From the standpoint of education, rubrics define in writing what is expected of the student to get a grade on an assignment. Usually rubrics have explicit criteria/categories/classifications upon which a student’s work is assessed and graded.
Is there such rubrics that God established for church tithing? Perhaps because of what our traditional approach to tithing had been, we are probably not conversant with the connotation that God has a rubrics for church tithing that he established with Abraham, in making him the father of the Christian faith.
We will discover in this discussion that the rubrics of God for church tithing speak to the things God laid out in Abraham’s tithing that are to classify what constitutes church tithing. In other words, the rubrics of God for church tithing provide the characteristic elements that give identity to the nature of church tithing that God established with Abraham. They define what we are to regard as church tithing.
It is important for the community of church tithers to become conversant with the rubrics of God for church tithing in consideration of the imperative to achieve the credibility of what God, with the tithing of Abraham, classified as church tithing. And how does Abraham’s tithing bring out the rubrics of God for church tithing? We start with the Bible context for his tithing.
‘And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most-high God. And he blessed him, and said, blessed be Abram of the most-high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most-high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand.
And he gave him tithes of all. And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself. And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich.’ (Genesis 14:18–23)
From what we have read, we can gather the things that form the rubrics of God for church tithing. There was fellowshipping, with the fact that Melchizedek brought with him bread and wine. They had fellowship in breaking bread and wine, which was perhaps a symbolic observation of the Holy Communion that Christ instituted with the disciples.
There was also the giving of the tithes, obviously stated that Abraham gave tithes of all. There was also the dedicating of Abraham’s life to God, in the light of what Abraham said to the king of Sodom that he had lifted his hand to the most-high God. The dedicating of Abraham’s life to God implies committing him to the kingdom agenda of God. So that what we have here at this engagement of Melchizedek and Abraham are four principal things:
- The giving of the tithes to God
- The fellowshipping with God
- The dedicating of life to God
- The committing to the kingdom of God
These four things give us the rubrics of God for church tithing. Together, they define for us what we are to regard as church tithing. They imply that church tithing is not only the giving of the tithes but the sum of four essential elements presented with the following diagram.
In my next edition of this discussion, I will begin to discuss each of these 4 components that give us God’s original intent of what he set up with Abraham to constitute and or characterize the practice of church tithing.
>>>The writer is President of the Church Tithing Institute. www.churchtithing.org