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COMMISIONED by CHRIST 4 SHARING HIS LIFE/KEEPING IT REAL ADMIST THE LIES (II Cor. 5:17-21))

PROSPERITY (PART 15): Tithing

Posted by Gabriel (G²) on November 14, 2007

For those watching for the first time, the video wasn’t real. Simply satire being used to illustrate a point…….& the point is how often is the money people invest in the church actually used for the purposes that are of God’s House? In no way am I condemming church buildings, food distributed in churchs, media, or other things we’ve all grown accostomed to in the church today……but I think we should all stop to ask ourselves “Are the things I/MY CHURCH value & invest in the same as God’s???”

        Of course there’s nothing wrong with supporting other ministries which God’s Word places at a premimum, such as improving relationships,  developing godly marriages, identifying strategies for job/career, youth ministry. That’s a vital part of the kindgom og God……..

However, it should be noted that one may rarely hear of ministry needing to be focused on other things less “glamorous”. Is the money going to helping the poor or the hurting? How about ministries where abused/orphaned children are lost??? Or into spreading missionary work? Or helping troubled teenagers? Is the money soley being used for building maintenance or food 4 the congregation at church socials? The list could go on, but I hope people get the idea.

For some excellent articles on the subject, please consider these:

http://www.generousgiving.org/articles/display.asp?id=282

 http://www.generousgiving.org/articles/display.asp?id=306

http://www.generousgiving.org/articles/display.asp?id=202

http://www.generousgiving.org/articles/display.asp?id=193

http://www.generousgiving.org/articles/display.asp?id=226

http://www.generousgiving.org/articles/display.asp?id=239

http://www.generousgiving.org/articles/display.asp?id=62

http://www.generousgiving.org/articles/display.asp?id=258

On the flip side, there’s also a danger when people may seen how church funds may be mishandled & twist Scripture into saying that they’ll not give heavily to the church, which is the Bride of Christ. And that’s dangerous…….whether or not one’s church believes in things such as tithing or not seems like a mute point to me in light of all the examples in Scripture where sacrifical giving/being a godly steward of one’s finances is the focus…….& seeing that Jesus/THE NT RAISED THE BAR, debating the issue of whether or not I have to give 10% seems TRIVIAL. For the majority of us who live in an affluent society, 10% would be FAR TOO LITTLE…..

For some SOLID ARTICLES on the subjec, consider these:

http://www.epm.org/resources-money_tithing.html

http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByDate/1995/923_Toward_the_Tithe%20and%20beyond
http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByDate/1982/331_I_Seek_Not_What is yours butYou
http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Articles/ByDate/2007/2090_Money_Markets%20and%20Ministry
http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByDate/1991/741_These_You_Ought to have Done without Neglecting the Later
http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByDate/1982/371_You_Shall_Go_%20Forth%20Leaping%20Like%20Cattle
http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByDate/1987/616_You_Will_Be_%20a%20Land%20of%20Delight

Also, I’d like for everyone to consider these videos by Randy ALcorn on the subject:

I thought he had some pretty worthwile things to say on the subject.

By no means am I an expert on the subject, but here’s an interesting article I found on the subject that I found to be most insightful on the subject. Personally, I believe that there’s nothing wrong with Christians who CHOOSE to tithe (i.e. giving a set percentage of their income daily to the church/local fellowship they attend) or with churches who ENCOURAGE NOTE: Not meaning “COMMAND”, as if forced to do so and in a manner similar to a PROTECTION racket, where those who do not tithe are harassed, shunned, or wrongly attacked from those in the church as it has often happened in many)……I do so myself and I can honestly say that I’ve personally seen nothing but blessings come about from it in my own personal walk with the Lord and in various other ways that are often hard to explain…… Though many may disagree with it, I think that the article many worthwile things to consider when it comes to debating the practice of tithing and what relevance, if any, it may have for today….

I’ll share my thoughts near the end of the post, though be warned since they’re not as organized as I’d like them to be………so don’t be surprised if I’m bouncing around the place…..

http://www.generousgiving.org/articles/display.asp?id=308

http://www.thechurchyouknow.com/video/tithing.html

http://www.generousgiving.org/page.asp?sec=43&page=45#5

“Tithing and Generosity

Tithing (out of a can fall short of Christian generosity. The commandment to love the Lord our God wholeheartedly and our neighbors as ourselves is the ultimate standard by which we must measure and constantly reevaluate our giving. As Jesus said, “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40). So even faithful tithing or other secondary gauges for giving can prove arbitrary or misleading, for the commandment to love God wholeheartedly can never be reduced to giving a mere percentage of our incomes.

Even in Old Testament times, 10 percent was not the “basic standard” or “starting point” for faithful giving. Biblical scholars point out that there were actually two or three different tithes required in the law, adding up to 23.3 percent of a family’s income (Craig Blomberg, Neither Poverty nor Riches, 46). In addition to these tithes, the law anticipated an array of other obligatory sacrifices and freewill offerings as well (e.g., Leviticus 1-7).

As we think about the tithe in the Old Testament, it is also important to remember that Old Testament Israel was an agricultural economy. While it is true that giving in Scripture is generally based upon one’s increase (cf. 2 Corinthians 9:11), the tithe was more specifically connected to the increase of the promised land and its annual harvest (Leviticus 27:30-32; Deuteronomy 14:22; 26:1-2).

Because the tithe came from the land, it seems the poor and destitute would not have been expected (or even able) to tithe unless they owned land from which to reap a harvest in the first place. Of course, this does not mean that poor, landless people were not expected to give in other ways, since the law both commanded and anticipated a number of other offerings as well (Leviticus 1-7; cf. 2 Corinthians 8:1-5). However, it does suggest that Israelites who were not landowners were not required to give in the form of a tithe. In fact, landless day-laborers were typically among the “poor” who would have stood to gain from the portion of the tithe used for community meals and shared with the needy (Deuteronomy 14:26, 28; 26:10-13).

This brings us to the question of how the tithes were actually used. Numbers 18:8-32 explains that the tithes were given to the Levites, who had no inheritance in the land. In turn, the Levites would give a tenth of the tithe to the priests, who also were commanded to tithe from what had been given to them (Numbers 18:26-28). This shows us that “even ‘full-time religious workers’ were subject to the laws of tithing” (Blomberg, 46).

