Saturday, March 17, 2007

A Matter of the Heart

I’m sure you’ve seen the Church marquees - “Come to church this Sunday - avoid the Easter (or Christmas) rush!” We smile at those, but could attending Church actually be a “sinful” act?

In doing online research on Lent, I’ve found two extremes - it’s either “from the pit of hell and smells like smoke” or it’s “the most sacred of reflection times in the life of a believer…”

Want to know what I think? I think “that’s right!”

Which? Both! It’s all a matter of the heart.

Time after time after time in the Old Testament, prophets (Samuel, Isaiah, Amos, and Jeremiah to mention a few) and kings (David in the Psalms and Solomon in the Proverbs) cry out that God does not delight in sacrifices that are not with the purest intentions. It’s not what they do so much as it is the “heart” or attitude behind the act.

Jesus cries out that we strain out gnats and yet swallow camels. Fasting and even tithing can be just as sinful as not fasting and not tithing when done with the wrong attitude (or heart.)

And even prayer can be sinful - the prayer of the Pharisee was not heard while the prayer of the tax collector was “justified.” (Ever wonder why it seems that your prayer is not heard?)

A. W. Tozer, in his book, “The Pursuit of God” talks about the danger in dividing our lives between the “sacred and the secular.” And I think, we must be very careful of this in every area of our lives, including Church.

For those of us whose denominations follow the “Church calendar”, we must be very careful that the “calendar” not become more important than teaching our members the very Word of God.

And for those whose denominations do not follow the “Church calendar”, I think “times” in the church life needs to be recognized and taught.

If one only attends church at Christmas and Easter, and only hears of the birth and the resurrection of Christ, think of what a void there is in their lives. The same it is to strictly adhere to, or never mention the life of the Church.

But how should it be done? As anything is done - with the purest of motives, as it’s “a matter of the heart…”



Blogger russkellyphd said...

How can "not tithing" be a "sin" for Chrisitans? (1) In the OT it was not a legitimate tithe unless it came from an Israelite and from inside God's holy land, (2) Even OT Israelietes could not bring food grown from outside Israel and call it a tithe. (3) Those who tithed in Malachi were sworn to obey all of the Mosaic Law or be cursed. (4) Tithing was a statute of the law (found in Numbers 18) and the statutes were abolished in Ephesians 2:13-17; Colossians 2:13-17 and Hebrews 7:18. (5) Christians have better giving principes found in 2 Cor 8 and 8. They give sacriricaily until it hurts regardsless of percentage. ?Check out my free book from a PHD dissertation, www.Should the Church Teach

12:11 PM  
Blogger Betty Newman said...

Tithing began roughly 500 years before the law was given. It truly is a "matter of the heart."


3:21 PM  
Blogger John said...

"Both/And" -- very Wesleyan of you.

2:59 PM  

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