Friday, March 25, 2011

Reflecting the Generosity of God Likely Means Giving Up on the Old "Tithe"

I have really been enjoying Kelly Kapic's book, "God So Loved, He Gave: Entering the Movement of Divine Generosity" (on sale now at Westminster).  Kapic has a great turn of phrase, but far more than this, he has packed this book with fresh and winsome observations on the free giving of God centered in the Gospel.  There have been nuggets all along that have profoundly challenged me and caused me to go back and re-read.

Thinking through Abel's model of giving away his best stuff to God as an expression of his love to God reminded me of this quote from Kapic:
Overemphasizing the tithe above everything else the Bible says about generosity can lead wealthy Christians (including most Americans) into a false sense of self-righteousness; it can also burden those who are truly poor with inappropriate feelings of guilt. By way of contrast, the New Testament praises people who cheerfully and voluntarily express love for God and neighbor by giving at great cost to themselves (Mark 12:33-44; 2 Cor. 8:1-7). In this way they pattern themselves after Christ: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9).

Thus, emphasizing a 10 percent tithe as the basic gauge for giving can prove problematic as it can ironically end up distracting from God’s purpose in making us more like him.

(from page 152)