Tithe – The Heart of the Matter

Is tithing a Biblical principle? Of course it is. Then again, so is the “eye for an eye” principle, stoning adulterers to death and children for bad behavior, by the way. Nobody really wants to argue that we should honor all Old Testament principles today.

The real problem is not giving ten percent to God. Who would have a problem with that? Certainly, if you decide to set aside ten percent of what you have to give to God, we would all agree that’s a good thing. The issue here, and what compulsory tithing supporters and benefactors don’t want to discuss, is the heart issue.

Look, I grew up in church, and the tithe message has always been really simple. Tithe or else… Now, depending on where you go to church, the “or else” is sometimes more severe than at other churches. “Tithe, or else you will be cursed by God! Tithe, or else you will not be blessed by God! Tithe, or else we will read your name in the Sunday service on the non-tithers list!”

I remain a bit confused when man starts getting in on the action. As if God being displeased and cursing me or withholding good things from me isn’t enough, we set up systems of judgment, shame and condemnation to “encourage” non-tithers to trust God. Is that really what it does?

Let’s see how this works. You claim I owe God, but I can’t or don’t pay, so God calls out his church collection agents to twist your arm and more, unless you come up with the money. From that experience, you learn to trust God and His collectors?

Maybe you learn to not do business with God at all! I suppose if you then choose to have no relationship with God, or at least the church, because this all seems just a little to convenient or manipulative, we’ll convene a collective Satan-bashing session. The reality is that money continues to make the church unattractive! It’s not God that people don’t like. It’s the apparently money-obsessed and power-hungry church.

Here is a list of things taught about tithing that are FALSE

FALSE: Blessings from God are based on what I do. If God blesses me, it’s because I had enough faith, because I gave enough, or because I did something right.

TRUTH: You cannot manipulate God by any means. God is sovereign.

Matthew 6:26 “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?

FALSE: It’s the exact amount that I give that’s important to God.

TRUTH: Your ten percent may pale in comparison to my two cents.

Matthew 12:41 And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. 42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. 43 Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.”

FALSE: If you don’t give your money to God, he will curse you.

TRUTH: You are not under a curse. Christ removed it forever!

Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from that self-defeating, cursed life by absorbing it completely into himself. Do you remember the Scripture that says, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”? That is what happened when Jesus was nailed to the Cross: He became a curse, and at the same time dissolved the curse.

The real shame is that many use the outdated law of tithing as a blessing guarantee, a sure way to ensure that their blessing stash never gets depleted. For many, tithing is about doing what it takes to earn what is already free. That’s the point of Matthew 6, isn’t it?

Shouldn’t we stop trying to manipulate God and trust Him? I encourage you to stop worrying about money, possessions and the increasing of our wealth, and focus on doing God’s work. Aren’t we called to do God’s work in our communities, not pay our church to do it, thereby passing the buck?

The point of giving is not to get or gain God’s favor. Scripture teaches that you are to give generously because it reflects the heart and the kingdom of God. Do you agree?

1 John 4, 7 & 8

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8 thoughts on “Tithe – The Heart of the Matter

  1. So many times these POPULAR preachers tend to push to tithes all you can.

    But when you open the Bible and read. When ever Jesus mentioned tithing, it was often to WARN the tither about relying on their giving as a measure of a persons faith or commitment to him.

    Do I tithe? NO. But I do give to my local church. Sometimes its more than 10%, other times its not.

    Bottom line, I would rather give my money DIRECTLY to a homeless family who needs a meal for the day, than to watch it funneled though the church only to have a portion of what I’ve given to be used to help somebody.

    We are to be good stewarts over both the money we have and the money we give.

  2. Also, not everyone should tithe.

    If you have to chose between tithing and putting food on the table.

    PUT FOOD ON THE TABLE!!!
    Tithing should be FOR YOU.

    Tithing isnt for the tither to be blessed with riches.
    Its for those recieving it to be taken care of.

  3. Amen!! I totally agree. As a pastor, I am in the minority but I want you to know there are pastors out here who feel what you are saying.
    Tithe was never meant to be a church thing. It was a national law to help feed the Levites, the widow, orphans and poor strangers. I believe the Apostles and Jesus may have tithed but it’s only because it was their obligation as Israelites. The church is not contractually obligated and you can’t “grandfather” the law into the new covenant of grace. Some don’t even realize that in Deut. 12:17 you were given permission to EAT your tithe. Check out chapter 14:22-29!!

  4. Pastor Montagne,

    Welcome,

    You are in the minority but then again so was Jesus, right? The incompleteness of the teaching on tithe is exactly what bothers me the most. God asks us to give as a reflection that our hearts are aligned with His. When our motivation for giving is self centered, I think it’s a reflection that something in out of alignment.

  5. Non Conformer,

    Way to go, I just read your post on the subject matter, good read. As for the answer to your question let me first say this.

    The ends do not justify the means. That pastors need be compensated is very true. That the tithe is not law is also very true. So, pastor ought to be paid by the monies volunteers have given to the church. Many, many other non-profit organizations manage to thrive on donations. Why do we in the ministry perceive that the church will be brought to her knees if we tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

  6. Pingback: A Year’s Worth of Conversation « SCREAM

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