Pastor's Blog

Pastor's Note - August 24

Someone asked me a very helpful and thoughtful question after Sunday’s sermon. We pondered together why, how, and if God’s call to bring in the tithe was not a “quid pro quo” kind of request. In other words, it almost seems as if God is saying to Israel, “scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” If you bless me, I will bless you. If that is what is going on, it would seem like a cold and “transactional” request. He noted that I avoided putting the command in those terms, and wondered if that was intentional. So, what do you think? With offering and giving, is God putting forth a “quid pro quo,” saying that if we scratch His back, He’ll scratch ours? I don’t think so. And here’s why. God doesn’t have an itch. He doesn’t need His back scratched. In fact, He doesn’t need anything from us. This is what we call the doctrine of aseity, which teaches that God does not depend on or need anything or anyone else. He is sufficient within Himself – see Acts 17:24-25. So, while God desires relationship with others, He does not need it. There is no itch He needs scratching from us. This means that any relationship He enters into with us, or any covenantal agreement, is always by grace. It is God’s grace to us. This is true of the Mosaic covenant, for example. Examine Exodus 20. It is why the ten commandments begin not with the list of commands, but with a reminder that God is the One who saved Israel. The terms of the relationship begin with a reminder that we are dependent on His grace, and not the other way around. He doesn’t need anything from us, but He offers relationship to us. He doesn’t need our praise, but He invites us to praise Him. He doesn’t need our devotion, but He invites us to devotion to Him. Why? Not for His sake, but ours. And that is true with tithes and offerings and giving. He invites us into giving not because He needs our finances, but because He is gracious and offers us the opportunity to give, for our own spiritual health and benefit. It’s not a business relationship where both benefit equally. It’s a dependent relationship, where God by grace invites us to life that is only found in Him. At least that’s what it seems to me – is that how you see it?

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