I have been looking through the book of Mark a lot lately. As we walk through Mark at Abide, we are going to be hitting on some tough topics. I thought it might be good for you to here how we are planning on approaching them at Abide. Here is the first of three!
1. Money- In Mark there are a few places that mention how people in the Kingdom of God should view and use money. Take this story for instance in Mark 10:17-31
As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”
“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”
“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.
Are we as believers, really ready to give away our possessions to follow Christ? Isn’t America on of the wealthiest countries in the world right now? Does that mean we will have a hard time entering the Kingdom of God? There are so many questions that this scripture can lead too. here is one that I struggle with:
Is tithing a commandment? Am I really expected to give at least 10% of what I earn?
Look at this passage from Malachi 3:6-10
“For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need…”
Look at What Jesus says in Luke 11:42
“But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others
In the Mark Passage Jesus seems to have the expectation that money is a distraction that keeps people from him. In Malachi God seems very upset that people are not giving a tithe. In Luke Jesus tells the pharisees that the care about the justice and love of God as well as tithe.
There are over 200 verses in Scripture about money.
Why are we so scared to talk about it if God isn’t?
In Acts it says that first church sold all of their possessions and had everything in common.
What has happened?
Maybe part of the problem is that we have forgotten a few other commandments along the way.
You shall have no other Gods before me- Exodus 20:3
Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God that he has given you. -Deut. 16:17
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it- Proverbs 3:27
Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse.- Proverbs 28:27
Jelayne and I, at the beginning of this year, sat down together and decided that there is more than enough scripture about giving God at least 10 percent. We also decided that there was more than enough scripture about the dangers of making money more important than God. We decided to give a full tithe and to sit down again next January and figure out how to grow into giving more than the minimum of 10 percent.
I tell you this not to brag or guilt people. I tell you this becuase if you believe in Scritpture as the Word of God, you can’t ignore this topic. After Jelayne and I spent some time reading and thinking about these scriptures we couldn’t continue to only give halfheartedly or when it was convenient for us. I challenge you to go to this website www.christianpf.com (I found this site with a Google search, I don’t know much about the site itself, but I did check several of the scriptures and they all were correct.) Read these passages and act on them. For some of you it may mean starting to tithe for the first time. For others it might mean giving more than a tithe. Set the precedent for giving to God, in your family.
You might also be surprised to read in some of the passages about why God ask us to give back to Him.
But that is another, maybe much longer subject for later.
Leave some comments to start a conversation about money, giving and tithe as well as what our other 2 scary topics might be!