Tithing and Offerings

Tithing and Offerings   By Ellie

Mark 10:17-31

17 As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good. 19 But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.’”

20 “Teacher,” the man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.”

21 Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!” 24 This amazed them. But Jesus said again, “Dear children, it is very hard to enter the Kingdom of God. 25 In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”

26 The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked.

27 Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.”

28 Then Peter began to speak up. “We’ve given up everything to follow you,” he said.

29 “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, 30 will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life. 31 But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.”

耶穌出來行路的時候,有一個人跑來,跪在他面前,問他說:「良善的夫子,我當做什麼事才可以承受永生?」

Mar 10:18  耶穌對他說:「你為什麼稱我是良善的?除了神一位之外,再沒有良善的。

Mar 10:19  誡命你是曉得的:不可殺人;不可姦淫;不可偷盜;不可作假見證;不可虧負人;當孝敬父母。」

Mar 10:20  他對耶穌說:「夫子,這一切我從小都遵守了。」

Mar 10:21  耶穌看著他,就愛他,對他說:「你還缺少一件:去變賣你所有的,分給窮人,就必有財寶在天上;你還要來跟從我。」

Mar 10:22  他聽見這話,臉上就變了色,憂憂愁愁的走了,因為他的產業很多。

Mar 10:23  耶穌周圍一看,對門徒說:「有錢財的人進神的國是何等的難哪!」

Mar 10:24  門徒希奇他的話。耶穌又對他們說:「小子,倚靠錢財的人進神的國是何等的難哪!

Mar 10:25  駱駝穿過針的眼,比財主進神的國還容易呢。」

Mar 10:26  門徒就分外希奇,對他說:「這樣誰能得救呢?」

Mar 10:27  耶穌看著他們,說:「在人是不能,在神卻不然,因為神凡事都能。」

Mar 10:28  彼得就對他說:「看哪,我們已經撇下所有的跟從你了。」

Mar 10:29  耶穌說:「我實在告訴你們,人為我和福音撇下房屋,或是弟兄、姐妹、父母、兒女、田地,

Mar 10:30  沒有不在今世得百倍的,就是房屋、弟兄、姐妹、母親、兒女、田地,並且要受逼迫,在來世必得永生。

Mar 10:31  然而,有許多在前的,將要在後,在後的,將要在前。」

Slide – Mark 10:17, 20

In our reading from Mark today, Jesus encounters a wealthy man who wants to inherit eternal life. The man wants to know if he is doing enough and giving enough.

Slide – Mark 10:21

Jesus feels a genuine love for this man who is trying so hard, and this love leads Jesus to challenge the man. Jesus says to the man, no you are not giving enough – give everything and follow me.

Slide – Mark 10:22-25

The man becomes sad and feels that he cannot do this. And so Jesus goes on to explain how wealth makes it difficult, even impossible, to enter the Kingdom of God.

Slide – Mark 10:28-30

And Jesus assures His followers that they whatever they have given up to follow Him is worth it. They will be rewarded now and in eternity.

This passage should lead us all to wonder – how much should we be giving? How much should we give to those in need? How much should we give up in order to follow Jesus?

Slide — Bible: tithing and offerings

The deacons have asked the pastoral team to give some teaching on what the Bible says about giving tithes and offerings.   I hope to share today a little bit about what God asks of His people in regards to their finances, and how we can respond to God’s wishes in ways that bring honour to Him and that further His work in this world. Some of the powerpoint slides have extra Bible verse references on them. These references are on the note taking sheet for you to read through in your own time.

So first I want to ask – are you rich? Do you think you are wealthy?

Most of us here probably think we are not wealthy. We are just normal. See if we think that we are not wealthy, then  this passage in Mark does not apply to us because we are not rich, right? I want to challenge this assumption straight away. Let’s take a global perspective. It’s time for a reality check.

Slide – How Wealthy are you?

If you want to find out exactly how wealthy you are, you can go to this website, and it will tell you based on income, or based on your wealth, just how wealthy you are.

http://www.globalrichlist.com/

Who has a part time job? Well, if you are working just 10 hours a week at the miniumum wage, you are in the top 20% of the richest people in the world.

Slide – Part-time worker

So part-time workers, 80% of the world is poorer than you.

What about the pension? Who is on the pension? If you receive just over $13,000 per year you are in the top 15.76% of the richest people in the world.

Slide — Pensioner

So if if you are a pensioner, 84% of the world is poorer than you.