In Deuteronomy 14:22-29, a tithe of crops and livestock was to be shared in celebration with one’s family and the community—especially the Levites. “Every third year however, the tithes would go to the local storehouses so that they could be distributed not just to the Levites but also to other poor and marginalized people: ‘the aliens, the fatherless and the widows’ (Deuteronomy 14:28-29)” (Blomberg, 46). Thus, the tithes were used for three main purposes:

to support the full-time religious workers of the day,
to provide a meal for community celebration and religious fellowship and
to provide for the needs of the poor.
How can we apply what we have learned about the tithe in Old Testament?

In general, there seem to be three main points to remember. First, as we attempt to understand the contemporary significance of the tithe, we should resist the impulse to “quantify” the greatest commandment. Regardless of whether we are rich or poor, gainfully employed or buried in debt, the command to love God without reservation is the ultimate standard that should gauge our giving. Faithful tithing does not free us to use the other 90 percent of our incomes as we please, for God’s standard of generosity cannot be reduced to 10 percent. As Jesus said:
Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone. (Luke 11:42; cf. Matthew 23:23)
Second, the tithe does not necessarily apply to everyone in the same way. For example, the fact that landless Israelites would not have tithed is instructive for us today. Pastors and teachers should exercise caution when they preach and teach on “the tithe”.

Especially when counseling those who are wealthy or poor, pastors should explain that the tithe only represents a fraction of what the Bible teaches about giving. Accordingly, faithful tithing can lead wealthy Christians (which includes almost all Americans) into a false sense of self-righteousness if they mistakenly think of the tithe as a “one-size-fits-all” gift that fulfills all of their financial responsibilities before God. On the other hand, failure to tithe can lead others who are truly poor into a false sense of guilt. In light of the potential for misunderstanding, pastors should not overemphasize the tithe or present it as the Bible’s inflexible standard for giving but, rather, should remind both rich and poor alike that the New Testament praises people who voluntarily express love for God and neighbor by giving sacrificially (Mark 12:33-44; Luke 21:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8:1-5).

We must all remember:

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.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)

Finally, the use of our tithes and offerings ought to reflect the three ways in which the tithes were used in ancient Israel. However, as we seek to reflect these ways of giving, we should remember: Just as the “first and greatest commandment” is the Bible’s ultimate standard for measuring our giving, the second greatest commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39) provides the ultimate standard for evaluating the various ways that we give. In other words, it is impossible to love God wholeheartedly unless we consider the needs of others to be as important as our own.

For example, just as the Israelites supported the priests and Levites, who had no other source of income, we must use our giving to support ministers of the gospel and other religious workers in the same way that we would want to be supported (1 Corinthians 9:13-14).

Similarly, just as one-tenth of every Israelite family’s crops and livestock was set aside for community celebration and fellowship, we must prioritize hospitality as an important way of giving, especially toward the poor and friendless (Luke 14:12-14).

Last but not least, we must love the poor as we love ourselves. Just as the Israelites’ tithes were distributed locally to poor and marginalized people, our giving should support our local church diaconate ministry as well as other mercy ministries and poor individuals. Whenever we encounter the needs of others, especially the poor, we must love them as we love ourselves, which means spending ourselves on them as Jesus spent himself on us (2 Corinthians 8:9; see especially Matthew 19:21; 25:31-46; Mark 10:21; Luke 12:33-34; 18:22-24; 19:8; Acts 2:42-47, 4: 34-37; Galatians 2:10; Hebrews 13:16; James 1:26-27, 1 John 3:16-18).

I believe that the tithe still applies, but that doesn’t mean that I believe it applies to us in the same way that it did in the Old Testament; The idea/principle of the tithe is still present in the New Testament (Matthew 23:23), but it is never explicitly applied to believers. Instead, almost all Christians are called to more extravagant freewill giving in response to the gospel of the Lord Jesus, based on faith in God as provider (2 Corinthians 9:6-10)….and I personally believe that tithing is only the starting blocks for a much more extravagant New Testament SACRIFICAL GENEROUSITY….the real thing that ALL OF US SHOULD BE AIMING FOR. The tithe was never the standard of Old Testament generosity, nor is it the standard of Christian generosity today.

Tithing may be a helpful guideline as we strive to develop a lifestyle of even greater giving….and the practice of giving a set percentage of one’s income in order to develop a greater disciplince of sacrifical giving in the future and “excell in the grace of giving” is something that I personally believe tithing can accomplish if one is lacking a disciplined lifestyle/practice of giving. It’s like Randy Alcorn says in his book “Materials/Possessions:

Without guideposts, where do you start your giving? Why not start where God started Israel? Why not start with the tithe? I view the tithe of 10% as I view a child’s first steps. His first steps are not his last, neither are they his best, but they are a fine beginning. So is the tithe. Tithing is for many the first toddler’s step of stewardship. It is the training wheels on the bicycle of true giving. It may not be a home run, but it gets you on base—which is a lot further than the majority of church members ever get. “

Nonetheless, it was and is possible to tithe faithfully while neglecting true, biblical generosity (as Jesus pointed out to the Pharisees; see note on Matthew 23:23)……

First, a close look at the Old Testament and other ancient Jewish evidence shows that the tithe (as a mandatory gift equaling a tenth of one’s income) only applied to crops and animals from the promised land, not to all income in any time and place. Moreover, 10 percent was never “the standard,” for there were three tithes (two every year, one every three years) and many other offerings and gifts that were also part of Jewish life. In the Old Testament and today, God usually requires far more from his people than the 10 percent we typically assume.

For those who wonder “Who would have tithed in the Bible?”, apparently, only those who owned land in ancient Israel (the promised land itself) would have tithed an average of 23.3 percent of agricultural produce. There is no evdence that the tithe was ever applied to those who didn’t own land, or to those who did not live in Israel, with one exception: the Levites would give a tenth of the tithe to the priests, who also were commanded to tithe from what had been given to them (Numbers 18:26-28). This shows us that “even full time religious workers were subject to the laws of tithing”. However, Israelites who had become poor and lost their land or those who had moved to cities and engaged in non-agricultural trades almost certainly would have been exempt from tithe under Old Testament law. This casts considerable doubt on the applicability of a “10 percent” tithe for all Christians today…….and again, Instead of settling for a hard-and-fast legal requirement of 10 percent, we should instead pay careful attention to the New Testament’s radical teaching on generosity.

