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Daily Devotional for December 14


December 14                                             Matthew 23:13-26

There was a man who followed to the letter every law he could
find. He was especially scrupulous about his tithe. At the end
of every week he would carefully count up all his income:
salary, tips, gifts, even coins found in the road. Painstakingly
he figured out exactly ten percent of the total, and with a great
and obvious show, dropped it ponderously into the collec-
tion plate.

This man was careful not to tithe twice on any income. He
tithed on his gross income, so that if he got a tax refund, he
did not have to tithe on it. He was careful to give God exactly
what God asked for, ten percent, no less, and certainly no

Each time he was stopped by a panhandler, he said to the poor
unfortunate, "I have a job and I tithe to my church, I have
nothing left for you!" Each time the March of Dimes or the
Cancer Society came to his door for a contribution, he turned
them down, saying, "I give my tithe to my church." Each time
issues of social justice were raised at church, he looked out
the window and wished the service were over. Each time there
was a family in need at church, he told the pastor to find money
for the family somewhere in the church budget, adding that
he had no extra to give.

He died as he had lived. People came to his funeral out of
obligation, but no one spoke of justice, mercy, or faith. His
tithe alone, given under compulsion and with a mean spirit,
was all anyone could praise him for.

                          Great Giver of all Gifts,
              help me to tithe on my income without
          neglecting "the weightier matters of the law,
                justice and mercy and faith." Amen.

From The Road to Emmaus - An inclusive devotional Edited by Joseph W. Houle

Emmaus House of Prayer - Washington D.C.198

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