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Hebrews 7:4-10 – NT

05.17.2011

Matt 23:23 | Luke 11:42

I like this multiple verse deal because it means I no longer have to obsess between two nearly identical passages, as would have been the case this morning.  The three takeaways for our discussion this week on tithing, Levites, Pharisees, and Mel are as such:

  1. Despite the angst and taboo and guilt, tithing is easy.  It is a small act meant to symbolize a great deal of trust.  From the way the Pharisees and much of the modern church* talks about it, you’d think it was Commandment VIII-a or something that Moses brought down from Sinai.  If you tithe, don’t congratulate yourself for it.  If you don’t, don’t beat yourself up for it, but do take the opportunity to address the underlying issues of faith and trust that this indicates.
  2. Hand in hand with that is the reminder that tithing is the least of what God commands of us.  It is symbolic, as I said, of trusting in God, and that trust forms the foundation for a life in obedience to the greatest commandment: love God and love others.  This trust of tithing thus represents a recognition that all we have belongs to God in the first place, which undermines selfishness.  It additionally shifts our focus from ‘looking after number one,’ and frees us from the slavery of self-preservation in order to more freely love and minister to our neighbors.
  3. Lastly, the version of the ‘woe’ in Luke is telling about the Pharisees’ hearts.  Not only do they pride themselves on their tithing while neglecting the more important things that an attitude of tithing is supposed to prompt (love, justice, mercy, faith), but they also curse God for everything they give him!  They reveal that they tithe not with their hearts, but only their pride, and that they cannot envision the tithe as anything other than giving up what is rightfully theirs in a painful display of obedient righteousness.

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* Yikes!  There’s a grouping that’s bound to ruffle some feathers.

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