Ok, international students. We have some of those here, right? The Australian government recommends that you   need about $26,000 per year to live in Australia. And if that is you then you are in the top 5.11% richest people in the world.

Slide – International Student

So international students that means that 95% of the world is poorer than you.

Workers – your turn, An average Aussie working full-time and earning $43,000 per year is  in the top 1.32% of the richest people in the world.

Slide – Av. Full Time Worker

So if you are a full-time worker, then you are in the top 1%. Almost 99% of the world is poorer than you.

So the reality is = we are wealthy – all of us. When we compare ourselves to the world, we are definitely among the wealthiest in the world.

Slide – Mark 10:23-25

This means that what the Bible says about the rich, and the warning that it gives to those who are wealthy do apply to us. When Jesus says that it is hard for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God, He is speaking about us. It is hard for us to enter the Kingdom of God. Our wealth makes it difficult for us to follow Jesus.

So as God’s people it is our responsibility to understand what God wants us to do with our wealth, why He wants that, and how we can adjust ourselves to live as God wishes.

Slide – Take Notes

We encourage you to use your note-taking sheet so you can think more about this topic later. So first, let’s think about what the Bible says about tithing and offering. What is tithing and offering?

Slide — What is tithing?

Tithing means giving 10% of your income to the Lord. This is regular giving. Tithing is given to provide a living for those in ministry.

Slide – Nehemiah 18:20-21

We find tithing throughout the Bible. It is to provide  income for those who are full-time workers in ministry.

As the Lord explains in Num 18:20-21:

耶和華對亞倫說:「你在以色列人的境內不可有產業,在他們中間也不可有分。我就是你的分,是你的產業。」

Num 18:21  「凡以色列中出產的十分之一,我已賜給利未的子孫為業;因他們所辦的是會幕的事,所以賜給他們為酬他們的勞

20 And the Lord said to Aaron, “You priests will receive no allotment of land or share of property among the people of Israel. I am your share and your allotment. 21 As for the tribe of Levi, your relatives, I will compensate them for their service in the Tabernacle. Instead of an allotment of land, I will give them the tithes from the entire land of Israel.

And in the New Testament, Jesus says that God’s people should tithe.

Slide – Luke 11:42

In Luke 11:42, Jesus says we should tithe –

42 “What sorrow awaits you Pharisees! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore justice and the love of God. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.

你們法利賽人有禍了!因為你們將薄荷、芸香並各樣菜蔬獻上十分之一,那公義和愛神的事反倒不行了。這原是你們當行的;那也是不可不行的。

Notice that Jesus isn’t angry at the Pharisees for tithing. Rather he wants more from them than just their tithe. Jesus says – “You should tithe”. This suggests that as followers of Jesus, we should regularly be giving ten percent of our income to support those in ministry.

Slide – 1 Timonthy 5:17-18

As 1 Timothy 5:17-18 says,

那善於管理教會的長老,當以為配受加倍的敬奉;那勞苦傳道教導人的,更當如此。

因為經上說:「牛在場上踹穀的時候,不可籠住他的嘴」;又說:「工人得工價是應當的。」

17 Elders who do their work well should be respected and paid well, especially those who work hard at both preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, “You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain.” And in another place, “Those who work deserve their pay!”

God’s people need to be willing to pay those who preach and teach. And this is a very practical use of the tithe. If everyone gives 10 percent of their income, then the church can afford to hire a full-time worker for every 10 families in the congregation. This is what the tithe is – God’s people regularly giving ten percent of their income to support those who minister. Tithing allows the teaching of God’s Word in our community to continue.

Slide – Other Offerings

In addition to tithing, there are many other kinds of offerings mentioned in the Bible. There are many other offerings that are over and above the normal giving of a tithe. In addition to the normal sacrifices that God’s people offered, there were other funds collected throughout the year.

Slide – Some example of Offerings (1)

Here are just some examples of the kinds of offerings that were given in addition to the tithe.

God’s people regularly gave funds for building costs. These costs included the building of the temple, the repairing of the temple, and maintaining the temple. Even Jesus paid the temple tax. This was an annual tax collected from each family for the upkeep of the temple. We keep our homes clean and tidy, and so we should keep the church clean and tidy. We spend money to repair and maintain our homes, and so we should willingly give money to help repair, maintain, and build our church. So offerings for building costs are given in addition to the regular tithes and sacrifices. These kinds of offerings are like this church raising money for the chapel renovation, , or using money to pay the electricity bill or hiring a cleaner.

