This brings us back to the question I asked before -- what does it mean to lay up treasure in Heaven?
When I went looking for Bible verses on the subject of riches, one day I googled "audio of verses on possessions". (Just a little fyi: I'm not actually some great Bible scholar. I use Google. A lot.) As I listened, one central theme soon began standing out to me --- Give.
Give, Give, Give.
Over and over the Bible instructs us to give --
"Sell all that you have and give to the poor..." Lk 18:22-26
"As for the rich.....be generous and ready to share..." I Tim 6:17-19
"But if anyone has this world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?" I John 3:17
"Sell your possessions, and give to the needy..." Lk 12:33-34
If it is true that we should invest in people because they will last into eternity, does it not make sense that giving is one of the biggest ways to lay up treasure in Heaven? Would it also make sense that, if we live our lives with a focus on giving, we would not get tangled up in the temptations and snares of desiring to be rich? Might it also make sense, if our lives became about giving, that we would end up living more simply, do you think?
So, what am I talking about here - tithe?
No. I'm not, actually. When Jesus said, "store up treasure in Heaven," somehow I don't think He was talking about giving the obligatory 10 percent. I'm not even sure He wants my tithe, to be honest. Giving 10 percent of our income may not be wrong but I don't think it's what Jesus was talking about in the New Testament. When He spoke of generous, sacrificial, willing, cheerful giving, I think He was talking about living with our ear pressed to the Spirit and giving as He prompts us to give.
Here's another long quote from the book Falling Free....
"We've tied the Old Testament idea of tithing like a noose around the gospel commandment to give sacrificially. We applaud the widow and her two coins (Mark 12:41-44) with secret relief that we're not her. There's plenty left over after we shave off our Christian surcharge and toss it in the plate. I don't know what made me believe I'm not her. I'm not sure how I convinced myself our situations were so different. She gave all she had. She lived as though it wasn't hers in the first place and forked it over without a blink. Meanwhile, we split hairs over whether our tithe should be off our net or gross income. We haggle with God and walk away believing we've earned our blessing until the next payday.
Honestly, it's alarming.
When we believe we're entitled to keep 90 percent of whatever we earn, our capacity to truly care about the kingdom of God and his people -- our neighbors -- is kept at bay. It's stunted. To our own detriment." ---Shannan Martin