Tuesday, March 18, 2008

holy week: the bucket

The final three days of Christ’s ministry – the time between his arrival in Jerusalem and the Passion – are so full, so complete. It’s almost as if Jesus sat down and wrote his ‘bucket list’.

Unfortunately, for the second post in a row now, I find myself playing the part of the “bad example” in Jesus’ teaching.

Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on."

My church teaches tithing. Personally, in my reading of scripture, I do not see what supports this teaching. But my church also teaches that giving is not about money—it’s about control and it’s about your heart. And with that I do agree. So last June, I entered the practice of tithing.

Jesus says nothing about ten percent. He teaches here and elsewhere that there is only one way to give – and that is to put in everything. My question today is: if it took me six years sitting in a pew before I gave up control of ten percent to the church’s bucket – how much longer sitting before Christ will it take before I relinquish control of the rest to God?

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