Prayer: We offer You our lives this day O Lord. We offer You our actions this day O Lord. We offer You the words we speak to others this day O Lord. May we live and move and have our being in You O Lord our Creator and Redeemer.
Read St. Luke 11: 42
Herbs and tithing. The Pharisees were following the law of Moses in thinking the law of tithing applied to agricultural produce. They were so persistent in wanting to keep the laws that they would go to the extreme of writing a law on tithing herbs. Jesus says by going over board in one area of the law, they have totally forgotten justice in the community and the love of God in their hearts.
While the Pharisees are wanting to be righteous men through following all the laws of Moses plus creating laws to uphold the laws of Moses, they have totally forgotten that to be righteous means following God with their hearts, minds, and soul.
While it is easy for us to nod our heads and say, “oh those horrible Pharisees” are we equally as hardheaded and hardhearted as the Pharisees? While we don’t make laws to uphold laws, over the decades, our Churches have drifted away from mission – from justice and love of God to keeping money for the Church building. Are we the Pharisees of this age? And if we are, are we going to change to become a Church of justice and love of God?
The background to tithing is Deuteronomy 14: 22 – 29. Tithing was a tenth part of one’s field produce each year. If the person was not near the Lord’s dwelling, then the tithe of produce would be turned into a tithe of silver. And what was the tithe for? The tithe was to feed the Priests (Levites), the foreigners, the fatherless, and the widows who live in your town. Boy, our understanding of tithe is very different these days isn’t it. We just tithe money instead of the work of our hands. We give our money tithe to the Church and other non-profit organizations but do we give to the foreigners, the fatherless, and the widows in our community? Do we tithe the work of our hands to foreigners, the fatherless, and the widows in our community?
Today, think about how the work of our hands can be used to help bring justice and the love of God into our community.
Prayer: O God, lover of all nations. We pray for peace in our hearts, peace in our homes, peace in our nations, and peace in our world. The peace of Your will and the peace of our need. This we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen. #225 Oxford Book of Prayer.