Slide – Some example of Offerings (2)

God’s people also regularly gave extra offerings to celebrate what God had done. So to give thanks, God’s people would give extra offerings. And during holidays and festivals, God’s people would give extra offerings to celebrate. We remember that the early church regularly shared meals with others with great joy and generosity. These kinds of offerings are like the church taking an extra collection on Thanksgiving or Christmas and bringing food to share at our celebrations.

Slide – Some example of Offerings (3)

Another example of offerings includes voluntary and special offerings. These were given by God’s people whenever there was a special need. Such offerings were given out of a generous heart. For example, the early church gave to help provide for those who travelled in order to preach the Gospel. So we are encouraged to support mission work today.

Slide – Some example of Offerings (4)

Throughout history, God’s people are known for their generosity to the poor. It has been a long part of the history of the people of God to look after the poor and needy. So there were regular offerings given to the poor. One example of this is that when farmers harvested a crop, they were always supposed to leave some of the crop around the outside edges. This is so the poor could come and gather something to eat. (Lev 19:10; 23:22; Deut 15:4-11; Matt 19:21;  Mark 10:21; Luke 3:10-11; 18:22; 19:8; Acts 2:44-47; 4:32-35; 1 Cor 16:1-4; 2 Cor 8-9; Rom 15:26; Gal 2:10). 不可摘盡葡萄園的果子,也不可拾取葡萄園所掉的果子;要留給窮人和寄居的

Jesus tells His followers to give to those in need. Jesus says to give half of what they have to the poor. So if someone has two coats, they should give one to someone who doesn’t have one. And in our reading from today, Jesus encourages the young man to give everything to the poor.

The early church was so generous that there were no needy people in the church anymore, and the church was then able to help the poor outside of the church, and even in other parts of the world. And so there were extra special collections taken up for the poor. Many churches today keep a food pantry to give to the poor, or collect funds to provide relief for those in need.

The Scriptures are clear that God’s people should be a giving people. God’s people should be regularly giving ten percent of their income to support those in ministry. God’s people should also be giving further offerings to support the place where they meet, to give thanks and celebrate what God has done, to support God’s work throughout the world, and to help those in need – especially the poor. The spirit of tithing and offering is that we need to be willing to give up anything and everything out of our love for God and others (Mark 10:28).

So this explains what tithing and offering is. But why should we give tithes and offerings?

There are many reasons given for this in the Scriptures, and we will look at three main reasons today.

Slide — Why should we give?

We should give tithes and offerings:

Because we love God and want to obey Him

So that wealth does not trap us

In order to invest in God’s Kingdom

We will look a bit deeper at each of these reasons.

Slide – We give because we love God

So first, we should give tithes and offerings because we love God and want to obey Him. Jesus makes it clear that we cannot love both God and money.  Let’s read together what Jesus says in Matthew 6:24.

Matthew 6:24 says, 24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. (also Luke 16:13)

「一個人不能事奉兩個主;不是惡這個,愛那個,就是重這個,輕那個。你們不能又事奉神,又事奉瑪門

We cannot serve both God and money. If we want to love God, then we cannot love money.

Slide – What is really in our hearts?

Our giving shows what is really in our hearts. If we love God, then our giving should demonstrate this. We can give because we trust God to provide for us. And we can trust in His ability to provide. Jesus promises that when we live to put the Kingdom of God above all else, when we live to put things right, then God will provide all we need.   We give our tithes and offerings to show our love and gratitude for how God cares for us. And we give our tithes and offerings to express our trust in God’s ability to continue to provide for us when we live to put things right.

Slide — So that wealth does not trap us

Another reason we give tithes and offerings is so that wealth does not trap us. Let’s read together 1 Timothy 6:9-10:

但那些想要發財的人,就陷在迷惑、落在網羅和許多無知有害的私慾裡,叫人沉在敗壞和滅亡中。

貪財是萬惡之根。有人貪戀錢財,就被引誘離了真道,用許多愁苦把自己刺透了。

1 Timothy 6:9-10  But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.

Wealth can trap us into loving it more than we care for others. It can trap us into selfishness. It can trap us into always wanting more. And that will lead us into greed and jealousy. We need to discipline ourselves to not love money.

Slide – Do not Love Money

There are many warnings to not love wealth in the Scriptures. Jesus warns His followers that wealth can crowd out the Gospel and make us unproductive in our faith. So if you are feeling like your faith isn’t growing, then increasing your tithes and offerings is probably a good idea. I think the warnings in the book of James are quite strong. James says that the wealth we accumulate will stand as evidence against us on judgment day. It is important for our souls and for this world that we do not fall into the trap of loving money.

