The Kingdom of God is a Party

Deuteronomy 14:22-29

image1. A Gigantic Party

The tithe was not for running the temple (or for that matter, therefore, the church). It was for partying!

Everybody was invited to the party, from widows who hadn’t had a fun night out for a year, to poor kids who couldn’t have come up with ticket money to whatever was the ancient equivalent of Disneyland; everyone from prostitutes to tax collectors were invited. So what if their reputations were questionable? When it’s a really good party, you forget all about that.

image2. Party-poopers leave the room now

Jesus has always been a bit of an embarrassment to the piously religious. (Matt. 11:6). Those pharisaical critics of Jesus were then, as they are now, people who can find fault, no matter what. (John 12:1-8).  Jesus praised what Mary had done and declared that wherever the gospel would be preached, the story of her gloriously extravagant expression of love would be told.

God never  planned for fun and celebration to be crowded out of our lives. To those who are upset with the declaration that the Kingdom of God is a party, I would offer this reminder: Jesus performed His first miracle at a wedding reception (John 2:1-11). When it looked like the host was running out of wine, Jesus turned some water into wine, just to keep the party going.

image3. www.party-aware.org

But the tithe also sets limits on what we are allowed to spend on partying! The other 90 percent of our earnings is to be used prayerfully in service to God, to family, and to those in need outside the family (Matt. 6:10).

PRINCIPLE ONE

Jesus clearly commanded, and therefore it is not an option, that we have to give to God (Matt 22:21): "Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s."

PRINCIPLE TWO

Giving is proportionate to the degree that God blesses a person without an obligatory figure being mentioned (1 Cor 16:1-2).

PRINCIPLE THREE

Giving is from the heart. In fact giving should be more appropriately termed free will offerings in the context of the New Testament Church for Paul commanded us to give from our heart. If the amount is a fixed one, there will be no need to purpose in one’s heart anymore!! (2 Cor 9:7).

“What proportion of income is right to give will depend on individual circumstances, but 10% of take-home pay is a Biblical starting point for consideration. For some on lower incomes and/or with high commitments, that level is not possible, but for others it may be exceeded. “

image4. Party now and party later

It has been planned by God to be a foretaste of what He has in mind for all of us when His Kingdom comes on earth as it is in heaven. Life may be hard. It may be full of troubles. But in the midst of it all, God tells us to set aside a tithe and to throw a party which will remind us of what God has in store for us(Matt. 22:2-4; Rev. 19:9). 

The Kingdom is now and yet to come. The Kingdom of God with all its joyful celebration is still in the future. It will not fully come until a certain trumpet is sounded to herald the return of the Lord of the party, who then will preside over the festivities as the ultimate Master of Ceremonies. But what is to come is to be enjoyed now in part.  (Heb. 12:2; Rom. 8:16-18; 2 Cor. 4:16-18; John 15:11).

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