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Finance (2 of 2)

Shane Willard

Do you see now, why these people are so blessed? In some sense, it’s the hand of God; in another sense, its obedience to natural common sense.

You save 10% your whole life… and this set me free in terms of the tithing realm - when I saw that God was just as interested in me saving money, as he is in me giving money. It is just a much a command to: Save it; as it is to Give it.

The last thing they would do is called the Maaser. The word Maaser is Tithe, it just means ‘a tenth’.

Every one of these, although they’re different, gets translated just one way in English: Tithe. So Tithe gets three times more emphasis than it should; and Terumah gets 13 times less emphasis than it should. It’s a problem.

The Maaser was this: every 3rd self-tithe, instead of giving it to myself; I give it to the poor. You can read about that in Deuteronomy 14. It says: “Every 3rd year, which is the year of the special tithe, take a tithe of that years increase and set aside for strangers, widows, orphans and aliens...”

So this was the system. Now I’m going to go back, show you each one in scripture, then talk about each one. Leviticus 19:9-10 – “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field; or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time; or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and aliens, for I am the Lord your God. “

When God got this group of people out of slavery in Egypt, and into freedom in the promise land; he was trying to create a culture of people, who would show the whole world: what does God look like, if he was leading the way.

So to create a whole new culture, you have to deal with a lot of questions, don’t you? What’s acceptable; and what’s not acceptable in our culture.

So he gives things like: we’re not going to kill each other. We’re going to take one day off a week. We’re going to do these things.

One of the commands is: “thou shall not steal”. Well hang on, to build an entire culture, one of the things you have to deal with is this: how do we think about our stuff? How do you think about what’s yours?

There is only two ways to accumulate things legitimately: one way is to work for it and earn it. You work for it, you paid for it, you earned it – it’s yours. The other way to legitimately acquire things is gifts.

So a year and a half ago, someone gave me a car. It was a nice one. The car is legitimately mine, not because I worked and earned it, but because someone gave it to me. But it’s still nonetheless legitimately mine. Every other way of accumulating things are illegitimate. It’s called stealing.

So essentially God sets out this command: we're going to think about our stuff in a new way.

Here’s the centre of the command: how do you think about your stuff? Do you think about your stuff in a way that: you worked for it, and earned it; or do you think about your stuff as: it’s all a gift from God?

He says it different ways: Remember when you have abundance in the promise land; that it is I, the Lord your God, who gave you ability to obtain wealth.

In other words, the best way to live is not to think that anything you have is your own, but that all belongs to God, and that you are a steward of something bigger.

So God says: since I am in charge, and you are the steward of my money, let me tell you how the best way to handle your money is.

He says: I want you to visualize your life as a square. When you reap the harvest of your land, don’t: reap to the edges of the field; or gather the gleanings of the harvest; or go over a second time. Leave that for giving.

So essentially, the imagery is this: if your field is a square, he wants you to live on a circle. He wants you to live on a circle inside a square.

In other words, the corners are for giving; they’re not for you, this is not for you! We are to live from what’s on the circle.

So I asked a mathematician, what percentage of a square is a circle? If you put a circle inside a square, what percentage is that? If you want to get technical...pi this and that... it’s 79%! If you drop a circle into a square, you have 79% of the square.