For those wondering “Who would have been exempt from the tithe in the Bible?”, the reality is that those who did not own land in Israel, the promised land itself. In the Old Testament and in early Jewish literature, tithe was not applied to all but only to landowners in Israel, who tithed off the increase of the land, i.e., what God’s promised land produced for them. Accordingly, there is no record of tithing from servants and other non-landowners, widows, sojourners and others in the land since these all received from others. (When the Levites and priests tithe from their share, God promises that he will count to them as “the product of the winepress or the threshing floor,” Numbers 18:27, 30, i.e., a tithe on the produce of the land.) Nor is there any evidence that tithe applied to all money/income, such as artisans in the cities or those who lost their land and became day laborers.

This is why the Pharisees are said to tithe their herbs in Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:42; they only tithed off what they produced in the promised land, as the Old Testament law commanded. When Jesus tells them they should have tithed, the tithe is only affirmed for Pharisees, i.e., relatively successful landowners living under the Law, just as Jesus tells the leper who was healed to present himself to the priests for verification of his purity (again in obedience to the Law). Note that Jesus does not tell them they should have tithed on everything: he tells them they should pursue justice and mercy, loving their neighbor as themselves—a far weightier requirement. Thus, there is no evidence in the Bible that the tithe applied to every single person and to all forms of income. Efforts today to enforce the tithe as a blanket requirement on everything we receive (income, gifts, etc.) are therefore inappropriate, as is the requirement that even the poorest of the poor should tithe. Of course, since we live in an age of unprecedented prosperity, giving less than 10 percent will probably leave most American Christians far short of Jesus’ inflexible requirements: loving God with all we are and loving our neighbor as we love ourselves, in light of Jesus’ sacrificial love for us (see notes on 1 John )

For those who ask “Didn’t Jesus affirm that Christians should tithe?”, the reality is “NO”…..in fact, Jesus expected much MORE from his followers. His command to love others as we love ourselves and as he loved us (John 13:44) is a far higher standard than the tithe.

It is interesting to note that none of the four passages in the New Testament where the tithe is mentioned requires Christians to tithe. Nor do these same passages expect Christians to stop at tithing. Luke 11:42 and Matthew 23:23 recall Jesus’ condemnation of faithful tithers for failing to do justice and mercy; Jesus tells them they should indeed tithe, but he also would have told them that they should indeed circumcise their sons, sacrifice in the temple, participate in Jewish festivals and Sabbath observance, and other such Law-keeping practices no longer mandated for Christians (see, for example, Luke 5:12-14).

Here and in Luke 18:12 (where the Pharisee goes above and beyond tithing on fruit of the land to “everything”; in the same verse he goes above and beyond on fasting by doing more than was required), our attitude and kingdom agenda of justice and mercy are more important than tithing according to Old Testament laws.

Finally, Hebrews 7:4-10 does not advocate that Christians should tithe but specifically says it was something done by Jewish people for Levitical priests on the basis of law; the writer then uses Abraham’s tithe to Melchizedek as allegorical proof of Melchizedek’s superiority to Levitical priests. Instead of settling for 10 percent, we should note the command to give generously and radically, just as Jesus gave to us: loving God with all he had and loving his neighbor—even his enemies—as himself, just as Jesus did (Matthew 22:37-40; 2 Corinthians 8:9; 1 John 3:16-19). John the Baptist raises the standard of giving to 50 percent (Luke 3:11), and Jesus exhorts us to give 100 percent (Luke 21:1-4).

So the scarce mention of the tithe in the New Testament is evidence not that God expects less of us today, but that far more is possible. The tithe is still a helpful guideline insofar as it reminds us to give proportionally to the Lord as he blesses us, since he owns it all anyway. But by New Testament standards, settling for 10 percent can be a recipe for condemnation from Jesus if we are neglected true generosity, just as it was for the tithing Pharisees (Matthew 23:23).

Will God really “throw open the floodgates of heaven” if I start to tithe? Perhaps. But we must recognize that this oft-quoted passage (Malachi 3:10) was written not as a blanket promise to Christians in all times and all places, but to a very specific group of people in history—the impoverished, insecure Israelites living in the land after their return from exile in Babylon. Many “health-and-wealth” teachers today misuse this passage to guarantee that God will give us prosperity in this life if we only start to tithe, especially to their ministries. (Other pastors use this passage less controversially as an encouragement to people who hesitate to give.) But do these same teachers also promise that God will send us into exile in Babylon if we don’t tithe? Such promises tend to ignore the context of Malachi 3, which is tied intimately to life in the promised land of Israel after the people returned from exile. Interestingly, God requires more here than just tithe (Malachi 3:5): He requires his people to be generous in mercy and justice. Similarly, the Pharisees during Jesus’ time were scrupulous tithers, but Jesus told them that they were condemned, for they preferred giving a fixed percentage of crops to the more demanding, more radical and more important (or as Jesus said, “weightier”) pursuit of justice and mercy and the love of God with their resources (Matthew 23:23; Luke 11:42). The command to give generously is not limited to a set percentage either in the Old Testament or the New. Instead, we are called to love our neighbor as we ourselves want to be loved (1 John 3:16-18), just as Jesus loved us (2 Corinthians 8:9). Of course, God in his gracious sovereignty may decide to bless us if we give generously. For instance, the apostle Paul taught the Corinthians they would be blessed if they contributed to the collection for the poor, so that they would “be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion” (2 Corinthians 9:11). But we should not tithe or practice any other form of giving solely for the economic benefits it might bring; our chief goal should be to glorify God (2 Corinthians 9:12-15).

Although God desires to bless, he withholds his gifts when we fail to use them righteously. The Israelites had withheld their tithes and offerings, and so, God would not let his blessing roll down. “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much” (Luke 16:10). Still, God desired to bless his people. He even dared them to seek his blessings through obedience and faithfulness with little: “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. ‘Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and 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.’ ” Giving to God is never a disappointment. The language and imagery that Malachi uses here are important because they capture a reality that we often forget: God’s riches are innumerable. When God withholds blessings, the problem is not that he doesn’t have enough resources; the problem lies elsewhere. Israel was far too easily satisfied with the things they kept for themselves; they were untrustworthy with the tithes and offerings, and had missed out on the joy of giving back to God. We should note that in our day, many “health-and-wealth” proponents misapply this passage by arguing that God wants all of his people to be materially wealthy. But this misses the point. Great wealth can be a dangerous distraction from true faith (Mark 10:17-27), and so, withholding this obstacle is often a true blessing. Rather than teaching that God wants everyone to be rich, this passage shows us that the Father desires our ultimate salvation, and because he seeks our good, he requires spiritual sincerity. God knows that we cannot be happy if we are not righteous. Only after true submission takes place will God bless us through the secondary means that are at his disposal. However, this does not mean that we will necessarily receive a reward of material wealth in the present. We cannot ignore the fact that there are those who are faithfully generous with their resources but still suffer terrible calamities and from material needs. Here, the essence of God’s promise is that we will never be disappointed by obedience. We cannot out-give God. See Malachi theme essays Robbing God and Abundant Blessing.

