Tag Archives: Tithing

How To Become A Lukewarm Christian

“I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:15-16 (ESV)

Steamy water cools off. Icy water warms up. Likewise, it is the natural tendency of men and women who are serious for Christ…to become lukewarm. So, in actuality, you don’t need to do anything to become lukewarm; nevertheless, here are some things you can do to get there faster…

  • Pray very little. If someone asks about your prayer life, tell them you pray “on the run.” In other words, be careful not to follow the practice of the Lord Jesus who regularly set aside special time for prayer, often going away from the crowds to be with His Father (Luke 5:16; Luke 9:28; Mark 1:35).
  • Avoid the Bible. Explain to people that you’re not a reader. But you do listen to sermons…occasionally, and on that note…
  • Be irregular in your church attendance. A couple was asked by their children why the family didn’t go to church more. “That’s not how we do it in our family,” Mom and Dad replied, as if moderation in church attendance was a principle to be proud of. Hmmm. Well, here’s a rule of thumb – God is sovereign, and while there is nothing we can do to absolutely guarantee that our kids will follow Christ, we can do a lot to make them not follow Him. One of the best ways to do this is to communicate that Christ is of mediocre importance. Kids who grow up assuming that church is a take-it-or-leave-it proposition…will often leave it.
  • Store up treasure on earth. Not in the other place. Some years ago I heard of a family that gave up tithing “because our kids need designer clothes to keep up with the Joneses at school”. The saying is true, however, that everyone tithes, but not everyone tithes to the One True God. Many pay tithes to idols. And anyway, that widow with the two mites was irresponsible (Luke 21:1-4). And while we’re at it…
  • Ignore the poor. Social Justice is for liberals. You wouldn’t want to be one of those. Best to help your own family and keep it to that.
  • Keep your mouth shut about Jesus at work and in the neighborhood. You don’t want people to think that you’re one of those fanatics who believes that eternity is actually on the line. Leave evangelism to the evangelists. Besides, it’s not your gift.
  • Forget the gospel. Get annoyed at all those “gospel-centered” Christians, and tell them that you’ve got the cross thing figured out and want to get to the deeper stuff. This is the best way to get lukewarm. For none of us can be hot or cold enough (yes, including those who write snarky blogs). You see, everyone needs Jesus. And all of us are in danger – everyday – of forgetting it.

For Monday, December 7th: Revelation 4

Leave a comment

Posted by on December 4, 2015 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Give And It Will Be Given Unto You

If you give money to the Lord, do you get money back from Him? I think there is biblical evidence for the idea, but that said, giving is certainly not God’s plan for his children to “get rich”. Here’s a better way to put it: giving financially is the way to have enough so that you can continue to give to others. And therefore, if you’re not a generous giver, you are missing out. Please read on…

When you want to learn about giving in the Bible, one of the key places you turn to is 2 Corinthians chapters 8 and 9. Here Paul is instructing the Corinthians about putting together an offering for the famished saints in Jerusalem, and he has a lot to say about the whole subject of generosity and giving.

One of the most interesting parts of his teaching is when the Apostle calls our gifts a “seed” which if planted will yield, well, more seed. That makes sense, right? It’s undoubtedly the reason he uses that terminology. It’s the old chestnut – “it’s not how many seeds are in an apple, but how many apples are in a seed.”

Now, when I use that word “seed”, I just picture those TV preachers saying, “Send in your ‘seed gift’ of $100 and watch God multiply it to $1,000.” Yuck. From what I’ve heard, that kind of teaching is devastating the church in Africa, where impoverished people are sending in all they have and watching fat cat charlatans fly away with their money on a private jet. So that’s not what I’m saying. But who cares what I say anyway, the question is always, what does God say? Look here:

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 (ESV)

Many of us are familiar with these verses, where Paul compares giving to planting on a farm. So, if you plant corn, you get corn. OK, got that. But look how he goes on to explain it…

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8 (ESV)

Alright, we’re getting the idea, but it’s still not exactly clear. However, it does seem like he is saying that if you give generously to others, God will “make grace abound to you” so that you will have “all sufficiency” to “abound in every good work.”  It sounds like personal generosity will lead the Lord to provide you with enough to give to others, but then Paul spells it out…

As it is written, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 2 Corinthians 9:9-11 (ESV)

Those last couple of verses sure seem as clear as day – God enriches givers so that they can continue to be generous in every way. He multiplies their seed not so they get rich, but so that they can continue sowing!

This isn’t about building multiple McMansions and buying 3 or 4 expensive cars so you can show off that you’re “a child of the King.” No, no, no. This is God in the process of blessing his children who give so that they can continue to participate in the joy and adventure of giving.

So give! Sow generously so you will reap generously…so you can keep sowing generously. For Jesus Himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35) What a blessing that our Heavenly Father wants to bless us…by enabling us to bless others.

For Tuesday, June 9: 2 Corinthians 10

1 Comment

Posted by on June 8, 2015 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , ,

A Sacrifice…That Costs Me Nothing?