Slide –Invest in God’s Kingdom

Finally, giving tithes and offerings provides us with a great investment opportunity – the opportunity to invest in God’s Kingdom. When we give tithes and offerings, we are investing in things that last forever, in things that have eternal value – in things like faith, hope, love, God’s Word, people spending eternity with God. God intends for us to have true life and to give life to others.

Let’s read together 1 Timothy 6:17-19 17 Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. 18 Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. 19 By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.

你要囑咐那些今世富足的人,不要自高,也不要倚靠無定的錢財;只要倚靠那厚賜百物給我們享受的神。

1Ti 6:18  又要囑咐他們行善,在好事上富足,甘心施捨,樂意供給(或作:體貼)人,

1Ti 6:19  為自己積成美好的根基,預備將來,叫他們持定那真正的生命。

We give tithes and offerings so that we can invest in things that make a real difference in this life. We give so that people are able to hear the Gospel, work to bring justice and equality, see the hope that is in Christ, be encouraged and strengthened in their faith, and show God’s love. These are things that have value not just in this life, but for all eternity.

Slide – Blessed for an Eternal Purpose

Whatever God gives us is for a reason. And God blesses us so that we can bless others. God provides for us so that we can also provide for others. God meets our needs so that we can help those in need. So we give tithes and offerings in order to invest in eternity. We give because we put our hope in God’s eternal purposes.

Slide — How should we give?

So how should we give tithes and offerings? It is not enough just to give. How we give is important too. Let’s read together 2 Corinthians 8:12-13.

2 Corinthians 8:12-13 12 Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have. 13 Of course, I don’t mean your giving should make life easy for others and hard for yourselves. I only mean that there should be some equality. 因為人若有願做的心,必蒙悅納,乃是照他所有的,並不是照他所無的。

2Co 8:13  我原不是要別人輕省,你們受累,

2Co 8:14  乃要均平,

My dad always says that giving isn’t giving until it hurts. And there is certainly some value in that attitude. We should give generously and sacrificially.

Slide – Generously, Lovingly, Willingly

But it is important to note that we must give in proportion to what we have.   Rather, we give to create equality and set things right. It is just not right that some people have to go without food or clean water while others dine in expensive restaurants. I’m sure that if you’ve travelled you feel something of the injustice of the world. We’ve certainly felt this in Indonesia. We had some Papuan friends who received a scholarship to study in the capital Jakarta, and we went to visit them. We went to a shopping center together – a huge and opulent shopping center. And our friend Sebe could not get his head around the fact that a pair of sunglasses was worth more than his entire village earned in a month – and there were rows and rows of sunglasses for sale. The point isn’t that sunglasses are wrong. The problem is the inequality within the country that is being tolerated. How can people be willing to spend so much on a pair of sunglasses when many villages still don’t have running water? How can beggars be in rags just a couple of blocks away from the shopping center? The problem is the inequality. Our giving should be generous in order to create equality.

It is very important that in our giving, we do not neglect the more important things that God asks us to do. Love should be our highest goal. If we give away everything, but we do not have love in our hearts as we do so, then such giving is empty. Giving should be generous and loving. And giving should be out of our willingness to give. We should give willingly and cheerfully.

So how much should we give? In our reading today, Jesus asks the wealthy man to give up everything. And certainly it is possible that Jesus might ask you to do the same. But He may not be asking you to give up everything. Certainly there is a principle that God’s people should be giving a minimum of ten percent – this is their tithe. And in addition to our tithes, we should be supporting offerings to maintain our meeting place, to look after the poor, to support mission, and to celebrate all that God has done. But how much should we give?

If you are not already tithing, I want to recommend that as a starting place. Many Christians find that if they have their tithe automatically deposited into their church account, they do not even miss the money. So start by giving ten percent. This is our duty.

Beyond our tithes, we need to be thinking about giving offerings above and beyond the ten percent. I suggest that you set a reasonable limit to what you and your family need to live off of. This should be a limit that is average, not an amount that is luxurious. It is okay to include some savings in the amount. And then determine in your heart that whatever else you earn above that average amount, you will give away as an offering to the Lord. You could support a missionary, sponsor a child, give more to the church – of course there are many good causes that are included in God’s Kingdom work.

So how much should we give? We should give whatever we can give generously, lovingly, cheerfully, willingly. We should give as much as we feel Jesus asking us to give, trusting Him and following Him. May God graciously provide all we need as we invest in His Kingdom. Amen.

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