Why I Practice Tithing in the Age of Grace 为什么在这个恩典的时代我还要坚持十一奉献

在目前的教会里,十一奉献越来越成为一个有争论的问题。很有趣的是,自从上个世纪以来,对十一奉献有异议的常常是西方的教会。(这是不是让人震惊越是有钱的西方教会越是少讲十一奉献,而且奉献的也少?)“也许这就是为什么三十年来,西方基督徒奉献的百分率不断下降。单纯从金钱角度来看,现在美国人平均的奉献量比上个世纪大萧条时期的奉献还要少。”

十一奉献从字面上看就是10%,就是十分之一。当我们说十一奉献的时候就是将我们收入的十分之一奉献给上帝。当然,在新约时代,十分之一并不是说得那么明确的,不管怎么样,十一奉献是一个原则,我觉得这是跟随耶稣基督所必须做的事情。我有六点理由认为应该这样做:

1 创世纪14:20记载,根据先父亚伯拉罕拿出十分之一给麦基洗德,就是承认上帝的主权,就是承认上帝拥有我的一切。亚伯拉罕不仅是以色列人的祖宗,也是任何接受耶稣基督为救主者的父(罗马4:12~18)。

2. 就如亚伯拉罕,我也承认耶稣基督拥有一切,而且我也要用我的初熟的果子来敬拜祂。如果十分之一是我的奉献,那我的奉献就是表示我所得的初熟的果子。这些是我得到的最初的那一部分,也是最好的一部分。我是在我的毛收入里就拿出十分之一,而不是在我的净收入里拿出十分之一献给上帝。

3. 就如亚伯拉罕,我极力依靠信心来过日子,坚信上帝会供应我的需要。对我来说,十一奉献是我信心生活的开始。如果我相信上帝,要与主同行,难道我还能不十一奉献吗?我现在是活在上帝的恩典时代,难道我可以比那些活在律法时代的人奉献的更少吗?

4. 看一看摩西时代的十一奉献是为了供给当时的利未人,就是在圣殿里事奉的和各处事奉的属灵领袖;这与我们现在为了供给属灵领袖和属灵事工的奉献是没有区别的。我将我的十一奉献全部捐给我所属的教会,就像当初以色列人捐到圣殿一样。我有我自己的自由意志,可以奉献到任何上帝要我奉献的地方,但是我的十一奉献一定是奉献给我所在的教会,因为我在那里得享上帝的言语,聆听上帝的教训。对于本教会以外的奉献,那是十一奉献以外的奉献。

5. 我另外至少为宣教事工奉献十分之一。我的这个奉献是为了帮助传播福音,也是为了他人的需要。金钱上的奉献不是我奉献的全部,金钱的奉献只是奉献中的一部分。

6. 我有亲身的经历,我从来没有感到拿不出奉献的时候。上帝告诉以色列人可以在奉献上试试上帝,看看祂是不是从天上倾倒福分给愿意奉献的人们。我至今一直感到上帝的允许是真实的,上帝是信实的!

Tithing seems to have become an increasingly debated issue in the church. It’s interesting that the rise of those against the practice of tithing seem to be located mostly in the Western church and within the last century. (Does it strike anyone else as odd that the more wealth the Western church has accumulated the less they want to speak about tithing or giving in general?) “Perhaps that’s why the percentage of income Christians give away has been declining for thirty years. In fact, dollar for dollar, the average American gave more during the Great Depression than today.” [Randy Alcorn, Money, Possessions, and Eternity, p. 174]

The word tithe literally means 10%, a tenth. When we speak of tithing our income we speak of giving 10% of our income. Although tithing is not explicitly commanded in the New Testament, there are principles however, that I feel compel the follower of Jesus Christ to tithe. I’ve listed my 6 reasons below:

1. As did my Father Abraham, I recognize God’s ownership of all that I possess. [Gen. 14] Abraham is not merely the father of those who have physically descended from him, the Jews. He is also the father of those that follow God in faith. [Rom. 4:12-18]

2. As did my Father Abraham, I recognize the worthiness of Jesus Christ and worship Him in my giving of the firstfruits. If tithing speaks to the amount of my gift, firstfruit speaks to the nature of my gift. It is the first and best of what I have. I give God from the gross of my income and not the net.

3. As did my Father Abraham, I strive to live by faith trusting God to supply my every need. For me, tithing is a beginning point of practicing my faith. Could I really say that I trust God and walk by faith and give him less than that? Should I, who live under grace, give less than those who lived under the law?

4. Considering the parallelism between the Mosaic tithe in providing for the spiritual leaders and ministry of the Old Testament and the necessity of providing for the spiritual leaders and ministry in today’s church, I tithe. In keeping with that parallelism, I bring my whole tithe into the local church just as the Old Testament Jews took their tithe to the Temple’s storehouse. I am free to give and to send my freewill offering wherever God leads my heart, but my tithe goes to support where I am fed and led through the local church.

5. I give at least a tithe for the purpose of carrying out the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. My giving goes to help spread the Gospel and meet the needs of others. Financial giving is not the end of my participation it’s only a part.

6. I have tested the Lord in this area and found that I have never out given Him. This is one area where God told the Israelites to test him and see if He would not be faithful to bless them. I have found the promise of His blessings to hold true even today.