It happened toward the end of King David’s reign that he sinned against the Lord and needed to make a sacrifice. Gad the prophet came to the repentant King and told him exactly where to do this – at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. And as David approached him, Araunah went to meet the King and pay homage to him…

And Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?”

David said, “To buy the threshing floor from you, in order to build an altar to the LORD, that the plague may be averted from the people.” 2 Samuel 24:21 (ESV)

And Araunah said what most of us would have probably said – you’re the king, take whatever you need:

Then Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take and offer up what seems good to him. Here are the oxen for the burnt offering and the threshing sledges and the yokes of the oxen for the wood. All this, O king, Araunah gives to the king.”

And Araunah said to the king, “May the LORD your God accept you.” 2 Samuel 24:22-23 (ESV)

David had a sacrifice to make, and Araunah was offering to give him whatever he needed to do it, and yet, David knew in his heart that something was not right about this arrangement. After all, they don’t call it a sacrifice for nothing:

But the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God that cost me nothing.”

So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. And David built there an altar to the LORD and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD responded to the plea for the land, and the plague was averted from Israel. 2 Samuel 24:24-25 (ESV)

David knew what all of us know: there is something about a sacrifice, you see, that should be…sacrificial. We know this in our hearts. The widow of Mark 12 certainly did…

And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny.

And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” Mark 12:41-44 (ESV)

The rich people put in far more than the poor widow, but the difference was that they gave a “sacrifice” that cost them…nothing. It came from their abundance. In other words, they weren’t going to miss it. In contrast, she put in everything…all she had to live on.  And her sacrifice pleased the Lord. And when you step back to consider things from God’s perspective, it all makes sense.  It’s not as if He needs our money, or our cattle or threshing floors. For the Psalmist said that He “owns the cattle on a thousand hills.” (Psalm 50:10) But the Lord would surely agree with His apostle:

Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. Philippians 4:17 (ESV)

I don’t pretend to understand it all, but as she gave so sacrificially, more than bringing blessing to others, she was able to bring blessing to herself, as Paul said, “the fruit that increases to your credit.”  But it begs the question…why? What led her to give so sacrificially? Now Jesus doesn’t address the question of motivation in this story, but Scripture leads us to a definite understanding of why someone would make such a costly sacrifice: such gracious giving is ultimately not about currying favor with God, nor even largely about increasing favor to my credit…but about love. Undoubtedly, the widow gave sacrificially because she loved deeply.

Love is, after all, what brought about the most costly sacrifice ever:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16 (ESV)


Tomorrow, Wednesday, April 29: Mark 13


Posted by on April 28, 2015 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , , ,

Why is Money the Great Competitor for our Hearts?

You’ve got to hand it to Demetrius – when the silversmith in Ephesus wanted to get some people with him to oppose Paul and his message, he knew just what to say:

“Men, you know from this business we have our wealth.” Acts 19:25 (ESV)

Oh, Demetrius would go on to say that the goddess Artemis was great and should not be deposed from her throne and blah, blah, blah. But he had them when he brought up their wallets. If this Jesus would continue to be preached, their lucrative business of making silver shrines was going to go up in smoke, and thus, before you know it a riot had broken out.

And it all started with concern for cash.

It’s an instructive scene when it is compared to the story right before it – new believers had come together bringing their books of magic arts and burning them up before everyone. And someone, watching this happen, made a fast calculation: “We are burning up books worth a total of 50,000 silver pieces!” Incredible.

There is an important lesson to all this – one of the indistinguishable marks of a Christ-follower is that he or she thinks of money differently and handles it differently than non-believers. Jesus told us it would be this way…

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. Matthew 6:24 (ESV)

Why is it that I cannot serve two masters? Because when it comes down to it, I will always look to my “Master” for two things: security, and significance. And if I find these things in money, I won’t look for them in Christ.

The man who finds security in money will prize a big bank account, forsaking God and His Kingdom to get it. The woman who finds significance in possessions will want the latest clothes and the nicest car and the finest house so that others will know just “who” she is. What about the church and kingdom causes? Eh, he or she would say, “Let’s not be legalistic.”

And the end result is that Christ is forsaken.

But when we see that we have all the significance we need in Him – after all, He has loved us so much that He sent His Son to die in our place – then money loses its hold. And when we realize that we have complete security in Him – in this life and in eternity – then we will want to serve Him, not money, with all our hearts.

So, how do you win this battle to serve God, not money? The first and most important way is to become a Christian.  The view of everything in your life will change when you are in Christ.  His love and His promises will transform where you look for significance and security. “Book burning” follows naturally. But after this, remember that true Christians are still tempted to find significance and security in money.  At least I am.  And one of the time-honored, Scripture-tested ways of continuing to serve God not money is by intentionally serving Him with your money…by being generous toward others and toward His Kingdom.


On Monday, March 9: Acts 20

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 6, 2015 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: