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Friday, January 11, 2013

There are More Important Things than Tithing

Today's Reading:
  • Luke 11:37 - 12:7
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Luke 11:37 - 12:7
Jesus had dinner with one of the Pharisees.  There he preached the Pharisees and to the scholars of religious law.  Verse 11:42 caught my attention:
"What sorrow awaits you Pharisees!  For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore justice and the love of God.  You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things."
I thought it was interesting that there are more important things that tithing.  Not that tithing isn't important -- Jesus says that it is.  But what is more important to the Lord is that we are right with him; that we recognize his justice and his ways of doing things -- not our own.  The Pharisees were giving money faithfully, but still Jesus was angry because their "insides" were not clean (11:40).  That just goes to show that it doesn't matter how much money you tithe if your heart is not in the right place.

Later Jesus preached to the crowd.  Verses 12:4 - 5 really caught my attention:
"Dear friends, don't be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot do any more to you after that.  But I'll tell you whom to fear.  Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell.  Yes, he's the one to fear."
 That's a very powerful statement.  First of all, suppose the absolute worse happens to us, and we are murdered by someone.  We are told not to fear, because that is the worst that person can do.  That's completely contrary to human nature to not fear that someone might kill us, right? 

Jesus tells us not to worry about.  Instead, we should be afraid of the wrath of the Lord -- of being given an eternal punishment of hell.  That would be far worse than someone killing your body on earth.  As scary as that statement is -- and we do need to fear the Lord -- but as scary as that is, it comes with an unspoken promise.  Eternal life.  Someone might kill our body, and if that happens then at least we have an eternal life.  And this eternal life will be so great that we should not even concern ourselves with the loss of this life.  The thought of that is truly amazing!

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