So as we see in Deuteronomy, a portion of the tithe was to be given to the Levites and the poor. Let’s make sure we understand this. This should not be interpreted “the rich” and “the poor.” No. The Levites, not all of whom were priests, were without an inheritance, because they were set aside to the work of the temple.
You would not find those serving in the temple in the upper echelons of their society like you readily find in ours. Today, you find the servants of God boasting about driving the most expensive cars and living in multiple luxurious complexes all over the country and world, in the name of God, no less. Not then!
See, what today’s church has gotten into the habit of doing is only taking from scripture what supports their position and or desire; in this case, their endeavors to be rich, famous and powerful. If we were to apply the tithe as law to today’s church, we would have to demand that those dedicated to the work of the lord — to include missionaries, cleaning staff, along with pastors, bishops, musicians, and anyone else who, because of their call to serve the people of God, have had to walk away from all other profitable ventures — be limited to a livable wage. Here’s the balance. We don’t want them in lack, yet they are not called to a life that allows for excess. Their inheritance is the Lord, or will come directly from the Lord. If one wants to be rich, famous and powerful, and if that is the ambition they hold, so sorry. Wrong tribe, wrong calling!
The blatant irony here is that the old covenant law of tithe is now used to coerce and manipulate people into guilt, submission, and giving.
This is done in decided disregard for clear scripture that says giving should never be done under these conditions. 2 Co 9:7
Imagine that a man put a gun to a woman’s head, poised and ready to shoot, and then asked that woman, “Will you marry me?” If she says “Yes,” I would guess that it may not be because she loves him. She’s afraid! So many preachers and pastors are happily enjoying the benefits of their fear-induced rhetoric. Malachi also has this to say.
Malachi 3:5 “Yes, I’m on my way to visit you with Judgment. I’ll present compelling evidence against sorcerers, adulterers, liars, those who exploit workers, those who take advantage of widows and orphans, those who are inhospitable to the homeless – anyone and everyone who doesn’t honor me.” A Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
The fact remains that we are undoubtedly not under the old covenant. We are stewards, and we recognize that it’s not 10% percent of what we have that belongs to God. It’s 100%.
Let’s be honest. The problem is that if we teach this truth, we have no idea how much people will give to our ministries. The fact that ministries are known and identified as “ours” is indicative of the problem.
Even in finances, especially as pastors and leaders of the church, we are called to walk by faith and not by sight, are we not? Walk by faith and not by pledges. Walk by faith and not by ill-gotten or manipulated gain. Walk by faith, and that means trusting God to lead His people in the area of giving and trusting the people to give to advance the kingdom of God and take care of the poor.
We ask people to trust God by giving a tithe. I sometimes wonder if we’re not really pressuring them to tithe because we lack the faith that God will take care of His body, His ministry, and His work. What do you think?