Daily Archives: June 24, 2007

On Tithing and the Poor

Dt 14:22-15:1 (New Living Translation)
“You must set aside a tithe of your crops—one-tenth of all the crops you harvest each year. Bring this tithe to the designated place of worship—the place the Lord your God chooses for his name to be honored—and eat it there in his presence. This applies to your tithes of grain, new wine, olive oil, and the firstborn males of your flocks and herds. Doing this will teach you always to fear the Lord your God.

1 Timothy 3:6 Let’s Get Growing

In the early church, at least around the time of Chrysostom who lived around (C 350AD) they recognized at least two stages in a Christian's early life. First you became a catechumen which meant you were being instructed in the ways of Christ and were likely to have received Christ. But first it was required for a time that the catechumen would learn the principles of the faith and prove by evidence of life the sincerity of their fledgling faith. When that catechumen underwent baptism he was called a Neophyte which literally means seedling or "new growth1." It was longer still before that neophyte would be considered a mature Christian. In the context of 1 Timothy 3, it is imperative that an overseer be mature and be seen as holy lest he fall prey to the Devil's schemes. In these two verses we have the two final requirements for an overseer and three results of them being broken.

It all begins with ensuring that the overseer had time to Grow.

Time To Grow

Paul continues the passage saying that the candidate for overseer must not be a new convert. If you've ever heard the word Neophyte2 than you've go the idea of what Paul means by new convert here. The imagery is of a seedling which has only just germinated and burst from its seed. In computer terms we talk about someone like this as a NOOB which means you know very little about computers and are generally at a loss. Paul's use is set somewhat in juxtaposition against the concept of being an "elder" which by definition demands maturity.

When it comes to maturity – nothing takes the place of time. Time in and of itself does not mean maturity as is evidenced in Hebrews 5, but maturity doesn't happen overnight. It's true enough that it takes only a few months to raise a large zucchini; but an oak tree can take decades. But which one would you rather build your house with?