we are definitely not in agreement when it comes to our views on tithing.

    I believe tithing is Biblical and that it is for today. You believe tithing is Biblical but not for today. You’ve been focusing on the recipients of the tithe; My whole study and posts focus on the givers of the tithe and their obedience to God. We definitely see things differently.

    God did not “stop” the tithe. You say He ceased tithing because it was one of the “works of the Law” – that’s why you direct my attention to Gal 3:10, “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” But I’ve shown where God has brought the tithe into the New Testament. AND I’ve also shown that the tithe was BEFORE the Law.

    The 10 Commandments were the “works of the Law” – Do you believe they have ceased as well since we’re not “under the Law”? I surely do not. We don’t keep the 10 Commandments TO BE saved, but saved folks ought not to lie, steal, commit adultery, etc. Also, we know that the Lord Jesus preached on and put His “stamp of approval” [if you will] on every one save the Sabbath.

    So sir, again…thanks, but no thanks.

  3. Good job as usual. Can I reprint?

  4. No problem, my brother…go right ahead!

    I’m thankful it may be a help unto you…and I pray all is well with you and yours in Alberta and at Lakeside Baptist Church.

    Catch you later & Lord bless!

  5. Great post, Pastor Szekely! Tremendous work on the article and great work on fending off those that would play down the role of a Biblical tithing practice. I like how you drew out the picture of the plates, or trumpets as they were shaped, that resounded with the clanking of their donations. Then Jesus smashed their practice of haughty, prideful giving for show. A hearty Amen!

  6. It is interesting that one of the arguments that Russell (and his followers) use is “tithing was never money,” though that doesn’t line up with the Bible.

    Of course, most references in the OT would be about tithing on their agricultural produce – as that is the type of income many of them had, that was the type of society they were part of. But there are still references to tithing money.

    Genesis 14:20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.

    Luke 18:12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

    Tithes of all – does not say “tithes of all produce” – Abraham gave God one-tenth of ALL he owned, of everything – that would certainly include his money! What was wrong with the Pharisee was his pride and boasting – but it is interesting to note he gave tithes of all he possessed, not just his produce or livestock.

    Leviticus 27:30-31 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’S: it is holy unto the LORD. And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof.

    There was a monetary value attributed to the tithes. Can’t add a fifth to it, unless you can first determine what it is worth.

    Deuteronomy 14:22-25 Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always. And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the LORD thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD thy God hath blessed thee: Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose:

    Genesis 28:20-22 And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God: And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.

    Hebrews 7:2 To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;

  7. Thank you for your comments, Bro. Nick!

    God’s Word is so good! We don’t need to correct it or complicate it…we just need to be conformed to it.

    I’m very glad the post was a blessing to you, and again, thank you much for commenting.

    Lord bless!

  8. Right on, Bro. Jerry!

    You make such an intelligent and obvious point that it just might be too hard for some to see.

    “Ignorant and unlearned” folk like me get it, though…and I’m so very thankful for your addition to this – awesome.

    Great job, my brother!

    Lord bless!

  9. God’s Word is good! Amen to that! Thank you for the good work that you do. I appreciate you!

  10. Thank you, Bro. Nick…

    It’s my blessing to be in the battle with you.

    Lord bless!

  11. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was wondering what all is required to get set up? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very internet smart so I’m not 100% sure. Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

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