Tithing Lesson–When $10 is Worth10 times $100

A few years ago our Pastor at St. Mark’s Church in Pittsfield accepted my offer to speak to the church community over the weekend masses about tithing.

I’ve never been one to shy away from crowds, so the concept just needed the right moment to be implemented.

I remember my dad getting up to speak at St. Mark’s 40 years ago, to do basically the same thing.

I can still see him holding up a brown envelope and asking folks not to be afraid of filling it.

In the Gospel of Mark Chapter 12, today’s reading, watch what happens as the Lord is sitting in the Temple observing the people as they tithe. 

He sat down opposite the treasury
and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury.
Many rich people put in large sums.
A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.
Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them,
“Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more
than all the other contributors to the treasury.
For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had,
her whole livelihood.”

To get the full impact of what happened it’s far easier to bring the numbers the Lord saw into today’s dollars and cents.

Permit me Lord…it’s for the best.

Let’s just say the poor widow lived on $5,200 a year.

Lets’ also say she gave $10 a week.

Let’s also say a wealthy man Jesus observed lived on $520,000 a year.

Let’s also say he gave $100 a week.

Do the math. 

At the end of the year the woman gave $520 and the man gave $5,200.

By human standards the man gave far more.

But Jesus was human and divine at the same time–He saw things differently.

The widow actually gave 10% of her income while the rich man only gave 1%.

So, now you know how $10 is worth more than $100.

It’s actually 10 times more by God’s calculation.

He doesn’t miss a trick–and if you think He does–you’re tricking yourself.

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2 Responses to “Tithing Lesson–When $10 is Worth10 times $100”

  1. Gary Arnold Says:

    The Lord wasn’t observing the people as they tithe. The Lord was observing the people as they freely GAVE. The widow gave ALL SHE HAD, not a tithe (tenth). The Biblical tithe was NEVER money. It was always food from God’s miraculous increase of crops and animals. The tithe wasn’t even taken to the Temple to begin with, except the tithe of the tithe from the Levites. See Nehemiah 10:37-38.

    NO ONE, absolutely NO ONE pays the Biblical tithe today.

    THE FIRST TITHE
    Leviticus 27:30-33 defines this tithe as a tenth of crops and animals in herds and flocks.
    Numbers 18 gives the ordinances, or instructions, for this tithe, and commands this tithe be taken to the Levites.
    Purpose of this tithe: to support the Levitical Priesthood.

    SECOND TITHE
    Deuteronomy 14:22-27: aka The Festival Tithe – a tenth of crops, plus add to that the firstborn animals, and take for the yearly feast.
    Purpose of this tithe: “that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always”

    THIRD TITHE
    Deuteronomy 14:28-29: aka The Three-Year Tithe aka The Poor Tithe – a tenth of crops, kept at home, and invite the Levites, widows, orphans, stranger to eat.
    Purpose of this tithe: to feed the poor.

    Now, tell me. Which of the above three tithes commanded by God does anyone follow today?

    The ONLY people in the Old Testament that were commanded to tithe were those who INHERITED THE PROMISED LAND WITH EVERYTHING ON IT. They got the land, house, animals, crops, etc. ALL FREE AND CLEAR. No mortgage payment or rent to pay. And THEY were commanded to tithe on the crops and animals and take it to the Levites who INHERITED the tithe INSTEAD OF the promised land with everything on it. No one else tithed. Wage earners did not tithe. Jesus did not tithe as a carpenter. Paul did not tithe as a tent maker. Peter did not tithe as a fisherman.

    When God gave the Israelites the promised land, He RESERVED, for Himself, a tenth of the crops and every tenth animal. They NEVER did belong to the Israelites. In other words, the tithe was from God’s increase of FOOD, not from man’s income. It was a way to distribute FOOD to the Levites and priests who did NOT inherit any land.

    No one, not even the farmers, tithed on their income.

    The farmers made their income by SELLING and/or barter-exchanging their crops and animals but did NOT tithe on that income.

    Today, ALL born-again believers are priests. ALL of us are called to be deciples of the Lord. No one of us is higher than another. Our bodies are the Temple where the Spirit dwells. According to the scriptures, priests do not tithe.

    When you teach tithing today, you are missing a big part of what the New Testament is all about. You diminish what Jesus did on the cross, and you distance yourself from being a part of a Royal Priesthood.

    The New Testament teaches generous, sacrificial giving, from the heart, according to our means. For some, $1 might be a sacrifice, while for others, even giving 50% of their income might not induce a sacrifice. In the Old Testament, ONLY the farmers tithed, and it was a tenth. The New Testament teaches the principle of equal sacrifice instead of a tenth. Equal sacrifice is much harder to achieve, if not impossible, than giving a tenth.

  2. jmassery Says:

    Gary,
    Thanks for your contribution to this post. You bring up some great points.
    Jim Massery

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