Tithing? Yes or No!

 

Those of us who attend church know that during each service an offering plate, bag flowerpot, bucket etc., is past around for the monetary gifts that we bring to God that week.  The offering has been a part of the Christian Church tradition for a long time. “Why?” I hear you ask, and if you didn’t say , “Why?” Please do so now!….”Why?” Thank you! Now I do realise you could have been asking “Why do I have to say Why?” and not “Why does the Christian Church collect the offering?” I am going to only answer the latter and ignore the former as it is just plain bad manners!!!!!! See you’re smiling now, or utterly confused! Just keep reading, it gets better, I promise!
The offering, sometimes called a Freewill Offering, was part of God’s walk with us from the beginning. The argument with Cain and Abel was over an offering. One was accepted by God and the other wasn’t. That offering ended in murder. (Genesis ch 4.)
Even before Abram had a name change he is seen to be offering to Melchizedek the King of Salem.
“and he blessed Abram, saying,“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,Creator of heaven and earth.And praise be to God Most High,who delivered your enemies into your hand.”Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.” (Gen 14 v 19 -20)
Again in the book of Genesis, we find in chapter 28 the story of Jacob’s dream. During the night Jacob dreamt he saw a ladder from heaven with angels ascending and descending. He also saw God at the top, blessing him. Afterwards Jacob called the place Bethel and promised that he would give God a tenth of what he had if God continued to bless him.
“and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.” (Gen ch 28 v 22)
When God gave ‘The Law’ by which the Jewish people were to live by, to Moses, the giving of a tenth of what they had became entrenched in their relationship to God . The giving of a tenth, often called a tithe, was mainly to provide sustenance for the Levites who were the priests who looked after all spiritual aspects of the people.

“The Israelites will give me a tenth of everything they produce. And I will give it to the Levites. They serve at the tent of meeting. I will give them the tenth for the work they do there. (Numbers ch 18 v 21)

So this tradition has lasted even today in our churches. Here lies the problem for us as modern day Christians. There is very little talk in the New Testament about tithing, but there is talk of giving. In the Gospel of Matthew we have this:

So when you give to the needy, (Matt ch 6 v 2)

When Jesus says this, it is obvious that He is expecting people to give. There is no “If you give” but “When”. Also in 1 Corinthians ch 9, Paul tells the church that it is important that his material welfare is looked after and that it is their job to do it.

If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? (1 Cor ch 9 v 11)

So is this the reason why it is important to give to our church? Basically to keep the church functioning? My answer to this is absolutely……. NO!!!  The first thing to note is that God doesn’t need your money or grain or corn and the like. If He wants to keep a church open, then He will, regardless of the offering. He cares enough about the people in it, to provide for them. He has promised that. God owns the riches of the earth. Gold mines, silver mines, He owns all the silicon in the world. The bible says He owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50 v 10) He honestly doesn’t need your money. We would be in trouble if He did.

Let’s me put something else to you and this might help. If you are one of these people who come to church with the attitude of having to give to God because you have been told it is the thing to do, you might as well put your money back in your wallet. Yes I know that if there are any church leaders reading this you are all shouting “Lock Him Up!” or maybe worse “Make Him watch Liverpool play soccer!” Just hang on… remember I have already told you that all your needs are going to be met through Jesus, so shame on you for your lack of trust!!!!! So why is it better not to give at all if you are doing so out of obligation? That is a very good question and thank you for asking it because it brings me to the whole point. You see all that God wants from you is…. you. All of you! When you give God your life you give him everything including your money.

You see, giving  is not for God’s benefit but ours. Giving an offering helps us in our walk with God and not God’s walk with us. It helps us increase our trust. It helps us grow in faith. It gives God the opportunity to show how much He loves us. His word tells us that He will provide for all our needs.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians ch 4 v 19)

“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” (Matt 6 v 31-32)

“…those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” (Psalm 34 v 10)

It is fairly clear from God’s word that He will look after us. The difficulty is actually trusting Him to keep His promise. You have a family to look after. Bills to pay. Food to buy. I know all the reasons why not to give to God. The question is can we trust God to provide? Put another way, does God have all of us or only part. Are our finances ours just in case He doesn’t fulfill His promises. Actually, if we can’t trust Him with our money then the only word that describes it is DOUBT! Their is no trust in doubt. You can’t half trust!! You either trust or not! God does want all of you. He will go on chiselling away until He has all of you. Again I will say, this is not for His benefit but for ours! The more we trust, the closer we are to Him. The more we trust, the more opportunities God has to pour His blessing on us! I would much rather have God’s blessing than miss out because of lack of trust. God is worthy of our trust!

No one will ever argue with you that it is true we need money to live. However there is a difference between what is true and truth. God’s word is truth. So yes it is true that we need certain things to survive,

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt ch 6 v 33 – 34)

Put God first and He will add everything to you, is truth and far out ways what we perceive to be true. Trust or Doubt? In the book of Malachi God says test me on it!

“”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 there will not be room enough to store it.“” (Mal ch 3 v 10)

I don’t want to labour the point so I will start to close. Give because you want to. Give because you trust God. Give because you love Him. Give because you want to bless those around you. Give because you love the work that God is doing in your church.Give humbly!

So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,  so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matt ch 6 v 2-4)

That’s just in case you already were unpacking your trumpets!!! Put them away immediately! Basically don’t show off! Give what you decide to give. Don’t keep second guessing yourself. Give cheerfully. Don’t begrudge God what is already His!

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor ch 9 v 7)

Last thought! If the children of Israel gave a tenth of everything they had before Jesus came and gave Himself on the cross for us! How much more then should we really be giving God for all He gave us. It has to be all we have!

I can’t wait to see your church, the mission fields, the needy and you really blessed because you put God first and trusted Him with everything.

 

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