Sunday – May 25, 2014 – Read the Word on Worship
Word On Worship – Sunday – May 25, 2014 Download / Print
“When she rose to glean, Boaz commanded his servants, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not insult her. “Also you shall purposely pull out for her some grain from the bundles and leave it that she may glean, and do not rebuke her.” So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley.”
For many years the issue of giving to the church and charity to the poor has been one of the great debates in the Christian community. Should our giving be to the church allowing the church to meet the needs of the poor or does the Christian have an obligation to meet the needs of their community as an individual. And when you finish wrestling with that, does giving to the poor offset your tithe to the church or should it be above what you give to Christian ministry?
For many years, I thought of giving as a New Testament teaching. Since we are now under grace, rather than under law, the Christian is not obligated to tithe or give a tenth of what they make to the work of the kingdom of God. The Christian still has the obligation to give because this responsibility is clearly taught in the New Testament, but the amount that is given was a matter of personal choice. When it came to the amount that was to be given I had lost my way in the discussion over tithing. I was caught up in the details of giving and lost sight of the heart of the giver. To put the matter in the mind of Jesus, I had fallen into the trap of straining gnats while swallowing camels.
Reading the account of Boaz’s generosity in Ruth 2 challenged me to consider giving in a new light. The Israelites of that day were “doing what seemed right in their own eyes,” which is but another way of saying that they disregarded the Word of God as it was revealed to them in the law. Boaz was a man who (like Paul in Romans Chapter 7) loved the law and who delighted (like the psalmist teaches) in doing it. Boaz, like Ruth, had the law written on his heart, a heart of flesh, not a heart of stone. As a New Testament believer, that should be true of you and me as well.
The instructions of the law pertaining to giving (particularly to the poor) were not a burden to Boaz, but a delight. He did not strive to figure out how he could reduce his benevolence to the bare minimum, but instead he went far beyond what the law required of him. The law was just a baseline for Boaz. This, my friend, is the kind of heart we should have toward giving to the poor and all those who are in need. No more debates for me about the minimum requirements of the law, or of the New Testament, for that matter. I pray God would give us all the heart of Boaz, who gave bountifully and joyfully.