Grace or Law?
A middle-aged man sat down next to me and asked me a question that I knew was setup: “Is this a grace church or a law church?” Sometimes all you can do is walk into the trap, so I answered, “This is a grace church.” He responded with a relief and said, “Good. I was concerned that you would require me to tithe.”
I said, “Oh, no. We’re definitely a grace church. The law says do not murder; grace says that we are not even to hate our enemies, but love our enemies. The law says do not commit adultery; grace frees us even from having lust in our hearts for another man’s wife. The law says to give 10 percent to tithe; grace says be generous. We would never stop you at 10 percent. You can give 20, 30, 40 percent of your income if you’d like.”
Grace is never less than the law, Grace is not freedom to live beneath the law, but to live beyond the law. It shouldn’t startle us that Jesus tells us that we cannot love both God and money, that where our treasure is, there our hearts will be also. He, better than all of us, understands that greed imprisons us and generosity sets us free. He pleads with us to believe that if we try to save our lives, we’ll lose them. But if we will give our lives away, we will find life. God is generous in giving life away, and the life of God always makes us generous. This is the real meaning of having life and having it in abundance – so much life that it cannot be kept to ourselves, but must be given away. This is the genius behind generosity.