For those wondering “If I am not required to tithe, am I free to give whatever I want?”…….and believe “Yes”, but this doesn’t mean we give whatever we wish, no questions asked. The apostle Paul did say, “Each one should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). But this begs the question, “How and why should I want to give?” Paul answers this for us in the surrounding passage: He presses the Corinthians to give by talking about the giving of others like the Macedonians, who gave generously with great joy despite their own poverty and suffering (2 Corinthians 8:1-5). He then lays down his aces: “You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who for our sakes became poor so that we by his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). We are to be inspired, says Paul, by Jesus’ own sacrificial example, which we are commanded to follow (Matthew 16:21-28; 1 John 3:16-18).

He then argues that we who have been given much should give generously since this was God’s design (2 Corinthians 8:14). Moreover, the call to generosity is one of the chief ways our “righteousness endures forever” (2 Corinthians 9:9, quoting Psalm 112:9), and God can never be out-given, for he will ensure we reap what we sow (2 Corinthians 9:8). Above all, we can produce praise for our Lord as the world sees his goodness through his people, as we are “made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion” (2 Corinthians 9:11). So the question is not just how much we want to give, but how much we are guided and inspired to give based on the example of Jesus and others, and God’s promises that our giving always will be to our benefit and his glory.

It must be said that people often say “The Bible says that each man should give what he has decided in his own heart to give. So I am free to give as much or as little as I choose, even not at all.”, ….buut while It is true that the apostle Paul says, “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion” (2 Corinthians 9:7)., it does not mean that the apostle is giving us liberty to be as selfish or as stingy as we like. Curiously, this verse is situated in the middle of a passage urging Christians to give generously (vv 6-15). How can this be? Paul’s point is not to give license for selfishness, but to cultivate a love of generosity within his listeners. He does not want to “hold their hands” through the giving process. Rather, he wants them to feel free, creative and excited to give far beyond the ten percent benchmark. Because Jesus has accomplished our redemption and the age of the Spirit has come, Paul’s logic goes, appealing to the tithe laws is unnecessary. Yes, this is a sort of freedom unfamiliar to the Old Testament Jews. But it is a freedom to excel in good deeds, not a freedom to sin.

For those who ask “If I choose to tithe, does God expect more than a tithe from me?”, I believe that For most Christians the answer is a resounding “yes.” The Old Testament sets forth a system of tithes (10 percent offerings). For this reason, many Christians conclude that by giving 10 percent, they fulfill God’s requirement and are absolved of further responsibility. But interestingly, the tithe is mentioned only rarely in the New Testament, not because God expects less from the majority of us, but because far more is possible, particularly given the fact that the Old Testament actually speaks of three tithes totaling 23.3 percent of agricultural income.

Because Jesus has accomplished our redemption and the age of the Spirit has come, appealing to the tithe laws is trivial. The standard of giving in the New Testament is in many ways much more radical, rooted in the command to love God with all we are and love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:34-40; see also 1 John 3:16-18). John the Baptist raises the bar to 50 percent (Luke 3:11), the Lord Jesus 100 percent (Luke 21:1-4), and the apostle Paul “whatever a man purposes in his heart to give” (2 Corinthians 9:7) in light of the truth that God gives us wealth to share with others.

“At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality” (2 Corinthians 8:14).

New Testament believers have more of revelation and of the Holy Spirit than the Old Testament believers did, so God reasonably envisions greater things from us. Those who choose to tithe should think of it as the “training wheels” for a career of ever-growing Christian giving.

For those wondering “If I choose to tithe, what are some healthy ways to use the tithe? , “In general, we need to trust and support our church leaders, since this is largely their domain. For those in church leadership, there may be temptation first to build a budget based on our perceived needs and then to try to meet it with our tithe. But this may not be the best model. Our perceived needs likely will be influenced by ministry models, past experiences and what we see at other churches or organizations while the Bible’s priorities may not even play an important role. Therefore, leaders should diligently pay attention to Scripture’s priorities for our offerings and tithes, prayerfully keeping God’s word before us as we weigh our use of God’s money.

For those wondering “If I choose to tithe, what are some unhealthy ways to use the tithe?” one must realize that If we apply the tithe to ourselves or to others as a blanket requirement, as a “bare minimum” for every single person regardless of income or circumstance; or if we apply the tithe as a means of making God happy, we are going beyond what Scripture says. Similarly, if we think that tithing excuses us from giving anything else, we are probably in danger of being condemned, just like the Pharisees, who tithed but neglected “the weightier matters of the law” with their money by failing to practice justice and mercy and the love of God (Matthew 23:23; Luke 11:42). This is particularly true of those who have little income but live off a large net worth yet refuse to give from their net worth because the tithe “only applies to income,” not their net worth. If we as church leaders only allow people to tithe for church buildings and pastor salaries, we have missed the important emphasis on the poor, the sojourner and the widow, as well as the community-building aspects of the tithe through feasts with those from all classes and economic levels of society.”

If the way in which we spend our tithes does not impact others (especially the very poor or those living off welfare or disability), we are missing the spirit of the Old Testament tithe, which was given to bless just such people.”

http://www.generousgiving.org/page.asp?sec=43&page=45#5

Again, what I’ve offered is what I’ve read/understand in the Word thus far, and of course, seeing that I’m human, my understanding may be falliable…… but then again the same goes for everyone posting on this site thus far. As long as we’re all after truth and seeking to be people pleasing in the sight of the Lord, it’s all good….

