New Testament principles regarding
the use of money (including tithes)
By Gary A. Williams
Several years ago we were attending a “seeker” church whose pastor constantly mentioned tithing in his sermons. One day I contacted him and said I had questions about what he was teaching; that I understood some scriptures about giving a little differently than he did. I asked if he would meet with me and discuss my questions. He refused, without explanation, telling me to keep listening to his sermons.
His response was both surprising and frustrating. It was also the encouragement I needed to do a very thorough year-long study of what the Scriptures say about tithing and the use of money. The result is the paper you can read by clicking on the link below.
When I was done writing it, I sent it to a number of friends to critique, including long-time pastors with doctorates and a couple of seminary professors. After incorporating their excellent feedback, I then sent the paper to the reluctant pastor with a friendly cover letter. That led to the long-sought face to face meeting. As a result, I think both he and I learned from the experience.
I hope you also will find this information helpful as you seek to use your personal resources in ways that are pleasing to our Heavenly Father.
Click here for a pdf file:The Intersection Between Faith and Finances
By Raelene Williams, for House of Providence Lenten Series, Vancouver, Washington, March 17, 2015
Scripture: John 19:19-22
Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”
There are many languages spoken in the daily culture of our world. We are the living translations of the message that Jesus is “The King of the Jews and King of our Lives.” How do we live in a way that can be understood by the Aramaic, Latin and Greek speakers in our families, neighborhoods and workplace.
We need to learn a language that to begin with is very foreign. It is only through reading, reflecting and interacting with other language students that we can learn all the nuances of the language of God’s word. We also have to become bilingual and spend time learning the languages of others so we can easily translate the lessons that God is teaching us.
As we become living translations, God is able to find many ways to say of our lives,
“What I have written I have written.”
God as I grow to learn your language of love for people of all languages,
help me to be aware and act on the opportunities you place in my daily life to translate for you.
Take time to reflect on the people in your life that could use a word of encouragement and reach out in a practical way to translate the message of God’s love for one of them.
By Raelene Williams for House of Providence, Vancouver, Washington
March 10, 2015
Scripture: John 19:4-6
And Pilate came out again, and said to them, see, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him. So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, Behold, the man! When the chief priests and the officers saw Him, they cried out, Crucify him, crucify him! Pilate said to them, Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.
The last question Pilate asked Jesus is “what is truth?” Did Pilate understand the truth that Jesus shared with him? If he did, shouldn’t he have done more to save Jesus, the man, from what we know is to come? If Pilate had released Jesus, the events over the next hours and days would have been very different. Consider an answer to these questions – How does God weave the actions of people who are not aware of his truth into the fabric of a believer’s life? As a Christ follower, how do you know when and how to take action when it’s hard to see the outcome as being within the truth of God? What does it look like to be used of God in our everyday circumstances and trust God to control the outcome which may be very different than we expect? In “My Utmost For His Highest” Oswald Chambers guides us to a few conclusions – “If you are going to be used by God, He will take you through a multitude of experiences that are not meant for you at all, they are meant to make you useful in His hands, and to enable you to understand what transpires in other souls so that you will never be surprised at what you come across. Are we partakers of Christ’s sufferings? Are we prepared for God to stamp our personal ambitions right out? Are we prepared for God to destroy by transfiguration our individual determinations? We never realize at the time what God is putting us through; we go through it more or less misunderstandingly; then we come to a luminous place, and say-“Why, God has girded me, though I did not know it!”
Lord, as I travel through the daily activities of life,
help me to hear your still small voice when you speak to me through strangers, family or friends.
Help me to listen to your spirit as you guide me so that it will not be my will but yours that is in control.
Record some of the people and experiences God has placed in your life in unexpected ways. Spend a few minutes talking to Him about these “girded” times.