How many times have you flipped through the TV channels and come accross some TV evangelist, preaching at the top of his lungs. Running commercials of some poor kids in Africa. Pleading with you to send them money. They say that your gift to God will help these poor people on the other side of the world.
Then, you see news stories of this same preacher driving luxury vehicles, living in multi-million dollar homes, flying in private jets. If you were able to look at their books, I would seriously doubt that not much, if any, money actually reaches the poor. Yet, they raise millions. People often get their image of Christianity from what they see on TV. I was reminded of this as I listened to Emcee One, a Christian rapper. In Lukewarm II Hot, he says it like this:
I flip through channels and stop at TBN
Now, at least TBN will talk about the Savior,
but sometimes I wonder,
watchin’ some of those mens behavior.
(Emcee One – Lukewarm II Hot)
Jesus had the same problem. The Pharisees were the most numerous and influencial of the religious sects of Jesus’ day. They were strict legalists. There were some good men among them but mostly, they were known for their covetousness, self-righteousness and hypocrisy. In Matthew 23, Jesus lays into the Pharisees. They are hypocrites and Jesus let them, and everyone listening, know it. Not only were they hypocrites, people formed their opinions of religion and God based on what they saw of these men. It wasn’t positive.
Around verse 23, Jesus berates them for making a show of tithing, by even tithing their spices but yet disregarded more important matters of the law like justice, mercy and faithfulness. In this statement, Jesus told them that they shouldn’t disregard the tithe, but emphasized that they should focus on the more important matters of the law.
It is equally important that we have our priorities straight when it comes to giving. We shouldn’t give just to be following the law or because we would feel guilty by not giving. In 2 Corinthians 9:7, Paul tells us that we should give cheerfully and not because we feel that we have to.
So…..go and give cheerfully! 😀