For more info on the subject, please consider this excerpt from Randy Alcorn’s Book “Money, Possessions, & Stewardship”:

“Before considering whethers Christians should be encouraged to tithe today, I think we should look into some facts, judging from statistics at Barna Research Institute looking into the giving habits of 2001,

Compared to 1999m the mean per capita donation to churches dropped by 19% in 2000
Among born-again adults, there was a 44 percent rise in those who gave nothing
Comparing giving habits of those in their twenties, forties, and sixties was revealing: “Busters are substantially less likely (36%) than Boomers (58%), Builders (68%), or Seniors (68%) to give to a church in a given month.” Between 30 and 50percent of active church attentender gave nothing. And the 70% of Christians have no wills at the time they diem they don’t leave any money to their church or Christian Ministries. Many of the remaining 30% who do have wills desiginate no money to God’s Work.
All of us have to acknowledge that there has been a general DECLINE in how much Christians have been excited about/seeking to give in gradual years, and, though I can’t say the same about everyone else, this is alarming to me…..”

‘I’ve often heard many who’ve argued angrily that tithing is legalism (which I think is inaccurate…….for although It is certainly true that Jesus and Paul (along with the other biblical authors) condemn legalism very harshly (Matthew 23, Galatians 3), Legalism is trusting in one’s own good works to attain righteousness before God while Gospel, on the other hand, is trusting in God’s work to attain righteousness…and it is good to pursue righteousness provided you must do it in the right way–and which is why it seems to be unreasonable for one to claim tithing as a a form of legalism, when the reality is that Tithing can simply be an act of obedience to God…..and Done in the right way—trusting in God for strength—it is a beautiful act while Done in the wrong way—trusting in oneself for righteousness—it is an ugly and arrogant act….for Legalism lies not in the act of giving, but inside our own hearts.)”

‘For those against tithing and claiming “It’s bondage” and we’ve been liberated into “grace giving” to give whatever we feel like and whenever, I think that we should pause seeing that the Isrealites’ triple tithes amounted to 23 percent of their income—in contrast to the average 2.5 percent of giving of American giving…and to me, it’s alarming to see statitcis that seem to give the impression that the LAW was about 10 times more effective than the “grace” we’ve been preaching. Even in using 10% as the measure, it seems that the Isrealites were four times more responsive to the LAW of Moses than the average AMERICAN is to the “Grace of Christ”

“When we as NT Believers, living in a far more affluent society than ancient Israel, freely give only a FRACTION of what was required by the poorest OT believers, perhaps we need to reevaluate our concept of “grace giving”. And, when we consider that we have God’s indwelling Spirit of God and they didn’t, the contrast becomes even more glaring….AND ADD TO THAT HOW EVEN THE GIVING THAT MANY AMERICAN CHRISTIANS ARE INTO DOESN’T EVEN COMPARE TO THE VOLUNTARY GIVING THAT TOOK PLACE IN THE OT BY MANY outside of tithing and how many were caught up into it………God’s expectation that his people give substantially never changed in the NT.”

“The pro-grace or anti-legalism trump card rings hollow when it attempts to normalize wealthy Christians giving less than the poorest Israelite, and while appearing to take the theological high ground, it often seemst to be effectively saying that THE POWER OF NT GRACE IS LESS THAN THAT OF LAW……such a view is an insult to the saving and empowering work of Christ.”

“Honestly, we all tend to naturally embrace arguments that serve our pre-conceived self interests, and I think that it may behoove many of us against tithing to examine our hearts to discover whether when we say “Tithing is not for today” or “We should be grace givers” that we are not using grace as a license to sin or cluth tighter to material wealth, especially in light of how the NT clearly demostrates that Christians are called upon to be more sacrifical and generous, not less that those in the OT.”

“If we can learn to give without tithing, cool. but the giving track record of American Christians clearly indicates we have not learned to give….that, in fact, we’ve learned not to give….and though some fine Bible teachers preach against encouraging tithing,….though they themselves may be strong givers, I don’t think they may realize the effects of their words on those who have no concept of disciiplined giving. Trust me, I’ll listen to any Christian who says “TITHING ISN’T MEANT FOR TODAY”—provided that they give REGUARLY themselves and that their giving exceeds the tithe. But, honestly, there often seems to be a hidden agenda behind the protest….at best, innocent deception on the issue of Money and Stewardship.”

If we’re to not support tithing, we need to make sure that we get accross the fact that the GOD HAS NOT LOWERED HIS STANDARDS OF GIVING……and that we must learn to become SACRIFICAL GIVERS TO THE LORD’S WORK (NOTE: Much of what was said is based off of what Randy Alcorn pointed out in his most EXCELLENT BOOK “Money/POSSESSIONS,)”

For EXCELLENT STUDIES (though there may be some things folks disagree on), go to his site here:

http://www.epm.org/articles/tithing.html

http://www.epm.org/articles/titheohs.html

http://www.epm.org/articles/tithepoor.html

http://www.epm.org/articles/titheohs.html

http://www.epm.org/articles/robgod.html

http://www.epm.org/articles/Tithe_debt.html

http://www.epm.org/articles/qa-tithe_giving.html

http://www.epm.org/articles/04Fall_Newsletter/giving_less_than_a_tithe.html

http://www.epm.org/articles/Give_10percent_more_less.html

Can the practice of tithing be abused? Of course….

REMEMBER THE ISSUE OF CORBAN???? Matthew 15:5-6

Anyone making a vow was required to dedicate money to God’s temple that otherwise would have gone to support his parents. Sadly, it became a religiously acceptable way to neglect parents, circumventing the child’s responsibility to them.

Although the action—giving money to God—seemed worthy and no doubt conferred prestige on the giver, many did it with wrong reasons. It was more important to put money in the temple treasury than to help needy parents, despite God commanding honoring fathers/mothers (Exodus 20:12) and caring for those in need (Leviticus 25:35-43).

It’s quite possible to practice godly principles for the wrong reasons. Like Jesus made clear (Matthew 23:23-24), it’s possible to obey the details of the law but still be disobedient in general behavior. Precision/faithfulness about giving 10% of my money to God could happen while refusing to give one minute of my time in helping others.

And, though I still believe tithing is important, giving a tithe doesn’t exempt me from fulfilling God’s other directives. Though we should give money and time to God, it must never be used as an excuse to neglect our responsibilities, for obviously helping those in need is one of the most important ways to honor God

In line with that, consider the dynamics of how the church operated back in the day…..

In I Corinthians 16:1-4, the Christians in Jerusalem were suffering from poverty and famine, so Paul was COLLECTING money for them (Romans 15:25-31; II Corinthians 8:4, II Corinthians 9:1). He even suggested that believers set aside a certain amount each week and give it to the church until he arrived to take it to Jerusalem, which he did eventually (Acts 21:18 and Acts 24:17).

