The Offering and Beyond

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings:
Deuteronomy 13-15; Mark 12:28-44

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41 Jesus sat across from the collection box for the temple treasury and observed how the crowd gave their money. Many rich people were throwing in lots of money. 42 One poor widow came forward and put in two small copper coins worth a penny. 43 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I assure you that this poor widow has put in more than everyone who’s been putting money in the treasury. 44  All of them are giving out of their spare change. But she from her hopeless poverty has given everything she had, even what she needed to live on.” (Mark 12:41-44, Common English Bible).

The problem isn’t just students. I wish it was. Once graduation happens it is, “I have all those student loans to pay back (not knocking the student loans. I am still paying on mine). Then it becomes (even before the student loans pay off), I need a new car. That is followed up by, “Well, I am married now. Two mouths twice as much and I still have my student loans and car payment, plus I now have the significant other’s car payment and a mortgage. Soon, a child or two or three or four compound the problem, got to pay for their college now. After that, “I have to get ready for retirement.

Over and over and over, we find excuses to not give back the share God calls us to give. It is said, we don’t start giving offerings and gifts until AFTER we have given our tithe. Until we have given a tenth of our income to the work of God, to the Church, we are simply working up to our obligations.

I love the Church. I love doing what I do. I love most of the work, except the administrative tasks. I get them done but that doesn’t mean I have to like them. There is one I dislike more than all the rest, trying to figure out how the church can live and work and minister on the money placed in our offering plates. I have worried about not paying our denominational support. I have stood in front of a congregation and said, “If something pretty miraculous happens in the offering today, we will not meet payroll this week. The Church needs the offerings to make the work of ministry happen in the world around us.

In the lesson above, the widow trusted that God would take care of her. She gave, not a tenth, but all she had so the work of ministry could continue. She did all she could so God’s work could continue.

There is an old story that there was a man who was a faithful member of a congregation. His parents not only taught him to tithe, they taught him to take the money he gave as first fruits given to the glory of God. In other words, Give to God they taught, and everything else would fall into place.

One day the man came into the preacher’s office and said, “Pastor, I have always been a tither.”

“I didn’t know, but thank you for making me aware of that.”

“Well, I have been, but I just got a pay raise at work. I am thankful and all but I am looking at what I give and giving a tenth off the new salary, that’s a lot of money.”

The pastor agreed. It was a lot of money. But then, he steps in, “Can you come join me in the sanctuary?”

The man agreed but was asking why.

When they reached the chancel the preacher said, “Let’s kneel at the communion rail and pray.”

“What are we praying for.” The man asks.

“Well I think since you can’t afford to tithe off of your new salary, but could off the old one then it seems to me, you need to make less money then you could afford to tithe once again.

The man was dumbfounded. He simply said, “I will see you Sunday, Pastor.”

We are called to give ten percent. We are called to tithe. Work toward giving a tithe.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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