I visited New Life Community Church in Duncan with a friend today. Many of you might know of their pastor, Mark Buchanan, who has written Holy Wild, Rest of God, Your God is Too safe, etc. (And he’s a Regent grad- good man!) I really enjoyed the casual blend of authenticity, fellowship, freedom and reverent worship in this congregation. If I lived in Duncan, New Life most certainly would become my church home.
Something Mark said this morning captured me deeply. He was teaching about the dreaded T-word ("tithe") and about generosity in giving to God. He noted how Christians get caught up in debate about whether a tithe was just an Old Testament concept. Do New Testament Christians still need to operate under that 10% giving rule? Or was a tithe just a regulation to follow under the Jewish Law? Are Christians free from that now?
Mark reflected poignantly on the issue… and struck me with a Jesus-type question. "Does it make sense for a New Testament Christian who has been saved by God’s grace to be less generous than an Old Testament believer who served God under the Law?" In other words, should Jesus Followers be stingy in their generosity?! The answer, of course, is "no." If anything, Mark offered, Christians should start with 10% of their first fruits and go up from there. Grace has freed us to live generously.
I was struck to my soul. In the sometime imminent sale of our house, in the receiving of a new salary, in the blessing of all things provided us, I must offer to God the best portions. Not just out of obedience to a law or command, but out of the grace-shaped soul he has reborn within me. How could I not want to open up everything to God when he has poured out his Spirit and salvation and redemption and blood for me? I love him today… and want him to have my best.