Even more interesting is the fact that the churches in Macedonia—Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea—had given money even though they were POOR themselves and had given more than expected.

I think this ties into the subject of tithing because it deals with the subject that no one has touched on yet: sacrifical giving—they were poor themselves but they wanted to help. The point of giving is not so much the amount we give but how and why we give. God does not want gifts given grudgingly, but rather He wants us to give as these churches did—-out of dedication to Christ, love for fellow believers, the joy of helping those in need, as well as the fact that it’s the good and right thing to do.

I say all that because, though there has been plenty of abuse of tithing/offerings in the church, I have personally seen that many times people against churches encouraging tithing (not necessarily 10% but a fixed amount of some sort) because they don’t want to give up a certain part of THEIR MONEY (even though it’s on loan from God to begin with.

We understand that there has been much abuse that has taken place in the church with tithes/offerings. Still, When people boldly assert statements like “all churches asking for tithing just want your money” or “They’re just trying to manipulate you and force your hand”, it amazes me how many, if not all, of those people saying that are the most greedy, money-focused people around. They throw accusations against the church of Christ to try and distract people from the greed and love of money that dominates their life. This is a great insult toward God, I think.

Even for those who say that “TITHING MAKES PEOPLE BITTER/GIVE GRUDGINGLY, AND GOD DOESN’T WANT THAT”, I’d contend that it’s often because they’re worrying too much about having enough money left over to meet their own needs/wants—-something that Paul assured them not to worry about since God was able to meet their needs. Often, those who continually refuse to give 10% above their income or 10% bear minimum (basically, anywhere to the point where sacrifice is involved) will say “Well the Spirit is moving me to stay at this level of giving, so don’t bother me” and it seems as if it’s nothing more than a different form of Christian Talk meant to cover up greed/selfishness. It’s often a simple lack of faith in God and His ability to keep those who invest greatly in His work that keeps people from giving freely and generously (Matthew 6:25-34).

Like the church back in the day, we need to give……and not simply give or give freely, but give GENEROUSLY. Personally, I’ve experienced the blessing that comes when I chose to give God my best (specifically through practicing tithing as well). I’ve been in poor circumstances myself and have thought plenty of times “Man, I really need this money” but then I simply trusted God with it, gave it to a solid Church, and God provided greatly, just as Paul promised (II Corinthians 9:6-8).

Paul wanted the Corinthian Believers to excel in everything, and to especially be leaders in giving generously (II Corinthians 8:7-8), and just as Paul encouraged them to give (not commanded or manipulated, as many Preachers do nowadays), admonishing them to prove that their love was sincere, I think that it’d be beneficial for many more pastors to challenge their congregations to give above what they’re comfortable with rather than simply saying “Whatever you’re comfortable with or feel God telling you to give”……if you love someone, you’ll want to give him or her your time, attention and to provide for his or her needs even if it means at your expense, just as Christ did for us (II Corinthians 8:9)

And contrary to what many have said, I’m happy to give the BEST of my resources because I realize the spiritual rewards for those who give generously to God’s Work. That’s why 10% ISN’T AN ISSUE WITH ME.

No, I don’t expect to become wealthy through giving or “give to get”, but I’m content because I know that those who receive my gifts will be helped, and they’ll praise God while praying for me later (II Corinthians 9:12-15)

Regarding the principles of giving,

2 Corinthians 8:10-15

I think The Word gives explicit guidelines when wondering how how much to give, especially seeing the differences in the financial resources Christians have:

(1) Each person should follow through on previous promises (II Corinthians 8:10-11, and II Corinthians 9:3)

(2) Give as much as he or she is able (II Corinthians 8:12 and II Corinthians 9:6…..)

(3) Each person must make up his or her own mind how much to give (II Corinthians 9:7)

(4) Each person should give in proportion to what God has given him or her (II Corinthians 9:10…. and also something even commanded in the OT, Deuteronomy 16:16-17)….God does not expect us to give more than we can, but we will be blessed when we give cheerfully. For some, 10% may be a burden, but for most of us, that would be far too little.

Additionally, we should give of what we have, not what we don’t have, for Sacrificial giving must also be responsible.

Paul wants believers to give generously, but not to the extent that those who depend on the givers (ex: families) must go without having their basic needs met.

Though I believe the Bible seems to show we should give until it hurts, we shouldn’t give so that it hurts your family and/or relatives who need your financial support.

Going along with that,

Deuteronomy 14:22-23

Tithes
22 Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year……..so that you may learn to revere the LORD your God always

 

 

The Bible makes what the purpose of tithing was very clear—to put God first in our lives. Even the Levites, who were part of what the Tithe was meant for, had to tithe to support the Lord’s Work (Numbers 18:25-26). No one was exempt from returning to God a portion of what was received. The tithing principle is still relevant, for though no longer bound by law because of Levites or tabernacles, God expects Christians to supply the needs of those devoted to meeting the spiritual needs of the community of faith. Also, we’re to give God the first and best of what we earn. What we first do with our money shows what we value most. Giving the first part of our paycheck to God immediately focuses our attention on Him, and it reminds us that all we have belongs to him.

 

 

 

 

Regularly tithing can keep God at the top of our priority list, giving us a proper perspective on everything else we have …..especially seeing how MONEY (loving it) has such power to destroy our walks with Christ (Matthew 6:24, Luke 12:21, Luke 16:21, I Timothy 6:10-17, James 5:1-6)

Moreover,

Going along with that, where I’m coming from is that Jesus taught us to love God and to love our neighbor. Love is sacrificial, and disciplines itself so that others can benefit even if it comes at our expense. If we do this then tithing, it would seem, would be a natural response in the freedom that we have been Christ rather than a requirement of Law.

 

So often many become so focused on what’s legal/required or what they’re exempt from that they end up using it as an opportunity for selfishness and the flesh (ex. Saying that they’re not required to give a percentage and often using money wastefully for self, claiming “It’s My Money” rather than realizing it’s God’s and given with the purpose of using it wisely/lovingly for others)

And while others often claim to not tithe for noble purposes, like taking care of their families and the poor man they see or giving graciously as one purposes in their heart, like II Corinthians 8:12-13 and II Corinthians 9:7-9 advocates, in truth far too many do so for every reason besides that……..I use to be one of them.

