- I was sitting on the hearth of the fireplace with an individual who was considering becoming part of Mosaic. He turned to me and asked if Mosaic was a law church or grace church.
It was pretty obvious to me that he was setting a trap, so I thought I would go ahead and jump in. I said, “Well, of course we’re a grace church.”
“I thought so,” he replied. “I was concerned that you were one of those law churches that told people they had to tithe.”
“Oh, no,” I said. We’re a grace church.
- The law says, ‘Do not murder.’ Grace says you don’t even have to have hatred in your heart; you can love your enemy.
- The law says, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ but grace says you don’t even have to have lust in your heart for another woman.
- The laws says, ‘Give 10 percent,’ but grace always takes us beyond the law. You can give 20, 30, or 40 percent. We would never stop you from living by grace.”
He looked at me and said, “Oh” – a profoundly theological response.
The above story is from An Unstoppable Force(pp 204-205) by Erwin McManus. I read that story tonight and thought it went well with the study Pastor Mike is leading us through on The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn.
The subtitle of Alcorn’s book is Unlocking the Secret of Joyful Giving. I reckon that’s what a grace immersed heart does – joyfully gives.
Alcorn and McManus both declare that one way grace wins is by keeping our focus on God, His priorities, and our grateful response.
Everything I’m hearing and reading these days has to do with this issue. Today on a John Piper CD, he said to be mindful of when we spend our money on things because we won’t be allowed to bring a U-Haul to Heaven. The CD is Desiring God and really isn’t about tithing!
Let me share one more quote from McManus. Warning – this is a faith stretcher. At least it was for me.
“We believe that the use of money is a deeply spiritual issue and that how you give is an honest refection of your heart toward God . . . The sacrifice of time and energy, of unique skills and talents, is the overflow of a spirit of generosity. If people are selfish with money, you’ll never get their real contributions” (220).
Wow, that last sentence pinched. I allow my fear to tell God “no” to giving all the tithe He asks of me. I am telling Him “no” to His sovereign control of my life. Instead of living in faith (and grace) I AM living in fear.
I am tired of living in fear. I am tired of saying “no” to God. Even in the very small areas like . . .
- Making a call to someone I don’t know very well.
- Reconciling the checkbook.
- Starting the final I know I can’t do.
I so appreciate your examples, prayers, and accountability. And I so appreciate that God gives me plenty of opportunities to live by His grace.