Read: Psalm 119:26-28 |
This week we continue the series “Is tithing a rule, routine or ritual?” by focusing on “Is tithing a routine?” As you may recall, we defined a “routine” as something that is done at the same time in the same way regularly and repetitively.
A good routine thoughtfully follows a fundamental rule(s). A poor routine follows the rule(s) robotically without a connection to the value of the underlying rule(s). According to Dr. Thomas Knestrict, in an article on parenting “Rules, Routines and Rituals”, routines provide the fundamental building blocks of self-discipline and self-monitoring.
Purpose of Spiritual Routines
Spiritual routines such as prayer, devotional time, Bible Study, etc., under-gird our faith. Thus, it is important to guard against allowing a spiritual routine to mutate into robotic meaninglessness [Blanks, Andy, “The Good and Bad of Routine”]. Spiritual routines point to God and lead us to grow our faithfulness.
In Psalm 119:26-28, David asks God for help to understand His commandments (rules). David sought to honor God by following not only His rules, but also following the meaning of the rules. He didn’t want to just do what God said as a mindless routine. He also wanted to be able to share the rule and meaning with others. David understood that each of God’s commandments is important and serves a purpose within God’s plan.
Unfortunately, some believers can feel the opposite of David. They can feel that a particular spiritual routine has lost its meaning. Subsequently, they develop short cuts and alternatives to meet the minimum requirements of the rule if they are unable to ignore it altogether. In short, they end up going through the motions of the routine. They pray and ask for things, but do not ask God what He thinks. They go to Church, but get nothing from the experience.
The parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25:1-13 shows an example of accepting and following the routine versus going through the motions. The first five Virgins demonstrate a good routine by coming prepared with enough oil. The latter five demonstrate the effect of a routine that has lost its meaning by showing up, but not being prepared with enough oil.
To maintain a good routine, we have to guard against “complacency” and serve with “expectancy”. Complacency leads to lazy lackadaisical preparation and execution. Consequently, we become disconnected from the purpose of the routine. Expectancy motivates us because the end-result of the routine brings glory to God.
Make the Offering Time “Routine” a Spiritual High Point
The Spiritual Routine of “Offering Time” as we call it in most churches is a special time of worship. In the Old Testament, offering time was the law – it was expected. In our age of grace, offering time is a custom – it is an opportunity.
Offering time is a time of personal worship in a corporate setting. Though surrounded by other worshipers, this is 1:1 time with God. If we allow this spiritual routine to become a mindless chore, then we have lost focus on the God we serve. Re-connect with God to regain the righteous perspective.
Offering Time should be an expectant worship filled routine that is one of several spiritual high points in a Church service. It is our personal responsibility to make it a good routine by keeping its purpose in mind. Otherwise, we are in danger of letting the routine enslave us into robotically just “giving away money” to the preacher and the church versus “giving an offering” to our Lord, King and Savior Jesus Christ through the Church.
A. Have any spiritual routines become meaningless to you?
B. As a family, how do you approach Offering Time each week?
A. How have you kept the “Offering Time” fresh and worshipful?
B. Is Offering Time just a point in the Church program for you or what does it signify?
A. When you release your offering into the offering plate/basket, what thoughts or feelings run through your head?