“So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)
How we handle money reveals a great deal about the depth of our commitment to Christ. That’s why Jesus often talked about money. Money mattered then every bit as much as it matters today. Regrettably, money matters too much for some of us today – but in the wrong ways.
Tithing is a controversial spiritual principle that many church leaders shun because they think it might run off prospective members, particularly young adults. I don’t agree and fortunately my pastor does not agree either since he focused on it in his sermon last week. He understands that this important Christian principle is not being stressed in our churches anymore. In fact, the Barna Group reports that only 5% of adult Americans actually tithe.
Some believers argue that the whole notion of tithing is an Old Testament practice, largely from Mosaic Law, and does not apply to any of us who live under grace. They don’t realize that the whole concept of tithing came long before the Law when Abraham tithed on his war-spoils to Melchizedek, a Priest of the God Most High. By the way, the Bible records that Jesus was a priest in the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 5:6)
Actually, tithing IS also discussed in Old Testament Law AND it is reinforced by Jesus in the New Testament, who said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets, I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will be any means disappear until everything is accomplished.” (Matthew 5:17-18)
The fact is both the Old and New Testaments reinforce that God expects us to tithe on our income. It’s not negotiable. The problem is that we get so bogged down in the legalism of tithing that we miss the whole point. Tithing is not something that we have to do. The born-again Christian should want to tithe.
So what if we don’t tithe but want to tithe? I faced that very same question twenty-three years ago. I was convicted to tithe but the only way I could become a tither was to turn my back on my creditors, which is also unbiblical. I didn’t know what to do and realized that I was spiritually between a rock and a hard place.
I decided to seek pastoral counseling. I attended a Presbyterian church when I came to know the Lord so I sought the counsel of my Presbyterian minister. He agreed that I had become a slave to my lenders and could not tithe at the expense of my creditors. He reminded me, however, that God knew the desires of my heart and advised me to put a little more in the plate when I could. “Let God take care of that problem,” he told me. Within three years, God found a way to help me pay my bills AND tithe.
We need to remember that God is not as concerned about the tithe as he is about our hearts when it comes to tithing. He’s much more interested in our attitude towards tithing than how much we put in the plate. Sure he expects us to tithe because tithing is an outward and visible sign of our acknowledgment that it really belonged to him all along. Frankly, the whole purpose of tithing is to teach us that God wants to enjoy first priority in our lives, which is why the words, first fruits, are often used synonymously with tithes.
The Lord expects nothing less than the best from us when it comes to tithing, and he wants us to do with an attitude of joy. If we do, God says, “See if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” (Malachi 3:10)
I believe that promise because my own Christian walk has taught me that you will never out-give God.Share on Facebook