This past month we have had the privilege to get to know a man from the North East of Brazil. He came down here looking for work. It is very common here for people from the north to send down one family member who searches for better paying work, then once he is a little settled they move the whole family down to start over here.
One of our men met this man on the job site and started bringing him to church and a Neb. He is an electrician and so we had him come and do a few little jobs here at our house just to help him while he was searching for work. He is now at the end of his month here and still hasn't found a permanent position and so is planning to return home this weekend.
James has spent a lot of time with him over the past few days and talked extensively with him about salvation. Although he attended a Baptist church in the north he doesn't demonstrate a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. But, he has been faithfully giving his 10% every week he has been at church. Sadly, he might think he is right with God because of his faithfulness in giving.
The evangelical church here is infamous for focusing on tithing. Tithe to keep demons away, tithe for good health, tithe to get rich, tithe for salvation, tithe, tithe, tithe. There is NO talk of grace giving, in RESPONSE to what God has done, sending Christ to die in our place. (2 Cor. 9:7 "Each person should do as he has decided in his heart-not out of regret or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver.")
10% is a great place for us to start our giving but we give because we have already been blessed by God through Jesus Christ in salvation. The New Testament does not compel Christians, but rather invites them to give generously in response to the needs of others, and as an expression of their love for God.
We praise God for our time with this new friend and are encouraged that the seeds of the Gospel by grace through faith will not return void.
Update: As I was typing this post, we received word that our friend was hired for a local business, so I guess God is giving us more time with him!