-The real purpose-
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices — mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law — justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. Matthew 23:23
“The Pharisees are so scrupulous about attending to this requirement that they measure out and pay a tithe on the smallest of garden crops — such as the herbs, mind, dill, and cumin… These Jewish leaders have lost sight that the real purpose of their responsibilities to God is to bring about righteousness in this world, not simply to perpetuate religious activity and burdens.”
Michael J. Wilkins in The NIV Application Commentary: Matthew (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004) 753.
In the fourth of the seven woes proclaimed to the religious leaders on Passion Week Tuesday, we see Jesus speak of the tithe. Look carefully! He is not instructing disciples; He is condemning the religious leaders for missing the point that the practice was to shape them into people of justice, mercy and faithfulness. How should this woe shape our generosity?
I would argue with Wilkins that anyone who pushes the tithe with these leaders has “lost sight of the real purpose” of the teaching, which aimed at transforming people into agents of justice, mercy and faithfulness. What should we do? We must stop focusing on how much of our money we give to God because none of it is our money! Instead, we must consider how much of God’s money we need to keep for ourselves and put the rest to work for Him. That’s what faithful stewards do!
I got home safely last night from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and am flying to Cleveland, Ohio, today with our son, Sammy, to see some relatives and help my parents do some packing before they move to Lake Wales, Florida, to live near my brother and his wife.
kurios M firstname.lastname@example.org
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