Daily Devotional – 7/21/17 “Rebuild a nation”

Well, I am in my last five weeks of school (y’all still praying?) and the class I am in is called Redemptive Cinema. Redemptive means the act of saving someone from error or evil. Okay! I am already looking side eye because the last two classes have been, shall I say, eventful. But I get in class last night and reading the syllabus, I am already over it. In walks our professor, for the night, who is filling in for our scheduled professor and he has plans for us to watch a movie and then critique it. Our choices were Blind Side, Invictus or 42; the majority chose Invictus. For those of you (like me) who have never seen it, the movie is about Apartheid in South Africa and Nelson Mandela. So, the movie starts and I am about 22% invested but as the movie plays, it grabs my full attention and I will tell you why. See, the people of South Africa had been experiencing apartheid (discrimination by race) for years. Mandela, freshly released from a 27 year prison stint becomes president. His focus (for the sake of the movie) is to reconcile the people of South Africa.

A hard task for a population of people who have been segregated by race however, Mandela tackles this task because while in prison, he studied his enemy – apartheid. And upon his election as president, he uses the one thing that was important to South Africa, their rugby team, The Springboks. His staff is already looking at him crazy because he has bought in white security guards, he is trusting of the whites and such but he tells them, “Forgiveness reaches the soul and it takes away fear.” See, Mandela said there was no time for petty revenge, it was time to build a nation. Why am I sharing this? Well, because there are too many of us fighting each other because of what the enemy did or is doing and it is causing us to lose focus on the bigger issue and that is, rebuilding a nation. For 27 years Mandela studied his enemy and he knew everything about him. Yes, the South Africans resented the colors the rugby team wore, because to them it represented apartheid (enemy) but in order to rebuild, they would have to take the very bricks that was once thrown at them, even if the colors once represented defeat. It wasn’t for pity but it was to bring unity by way of the very thing that caused division. Yes, some of you have been hurt by folk but it will be hurt that brings you back together. But it has to start with forgiving. The captain of the Springboks said, (you need to hear this), “Drink the tears of defeat, this time, but promise to never taste them again.” It is time to let go, you’ve got to forgive and rebuild. Stop looking at the ash pile, of what burned because you’ve got some rebuilding to do.

Daily Devotional – 7/18/17 – What do I tithe?

My daughter and I were having a conversation a few days ago about tithing. She had recently spoken to a young lady who said she stopped going to church because no one could explain to her how tithing went from fruits/vegetables and such to money. Before you go there, this young lady’s point was, why the churches of today are so focused on money when tithing wasn’t originally this. **Disclaimer, these are just my thoughts. ** Well, this is where my issue comes in because so many of our millennials are leaving the church in record numbers because they cannot get answers or understanding to things that matter to them. Personally, I was never taught how to tithe or how to know where and when to sow seeds; even though I was raised in the church. But, I do know that tithing changed to physical money when we, most of us, stopped basing our eating on what we harvested in the field. We work, therefore, we receive a paycheck that equates to money. So, the overall issue of tithing should not be whether it is money or harvest because your harvest is money.

Now, we move from this argument to the question that everybody has, yet not often asked, “How much am I really obligated to give?” Well, the bible says in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” In other words, will I go to hell if I don’t tithe 10%? The short answer is no. What you tithe is between you and God and this is why you have to ask Him and let Him lead you because He can equip you with the ability to “tithe” more than 10%. The other question, “Do we have a responsibility to care for those over us?” Yes. The bible says in 1 Timothy 5:17-18, “The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.” Taking care of the worship places and those who lead them is a part of our ‘owe’ to God but what you give and when, is between you and God. Think on it like this. In your home, you pay bills. When you have other adults who live there, you often times, expect them to chip in on said bills in order to ensure the house runs. Well, in church, the leader is the head and he, along with you (members) have a responsibility to ensure the house runs. Thus asking you to tithe. Plus, you cannot get upset when your opinion does not count, on how the house should be taken care of, if you are not putting anything into said house.