EDIT: (11/1/07) These were my initial thoughts on the subject of tithing in the New Testament and I have written a new post clarifying these thoughts. Please read it as well. It really does clarify my jumbled thoughts!

Last night, I had quite an interesting conversation with my mom about tithes and how much our district officials get paid. Then I read this post by Travis Seitler. He has done research on tithing. His post shook me. I’ve grown up with the focus always being, “give your ten percent.” I knew, of course, that more is better, but still the focus is on that tithe. In his post, Travis tells that what he has found is that the tithe was Old Testament law and therefore not applicable to us today. Now before anyone cries, “heresy,” he is NOT saying that you should not give. He says we should give more and sometimes less than 10%. His post is very well thought out and backed by scripture. I tend to believe that he is correct. He also wrote that the tithe was in food, not money. Therefore, we should be giving food if we are going to follow the Old Testament law; we should be creating food banks to help feed the poor.

The last important point I found that he made, was that tithe, since it was always given as food, was not created to support the priests’ pockets (ministers in our day) or church buildings and bills. If this is so, I wondered how would these be supported? Well, basically he believes that we should cut down on these expenses and focus on the poor. The remaining should be paid for by offerings. That makes some sense to me. That post has shaken me in changing the beliefs that I have held for so long, but after talking it out with my hubby, it makes sense to me never to preach on tithing the same again. It makes sense to me to never use that word again. The New Testament requires much more of us than the Old Testament. Jesus tells the rich man to sell everything and follow me.

When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Luke 18:22 NIV (more…)

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This morning I started reading two different books. They are: Lessons I Learned in the Dark by Jennifer Rothschild and In the Name of Jesus by Henri Nouwen. I started by reading the introduction and chapter 1 of Lessons I Learned in the Dark. Then I read some of In the Name of Jesus. Later I returned to Lessons I Learned and then went back to In the Name of Jesus again. I really don’t know why I did it that way, but I was amazed at the common theme between both books.

In her book, Jennifer Rothschild tells how she was diagnosed as being legally blind at the age of 15 due to a degenerative disorder. She had to learn to trust God or despair. The subtitle to her book is Steps to Walking by Faith, Not by Sight. She tells of her journey with God. She did trust God and became a wonderful Christian woman because of it. She had to learn to walk with God through her darkness.

Lately I have been wondering where my place in the ministry is. I have some hopes and dreams, but I don’t know if they will ever happen. I’m a very practical person and if they aren’t going to happen, I really don’t want to dream them. I don’t see the point. I know many people would disagree with me; even my husband. I am at the place where I know I am called to something, but I am not sure what. I don’t really know my short or long-term destinations. I need to trust God and walk with Him. I need to not concern myself with where I am going, but just focus on who I am going with. With all the talk of women in ministry at General Council this past week, I’ve been wondering where my place is and how far I can get. (more…)