Common Sense Christian

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Daily Devotional – August 20

EXTORTION AND BRIBERY

 

Part 3 of 3

We have two kinds of ministers in today’s pulpits. “Demetris” and “Jeremys.”

  • One brutally preaches that his boss is owed a percentage of your take–and will get it even if he has to put you out of business. (“If you don’t give God his ten percent he’ll get it some way by causing you to be sick, a car repair, have financial difficulties, blah, blah, blah.”)
  • The other cruelly offers false incentives–bribes–in order to get what he wants. (“If you give God his 10 percent he will will give you four times as much!”)

This is NOT God, and has nothing to do with Him. He will hold the Demetris and Jeremeys accountable.

In order to give their congregations false hope or promote fear, contemporary ministers rely on an Old Testament practice called the “tithe.” The tithe was a custom developed between people either as an honorarium or for the purpose of paying for some derived benefit. It was later instituted for the Jewish people as a means of supporting a huge religious bureaucracy. Believing and non-believing Jews alike were required to pay the tithe–an obligatory tax that no one dodged. Another mistaken notion was that it was a tenth, but was really 1/12th of ones monetary income. Interesting that we seem to have dropped the rest of the requirements put forth in Leviticus 27.

  • Fast forward to today, and we find nothing in our New Testament that teaches of a God who requires cold cash…or else. There are plenty of people who don’t tithe and get richer by the day.
  • Fast forward to today, and we find nothing in our New Testament that teaches of a God who gives back 2, 3 or 4 times what one gives. If this was the case, no one would invest in the stock market–all investment would be in churches. There are plenty of people who tithe who don’t get this “promised return.”

We serve a God that wants our gift of love, not a begrudged tax.

2Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, [so let him give]; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

What does your minister preach, and why?

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August 20, 2007 Posted by | Christianity 101, Extortion and Bribery, Tithing | 4 Comments

Daily Devotional – August 16

 

EXTORTION AND BRIBERY

Part 2 of 3 

Kyle wiped the blood from his nose, his head still feeling hazy. His eyes focused and he recoiled slightly expecting another blow.

Instead, Jeremy, the playground bully, smiled and reached out his hand. Kyle couldn’t help but think this a trick. He wasn’t about to take that hand until he knew the motive behind it.

“Hey, buddy,” Jeremy purred, “I’ll be your friend. Heck! Not only will I not hit you anymore, but I will make sure no one else does. Not only that, you can join my gang, and get an equal share of the lunch money we get out of everyone.”

The Sunday school lesson from the previous week flashed through Kyle’s mind–the one where Jesus was on the mountain being offered everything by Satan if only he…

“What’s the catch?” Kyle mumbled.

“Do my homework.  AND you let me look at your test answers.”

Kyle reached up and took Jeremy’s hand and was pulled roughly to his feet.  Sounded like a deal.

He couldn’t look him in the eye.

Tomorrow: Part 3

August 16, 2007 Posted by | Christianity 101, Extortion and Bribery, Tithing | 1 Comment

Daily Devotional – August 15

 

EXTORTION AND BRIBERY

Part 1 of 3

The bell at the top of the door dinged announcing the arrival of a customer.  It was much to the chagrin of Tommy, the store owner that it proved to be three of Crocetta’s men. 

Dario, the nervous acting one, walked to the back of the store and began stuffing various and sundry boxes, cans and packages into his shirt.  Giacobbe took up a flanking position slightly behind his under-boss, his hand never straying far from the inside of his coat. 

Tommy look fearfully at Demetri as he sat down on the stool next to the counter next to the cash register. 

“Come to collect, Tommy,” his accent was thick, his look bored.  Tommy was not fooled by the exterior calm.  He had seen what this man did to people who didn’t pay. 

“Wanna’ operate another week its time to pay your dues.”

Tommy had no idea where he would get the money to pay the store’s electricity bill, or his family’s mortgage. 

He placed the money in Demetri’s hand.

Tomorrow:  Part 2.

August 15, 2007 Posted by | Christianity 101, Extortion and Bribery, Tithing | 3 Comments