Only One Thing You Lack
In Mark 10:17-31 (NIV) we read about the rich young ruler. He had a simple question to ask Jesus. “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus’ answer surprised the man. Jesus was talking to a man that claimed to be keeping the commandments throughout his life, but he was missing one important thing. Jesus calls him to leave his possessions behind, saying, “You will have treasure in heaven; then come follow me.” We are the ones who suffer when we let wealth cut us off from other people and remove us from a relationship with God. The solution is not to try harder to be good, but to accept God’s love. If we do this, we learn that we can trust God for the things we really need in life and not hold on to our possessions and positions for security. Author Max Lucado in his book Cast of Characters: Common People in the Hands of an Uncommon God, says: “What costs far more than you can pay? You don’t need a system, you need a Savior. You don’t need a resume, you need a redeemer…God does not save us because of what we’ve done. Only a puny god could be bought with tithes. Only a temperamental god could be satisfied by our sacrifices. Only a heartless god would sell salvation to the highest bidders. Only a great God does for his children what they can’t do for themselves.” Like the rich man, our wealth can’t earn us a place in eternity. The invitation has already been given. We only have to accept it.
There is a story about a father who was attempting to teach his young daughter about the importance of tithing. He placed ten dimes on the table, laying them side by side, all the while telling the child about the goodness of God and how He created all the world. He explained how God sent his only son, Jesus, to earth and how Jesus had died on the cross to save all of humanity from their sins. The father then pushed one dime to the side, leaving nine of them behind. The father explained, “This one dime belongs to God, it is His. The remaining nine are ours.” The little girl began to cry and her father was shocked as he asked her why she was crying. The child replied, “Is that all God gets?” (Author Unknown) Tithing is an Old Testament concept and was a requirement of the Law. “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. ‘Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.’” (Malachi 3:10) NIV Giving God ten percent is really just giving back to God what is already His. He is Lord over all we have and all we own. By giving back to Him what is His, we learn to put God first in our lives. “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7) NIV