Drippings from the Honeycomb
More to be desired are [the rules of the Lord] than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. (Psalm 19:10)
We have begun a New Year. It is no longer 2022 but 2023. That is a boundary. The Bible says that boundaries are a God given gift to be respected. A classic verse on the subject is Proverbs 22:28:
Do not remove the ancient landmark that your fathers have set.
What is that about? It means that in ancient Israel farmers marked the boundaries of their lands (allotted by God through Moses) by large stones or piles of stones. A greedy neighbour could sneakily move those stones over time and enlarge his land at the expense of his neighbour.
The world is filled with myriads of boundaries at God’s design. Because God designed them they are good and not to be understood in a negative way as many might see words like ‘division.’ They are good and we’d do well to respect them. Some boundaries like those at Creation are fixed and immoveable: day and night, land and sea, etc. Other boundaries are moveable. Yet it is only in our pride that we seek to move what God has fixed. This is because in our desire to be as God (Gen 3:5) we don’t respect God or others but move those stones to our own advantage. (Even the Creator-creature distinction is a boundary, Ro 1:25. We can’t actually move it but we try!). How we respond to God’s boundaries can be appropriate and inappropriate, good and evil. All sins and troubles, particularly of the inter-personal kind, stem from, in pride, breaking God’s boundaries.
Considering just some of the good God-given boundaries that we find in the Bible:
Perhaps with this in mind you might now see more boundaries in Scripture and identify them in the world around us.
May we repent of boundary breaking, seek the boundary Maker for forgiveness, and find the Holy Spirit’s renewing power to respect the boundaries that God has established for our good.
The Gospel and Giving
*We recently had a series of financial workshops and a preacher who spoke on generosity. This blog is meant to complement/supplement that weekend.
The 5 G's of the Gospel:
God created all things very good;
Guilt entered the world as man sinned and death reigned;
Grace was the only way salvation could now come about, and it did as God unfolded His great plan of salvation;
Gratitude is the response of the believer who has been saved through faith in Jesus Christ;
Glory is where the believer is destined for and living for God’s glory his new desire.
The Gospel is central to every Christian belief. What then does the Gospel speak into the important subject of the stewardship of mammon (i.e. money and possessions), including giving?
God: In the beginning men and women we entirely dependent upon God and they knew it. Adam and Eve’s response was one of worship and enjoyment. God had blessed them with so much and they honoured Him for it.
As soon as sin entered the world our pride desired riches and possessions for ourselves. No longer did we see them as a gift but something we were due. Greed entered into our existence. Generosity was a thing of the past. Now one of the idols we would serve was mammon: “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Mt 6:24). (Jesus said more on the subject of mammon than any other subject).
In addition we even began to rob God what was His due (Mal 3:8), the tithe or 10%; not simply a command given to God’s people but a universal moral obligation (see Abraham [pre-Law], Heb 7:2, 4); a worshipful expression of dependence upon and thanks to God for daily bread. God has given us everything we have. It is a small ask to give 10% back to him and be allowed to keep 90%!
In God’s grace, He began to train His people on the virtue of giving as a spiritual discipline to cultivate humility, built trust and engendered gratitude. The tithe supported the worship of the Lord, the discipleship of His people, and even care for the poor. Three things stand out under the Old Covenant:
When we come to know God by His grace through faith in Jesus Christ we become a grateful and transformed people. We’re grateful in that we stood underneath a debt we could never afford and He removed it and pardoned us. We’re transformed in that what was once a offence and a drudgery because of pride (giving) is now by His Spirit it is a delight because we love to obey our King. We love to be generous. We love to give God His due and not rob Him.
Grateful we’re destined for glory we want to glorify the Lord and one way in which we can do that is by giving our tithes and offerings. Imagine what more could be done to ensure others made it to glory if every able Christian tithed. O how strong the Church would be, spiritually as a fruit of giving and in provision for her mission as a result of giving if we would all bring the full tithe into the storehouse.
It is a sad reality mammon is not addressed more, perhaps because of the impression of Protestant televangelists or the sale of Catholic indulgences from the Middle Ages. The truth is Jesus spoke on money and so we need to understand what the Bible says about it and its spiritual importance. I’m not looking to get rich—I seek to lead by example—but I do want God’s Kingdom to grow and an important, though neglected part of that is to tithe and give generously.
[Read More: Randy Alcorn, The Treasure Principle]
 There may be times when intolerable debt, health, unemployment, etc, may prevent or limit our ability to give. However, what can you give, what plan do you have so that you might give fully? The story of the Widow’s Offering is helpful to those who give out of their want and not their plenty (Mk 12:41).
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