And God’s Word makes explicitly clear that Christian freedom is not the removal of moral restraints/call for sacrificial service…..it is the freedom to serve one another.

Galatians 5:10-14

13You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature[a]; rather, serve one another in love. 14The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b]

The Gospel exchanges the bondage of legalism for the Higher bondage of LOVE…….Something that we were never freed from (which is why practicing tithing can be a valid practice if you’re doing it out of love for another rather than to simply meet a quota…..Regular giving can do this as well, but tithing can also, especially seeing how it can practically help support ministers/ministry)

Moreover, the tithe that we give to the church CAN BE USED for furthering the gospel, the presentation of Christian literature, support of missionaries, and, of course, pastors (NOTE: I never said that it can be used for a church building…..so no one please try argue that tithing is wrong because people use it just for that………as if it was ever just for that). Regular giving can accomplish this as well, but there’s no reason to say that tithing doesn’t. Regarding the latter, look at what it says in 1 Corinthians 9:1-14:

The Rights of an Apostle
1Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not the result of my work in the Lord? 2Even though I may not be an apostle to others, surely I am to you! For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
3This is my defense to those who sit in judgment on me. 4Don’t we have the right to food and drink? 5Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas[a]? 6Or is it only I and Barnabas who must work for a living?
7Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk? 8Do I say this merely from a human point of view? Doesn’t the Law say the same thing? 9For it is written in the Law of Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.”[b] Is it about oxen that God is concerned? 10Surely he says this for us, doesn’t he? Yes, this was written for us, because when the plowman plows and the thresher threshes, they ought to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. 11If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? 12If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more?
But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ. 13Don’t you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? 14In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.

Jesus said that workers deserve their wages (Luke 10:17), and Paul echoes this thought and urges the church to be sure to pay their Christian workers. Paul is teaching us here that those who work at something have the right to make a living from it. This is a basic and simple principle that is found in the scriptures. In 1 Tim. 5:18, Paul says, “For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.” Even though he willingly gave up his personal rights to win people for Christ (I Corinthians 9:4).The fact remains that he deserved to be paid for his work.

Clearly those who work in the ministry are allowed to make a living from the ministry. How can they do this if they are not supported by tithes from the very congregation that the feed?

This becomes more obvious when we realize that ministers often work more than 40 hours a week (often unexpected) and are usually on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week……and this even when having a job outside of ministry.

To say that regular giving alone (i.e. “Whatever I feel like giving any day of the week”)  is enough doesn’t cut it, especially when realizing that most people in congregations give very little when not challenged to and that regular giving cannot be measured continually in concrete amounts. Not saying that 10% mandatory but certainly in our society for most upper class Christains, they can give this in the masses to make up for those who truly can’t. Having an uncertain amount to live off on wouldn’t be very practical and unfair to the Pastor, not to mention hypocritical on the parts of the members (ex: “I’d be so upset if my employer kept changing my wages constantly, but thankfully I have a job I support my family off of and get a certain amount constantly to work with, but I think you should do the same amount of work, if not more, that I do and deserve what the people at our fellowship feel like giving, but don’t worry…..your family should do just fine. We’re all glorifying God”)

Just as a regular Congregation member has a job where a certain amount of pay is given so they can plan around it/budget around it for their families, why should Pastoral ministry be any different? It’s as much of a job as anything else and having a set amount given seems to be common sense……something that tithing would seem to solve.

This becomes more obvious when we realize that ministers often work more than 40 hours a week (often unexpected) and are usually on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week……and this even when having a job outside of ministry.

Therefore, it’d seem fair to say that tithing is, more or less, expected in the New Testament but we would not say that any Christian is under OBLIGATION to tithe. It should be done out of the kindness and generosity of the heart as an act of worship before God……not as if one simply having to pay a bill (though I must say that those who view tithing simply as that don’t do it justice because it can be so much more)

Personally I’ve witnessed n’ HATE church leaders twisting people’s arms for dead end endeavors (ex. Never-ending building funds, Jacuzzis, hair salons, etc) in the making but never producing results, or manipulating people to get funds to do so however they please. That’s was never the intent behind tithing to begin with.

The Bible supports an organized system of caring for the poor, and God told his people to use their tithe every third year for those who were helpless, hungry, or poor.

These regulations were designed to prevent the country from sinking under crushing poverty and oppression. It was EVERYONE’S responsibility to care for the LESS FORTUNATE. Families were to help other family members and towns were to help members of their community.

All that to say, I’m only for tithing in a church when I know that the church is going to try emulating the principle behind it in the OT. If tithes will PRIMARILY be used for things other than this, it’s a waste I believe.

God counts on believers to provide for the NEEDY, and we should use God’s resources to aid the destitute. If a church supporting tithing doesn’t do those things, the church isn’t worth investment.

Malachi 3:8-12

8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me.
“But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’
“In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and 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. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the LORD Almighty. 12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty.

Conerning this passage, Malachi was urging the people to stop holding back their tithes, and to stop keeping from God what He deserved. The Tithing system began during the time of Moses (Leviticus 27:30-34, Deuteronomy 14:22), where the Levites recieved some of the tithe because they could not possess land of their own (Numbers 18:20-21).

During Malachi’s day, the people were not giving tithes, so the Levites went to work to earn a living , thereby neglecting their God-Given responsibilities to care for the temple and for the service of worship.

Moreover, the people were ignoring God’s commad to give a tithe of their income to his temple unreasonably. They may’ve feared losing what they worked so hard to get, but in this they misjudged God. They believed that God wouldn’t bless them if they gave back to Him what was His.

How does this relate to the modern church? Though everything that the law was something we were freed from and are no longer under, everything that was apart of OT Law was but a shadow for the things that would take place in the NT (Hebrews 8:5, Hebrews 10:1). Many of the OT practices, such as supporting Levites/Tabernacle, seem to point to a greater application that the New Testament admonishes. That being said, the passage seems to indicate that Robbing God doesn’t mean that one is stealing when they refuse to give to corrupt organizations/leaders who are mishandling God’s money/using it any way they see fit.

That wasn’t the case in Malachi 3:8-12. Many of the Levites were doing their duty, but people were simply holding back because they wanted to……they were GREEDY for using their resources on themselves only, and when we do the same with godly leaders who are faithfully doing the Lord’s Work as best as they can, I believe we’re robbing God

Additionally, I believe that one can rob God when their refusal to give is based on misjudgement on the nature of God or how He operates.

