Many Christians believe that by acknowledging the obligation of the Jews to tithe here Jesus is teaching that tithing is also obligatory for New Testament Christians. It should be noted though that Jesus is not talking to New Testament Christians here, but to the scribes and Pharisees, who were subject to the Old Testament law. A great many Christians believe that tithing is purely an Old Testament concept and does not translate to New Testament giving. They believe that under the new covenant the supreme law of love has been substituted for Old Testament tithing and that New Testament giving is centred entirely around stewardship ? the giving of ourselves completely to the work of God, which includes our time, our finances, and our material possessions. They believe that we are to give voluntarily, spontaneously and freely, not from a sense of obligation, nor with an intent to merit God's blessings. God has given wonderfully to us and is deserving of all that we might be moved to give Him. Many of these Christians use the tithe as the minimum standard by which they measure their giving to the Lord, but they do not accept that the tithe is required by scripture. They do not agree that scriptures teach that the tithe Abraham paid to Melchizedec established a precedent for tithing that New Testament Christians must follow. Rather they believe that Abraham's tithe had special symbolic implications related to establishing Christ's eternal priesthood. They believe this is borne out by the writer of Hebrews when he contrasts Christ's eternal priesthood with the temporary Levitical priesthood (CP Ge 14:5?20 with He 6:17?9:17).
Whether or not we agree with that is beside the point here, suffice it to say that at the heart of all giving is the acknowledgement that God is the creator, the owner and the giver of all things, and what we give back to God is only a part of what He has given to us in the first place (CP Ge 1:1; Ex 19:5; 1Chr 29:10?16; Psa 24:1?2; 50:10?12; Hag 2:8; Jn 1:1 ?3; Jas 1:17). Everything we have belongs to the Lord. No one has anything that they had not first received from God (CP De 8:7?20; Job 1:21; Jn 3:27; 1Cor 4:7; 2Pe 1:3). (Concerning Job 1:21 we must remember that Job did not have a complete revelation of God when he said "... and the Lord hath taken away." Job did not know that it was not God but the devil afflicting him. He knew God gave him all he had and so he believed it was God also who took it away. But we know better - we have the book of Job to teach us, yet Job's misconception of God has been perpetuated in Christendom ever since. Let us not perpetuate it any further.) To sum up here, our stewardship is a valid test of our relationship with God (CP Mt 25:14?30; Lu 19:11-27). These parables warn us that our place and our service in heaven will depend on the faithfulness of our lives and stewardship here on earth. A talent represents our abilities, time, resources and opportunities to serve God while on earth. A pound represents God's word that has been given to us. These things are considered by God as a trust that we are to administer on His behalf in the wisest possible way. We will all have to give an account of our stewardship to the Lord in due course and every work we do in the meantime will be brought into judgement (CP Ecc 12:13? 14; Mt 5:20; Lu 16:1 ?2; Ro 14:12; 1Cor 4:1?2). Christian giving should always be characterised by what Paul says in 2Cor 9:7, "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver." (CP 2Cor 8:12 and 9:7). See also comments on 2Cor 8:1-7, 9:6, Ga 6:7-8 and He 7:1-10.
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