Condemning Others For Rewriting Scripture?: How We Rewrite Scripture Ourselves When It Comes To Money

Posted: May 4, 2015 in 42-Gospel of Luke
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Luke 21:1-4 — Jesus tells it like it is when He is Jerusalem. He pulls no punches. And today’s passage is no different. Jesus has left the inner court of the temple and is now in the Court of the Women. In this area, there were 7 boxes for the worshipers to deposit their temple tax and there were also 6 boxes for free will offerings, like the one the widow gave. It is interesting don’t you think, that just before leaving the temple the last time during our Lord’s time on the earth in the flesh that he chose to be here and teach about giving to the Lord.

Would it not be interesting at our church, where the ushers do not come to us but we bring our offerings down to the front of the sanctuary, if our senior pastor was standing there by the offering baskets and watched each one of us bring our offerings. Would it make a difference? Some might be shocked by this. Some might be angered by this. Some might be shamed by this. My senior pastor would not, of course, do it does point out that Our Lord sees the priority each of pays to giving to the Lord. Jesus says in this passage,

“I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than the rest of them. For they have given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.”

Speaking in culinary terms, “leftovers” brings to mind food that was not chosen at the meal at which it was originally served. It was the food thought to be good enough for a snack or a smaller meal at a later time. It was not the choice meat. It was not the choice vegetable. When one mentions to his/her family that they will be served leftovers at their next meal, it generally brings a lackadaisical response and not closely comparable to the response elicited by a freshly cooked meal. Aren’t we the same though when it comes to honoring God with our finances. We give God our leftovers. He does not get the choice meat of our finances. He gets the picked over. He get the last of the meat. He gets the crusty edges of our macaroni and cheese. He gets the tough meat that is good enough for the leftover snack but not the main meal. He gets the dregs at the bottom of our coffee pot. He gets the last when He should get the first. In this passage, Jesus honors the widow who gives all she has and trusts the Lord to provide for her needs. He chastises the wealthy who give a small part of their fortune that is of no real sacrifice for them. Are we the widow or are we the wealthy in this scene? There are several points to be made here. First, it is funny how we condemn the same sex marriage crowd for rewriting the gospel but do we not do the same when it comes to finances. Second, what is the most real way that we can honor and show our trust in God daily other than with the way that we manage money. Third, and finally, it is through our finances that we get to participate in God’s ministry.

The first thing that I want to take about is rewriting Scripture. We are shocked and saddened by the current state of affairs in our nation where same sex marriage is now legal in 37 states. We are shocked and saddened that there is actually a case being considered by the Supreme Court of our nation about this very issue. We complain that gay marriage is in complete opposition to the Bible. We say that gays are simply rewriting or ignoring Scripture because it is plain as day in the Bible that homosexuality is considered a sin and that it is simply not scriptural for person of the same sex to be married to one another. On this point, I certainly agree with you. However, homosexuality is no more an abomination to God than how we treat Scripture when it comes to our finances. We sin easily and with impunity when it comes to honoring God with our finances. Let us consider the speck and the log. Jesus said earlier in our study of the gospel of Luke, at Luke 6:42, “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.” Are we not rewriting Scripture or ignoring when we do not honor God with our finances. It is clear from Scripture that we are to give God the first fruits of our crops, our labors, our money. Yet we ignore this. We rewrite Scripture and say that we are no longer under the Old Testament regulations. We say we are to give not under compulsion but to freely give. We say it is a matter of the heat. But yet at the same time, we throw up Deuteronomy to the same sex marriage folks when we are searching for ammunition against their lifestyle.

We forget the book of Malachi. God says, through Malachi, that the people are robbing him (3:8a). The shocked question on behalf of the Israelite nation is “How have we robbed you? (3:8b).” Malachi puts it simply, “In your tithes and contributions (3:8c).” Malachi says, using the robber motif, that the people have been, in effect, stealing from God. As a consequence, the Lord has withheld blessing. Their covenant faithfulness is lacking in comparison to God’s faithfulness. They again were picking and choosing which covenant stipulations to observe. They had withheld their tithes or at least the full extent of them that the Law commanded them to bring to God (Leviticus 27:30, Deuteronomy 12:5-18, Deuteronomy 14:22-29, Numbers 18:21-32). This rebuke is not something isolated to a few individuals. It is a national rebuke when the Scripture says, “the whole nation of you (3:9c).” Was it not Jesus who Himself said in Matthew 5:17 that “I have not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets but to fulfill them.” Jesus came to free us from the death penalty that we owe under the law but He did not do away with the God honoring and God’s morality parts of the law. We are to honor God with our finances. We are commanded to give a tenth of our income. Paul, as great a Jewish biblical scholar as there ever was, did not see doing away with the tithe when he said in 2 Corinthians 9:7 that we should not give under compulsion and that we should give what our heart decided to give for God loves a cheerful giver. Paul wasn’t doing away with the tithe there. He was saying that we should not give out of duty or begrudgingly. To Paul, the tithe was simply a starting point. His expectation was that we should give what God said we should give Him and then some. We should be eternally happy to do so.

How can we condemn others for making Scripture say what they want it to say to justify their lifestyle when we do the absolute same thing when it comes to our finances. We give God our leftovers and feel good about it. We ignore key Scripture so that we can. We rewrite Scripture so that we can. Every person that says that we are not required to tithe anymore is rewriting God’s Word and is a person who does not tithe. This argument is simply hard hearted justification for their not doing so. Next time, we want to blast homosexuals for rewriting Scripture let us look at ourselves when it comes to honoring God with our finances. We are robbing God just as much as the Jewish people of Malachi’s day. All He asks for is 10% of our fruits of our labors. But we rewrite Scripture to justify the fact that most of us Baptists only give 2% of our income to the church which only slightly higher than other denominations. Plank in the eye vs. a speck of sawdust. We must honor God with our finances. It is plain. It is simple. It is written. To say anything else is to rewrite Scripture with the best of today’s biblical modification experts.

Tomorrow we continue this look at Luke 21:1-4 with looking at it from the point of view that it is honoring to God and an example of trust in God when we give sacrificially beginning with the tithe instead of assuming that God is simply pleased with anything we give.

Father in heaven, help us to honor Your Word by the way we manage our finances. Help us to see Scripture plainly and not rewrite the parts that we do not like or the parts that convict our soul of how we are not honoring you. Help us to see that you have commanded certain things of us in the area of finances that did not go away. Help us to see that we cannot convict others of rewriting Scripture when we do the same thing ourselves when it comes to your place in our checkbook. Amen.


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