“But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.” —Luke 11:42
What speaks so loudly to me here is that both justice and tithing have to do with my money. This is utterly crucial to see. Virtually all justice issues are money issues. If you want to fight the injustice of killing unborn children, it will cost money—just like abortion providers will lose millions of dollars if their commodity is taken away. If you want to fight for justice around the world to give people with less advantage than you better opportunities for food and homes and health-care and literacy and freedom, it will cost money. Justice issues are money issues. You can’t be committed to justice and think that everything over the tithe is given by God to expand your luxuries. It is given so that you have enough for your needs and an abundance for pursuing justice for people and love for God (2 Corinthians 9:8).
The Essence of Jesus’ Teaching
So Jesus was not saying: Big issues like justice are important and little issues like money are less important. Justice IS a money issue! He was saying: get your heart right about loving God and caring about how people are treated, and then the details of how you handle your money—including your tithing—will be praiseworthy and not a religious camouflage for selfishness.