As another wisely said on the subject, ”

Like their fathers before them, Malachi spoke to a generation that had turned away from God’s commands and even had attempted to cheat him of what they owed. “Will a man rob God?” the Lord asked (Malachi 3:8). Of course, this is absurd in the ultimate sense. The psalmist says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” (Psalm 24:1). There is nothing we can do to take God’s property away from him. The notion of a man robbing God becomes even more ridiculous in light of the fact that the word Malachi used for “rob” meant “to take forcibly” (R. Cashdan, Soncino Commentary). Yet Malachi insists that God had been robbed (Malachi 3:8-9). The Lord had expressly commanded that tithes—a tenth from all their possessions and earnings—be given to him in the law (Leviticus 27:30). Similarly he had required offerings—contributions that were set aside to provide for the priests—to be given to him as well (Exodus 29:27, 28; Leviticus 7:32; Numbers 5:9). The people had not given him his due, and by failing to do so, they had robbed him.

Whether it’s cheating on our taxes or ignoring an I.O.U., keeping what we owe is no better than robbing a bank. Ultimately, of course, it is impossible to take things away from the God who is all-powerful and ever-present. Yet it is entirely possible to rob God by refusing to part with the things that he calls us to give.

The prophet Malachi spoke to a entire generation of Israelites who had incriminated themselves by doing nothing. The Lord had expressly commanded in the law to give a tenth of all their income and possessions to him (Leviticus 27:30). Similarly, he had required offerings that would provide for the needs of the priests who labored as God’s special servants (Exodus 29:27, 28; Leviticus 7:32; Numbers 5:9). But the people sat on their hands, and when Malachi’s message came around, they pretended that they didn’t know what he was talking about:

    “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me …” (Malachi 3:8-9).

How do we rob God today? Certainly, we rob him in the same ways that Israelites did—“in tithes and offerings” (Malachi 3:8). Most American evangelicals don’t even come close to giving 10 percent of their incomes to local churches even though the New Testament amplifies the requirement, calling us to give sacrificially. As Christians who have been given God’s Holy Spirit, it is trivial to appeal to the Old Testament law as the ultimate standard for giving because today our ultimate standard is the generosity of Christ (2 Corinthians 8:9). The giving levels commanded in the New Testament are much more radical than the Old Testament tithe. John the Baptist raised the bar to 50 percent (Luke 3:11), and the Lord Jesus raised it to 100 percent (Luke 21:1-4). Further, the apostle Paul called Christians “to offer your bodies as living sacrifices” (Romans 12:1). Because New Testament believers have been given a more complete revelation of God’s generosity in the person of Jesus (2 Corinthians 8:9; Hebrews 1:1-2) and a greater share in the Holy Spirit (Acts 2) than the Old Testament believers, God reasonably requires more of us. Still, this does not mean that the Law and the Prophets are irrelevant. Old Testament standards are a very useful place to begin, but we must not forget that they are only a starting place.

Are there other ways that we rob God today? Do we cheat God out of our time? “Time is money,” and in our hypersonic culture our prayers and devotions tend to be lickety-split. When we fail to offer a choice portion of our time as representative of the whole, we rob God. We rob him of our efforts as well. How often are our energies absorbed by God’s purposes “on earth as it is in heaven”? Already exhausted by the things we really care about, do we offer up the dregs of our existence? Like the sacrifices of the Israelites (Malachi 1:7-14), are the efforts we give to God lame and blind? We promise the best but give the worst and are shocked when the Father seems far off. But this is what the God who sent his only begotten Son says: “I the Lord do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed … Return to me, and I will return to you” (Malachi 3:6-7). “Returning” means giving back to God the things that belong to him, and for Christians who live in light of Christ’s new day (Malachi 4:2), this means nothing less than submitting the totality of our lives and livelihoods to God. For we are not our own, but were bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

When I refuse to give because of fear, and selfish focus soley on WANTS SOLEY (”I could sacrifcie 10%, but I’d rather watch a movie or go shopping with it) instead of trusting in the Lord, His Sovereign provision, His power to do the Miraculous if you believe, and focusing on what would best aid His Kingdom/Church (like the Israelites were, who were essentually doing the same things and questioning God in the process), I believe you’re robbing God.

The same would go for refusing to bring in the best of one’s income to support the cause of the poor, which is also what the people neglected when they kept their finances to themselves.

Moreover, I believe you’re insulting God by doing so because it’s in God’s nature to bless those who bless Him and others. “Give and it will be given unto you” (Luke 6:38).

Doesn’t mean that the blessings God promises are always material, as many have misinterpreted it concerning the “Test Me…..Open The FloodGates” part (though it’s quite possible, and I’ve experienced this personally, but I sadly can’t prove it since an experience cannot be verefied over the internet), or that His blessings will be completley experienced here on earth.

But it does mean that The Blessings that God promises will certainly be experienced in our future life with Him.

Bottom Line: Everything we have is from God, and God blesses us so we can bless others. So, when we unreasonably refuse to return to Him a part of what he has given to us, we rob Him. Why would we selfishly want to keep 100% of what God gives and be unwilling to return at least 10% percent for helping to advance God’s Kingdom WHEN WE HAVE THE ABILITY TO DO SO(and yes…..10% can go a long way when combined with everyone else’s in the church)?

Add to that, in a church that’s solid in belief and practice, would you not have even more reason to at least give consistently 10%, as opposed to investing in a church” where the 10% is used for Bentlies AND ALLL KINDS OF other FOOLISHNESS? IS IT THAT MUCH OF A PROBLEM?

I think Tithing should be encouraged in Churches. It’s no longer like we’re forced to do so anyhow or should even have a grudge in doing so, seeing that God’s law is written on our heart and we should want to give sacrificially  of our income so we can help others out. Under the New Covenant, God’s law is inside us…..it is no longer an external set of rules and principles.

The Holy Spirit reminds us of Christ’s Words, activates our consciences, influences our motives and desires, and makes us WANT to obey. Now doing God’s Will is something we desire with our heart and mind (Hebrews 8:10-11).

Whatever folks say on it, that’s my take.

I’m done rambling……..but regardless of what people think, I’d love to hear feedback. And remember, whether one’s for tithing or not, what matters is whether or not you’re giving as A SACRIFICAL GIVER!!!!

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