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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood

 

More Than a Tithe

May 12, 2013

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything — all she had to live on.” (Mark 12:43,44, NIV)

At the end of a long day of difficult dialogue in the temple courts on the Tuesday before His death, Jesus does one last thing before He leaves the premises. He watches as people place their offerings into the temple coffers. What strikes His eye is a poor widow who gave her all.

Today, an enormous amount of money is given by well-intentioned and deeply sincere people to ministries that are unproductive for the King and His kingdom. Instead of giving to reputable missionary, educational and compassion organizations, they pour their limited funds into organizations in which the leaders lavish on themselves the offerings of the faithful.

To every poor widow, to every devout but gullible believer who contributes to such ministries, I want to shout, “STOP! This money could be better used!” (And, indeed, contributors do have a responsibility to assess the credibility of the ministries they give to.)

In this Gospel account of the poor widow who dropped two small coins into the temple treasury, I would expect Jesus to draw the disciples aside and say to them, “You know how corrupt the temple establishment is. I am charging you to tell others not to do what this devout woman has done. Warn people of the dangers of supporting a religious racket.”

But Jesus does not do that. He does not focus on the corruption in the system. Instead, He lasered in on the piety of the poor widow. While others gave large amounts and used their financial act of contribution to draw attention to their piety, Jesus notes this woman gave sincerely. He does not indict her for giving to a corrupt ministry. He lauds her devotion. He will hold the ministry itself responsible for how it handles the gifts of devout people who make such great sacrifices.

Every once in a while I receive a letter or an essay arguing that tithing is Old Testament and doesn’t apply to believers today. My standard answer is that if persons tithed under the Law (which was unable to save), how much more should we give under grace! Rather than seeing 10 percent as belonging to the Lord, and 90 percent to us, the Christian view is that everything is the Lord’s and we seek to bless His name and His kingdom with as much as we possibly can, but with no less than the Old Testament minimum of 10 percent.

Without a doubt, if all Christians tithed there would be no lack in the ministries of the local and global church.

As I read Jesus commendation of this woman, I ask myself, “What does the Lord think when He watches what I put in the offering? Is He able to commend me as He did this poor widow? Am I truly giving from the heart; not for show, but because I love Him?”

Can anyone say of you or me what the apostle Paul said of the Macedonians, that they gave not only as they were able, but beyond their ability — and that in their own impoverishment, generosity welled up with overflowing joy (2 Corinthians 8:1-4)?

A prayer of response
Lord Jesus, help me to never be cautious when it comes to giving. Let me joyfully share what I have to honor You, Your cause, and to help Your people.

DR. GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

 

On Your Mark

Previous Years


2013 On Your Mark

2012 On Your Mark

2011 On Your Mark

2010 On Your Mark

2009 On Your Mark

2008 On Your Mark


Podcasts of On Your Mark are available in video and audio.
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