“I the LORD do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD Almighty. “But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’ “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. 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. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the LORD Almighty.” Malachi 3:6-11
|I’ve received a few questions about tithing since I posted the budget series last week. Barry and I thought it best for me to address some of those questions here. I’ll admit, it’s a very touchy subject. If you mention money at church, people get their panties in a wad. BUT, this is what Barry and I believe. Our beliefs are 100% backed by scripture – not what we FEEL. Just because you feel something, doesn’t mean it’s right (contrary to pop culture), only the Word will stand forever. 1 Peter 3:15 says “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” So, I’m setting out to answer these questions, but with an attitude of respect for those who disagree. Maybe when you’re done reading you might change your mind about what our Lord commands.
|So, what is tithing anyway? It’s giving 10% of your earnings to the Lord. The first question I received was “Do you think this should be 10% of GROSS or of NET income?” Well, I’ll just tell you what we do – we tithe off gross income. Why? Because that’s what we originally made. Yes, the government took their share, but the gross was our “first fruits” which is what the Lord commands us to give from. I’m not going to argue with anyone over whether or not it’s gross or net. I’m just saying that’s what we do and why we do it. In the Old Testament, the tithe always came from the first fruit. Cain killed Abel over this very issue. God was not pleased with Cain’s offering. Why? Because Cain brought “some” of his fruits while Abel brought the best. Cain was jealous……and so it begins.
|”Should I still give tithe while I’m trying to pay off debt?” My answer = yes. Giving the tithe isn’t really a “you should do this if you feel like it” thing. It’s a commandment. So, we do it. “Well, I don’t have the money to pay tithe!” Seriously? God gave you that money and you can’t give him 10% back? It’s all His anyway! Barry and I take out our tithe immediately. It’s sent directly to our church from our checking account. We never touch it…..that way it’s not a temptation. Because it comes out first, we don’t ever “miss” it. We don’t count on that money because it’s not ours. So, you should make your budget from what remains after the tithe. God says “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.” This means, if you trust Him with your finances, He will provide all that you need. I’ve never seen Him not come through for His people. In fact, I’ve seen the opposite to be true. When we see fellow Christians having money problems, a lot of the time, but not all the time, it ties back to tithe. If you give God your tithe, it means you have the faith that He will provide all that you need.
|Some have said that the tithe went out of style with the Old Testament. Oh really? Jesus came to FULFILL the law, not abolish it. The Ten Commandments are still around, aren’t they? Do you know the tithe was first commanded before the law came into being? Abraham tithed and he came way before the law of Moses. We are commanded to walk in faith like Abraham did, and since he paid tithe, shouldn’t we do the same? Even Jesus commands us to pay tithe:”Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.” Matthew 23:23.
The latter in this case would be justice, mercy, and faithfulness – the former would be the tenth (tithe). Jesus commanding us to pay the tithe pretty much answers any doubt I would have about maybe paying my tithe. Jesus very directly says not to neglect the tithe. There is no way to even argue with that. Some might say that Jesus was still speaking under “the law” since He had not yet died, however scripture states “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Luke 21:33 He was the beginning and He is the end; His words don’t change.
|I’ve also heard some say that NO one gives a tenth of everything they own anymore, so it’s obviously something that is out of date. Once again, I respectfully disagree. If you give from your gross income then you have paid a tenth of everything you own already. All your remaining money is used to pay for the things you “own.” You can’t give a tenth of your new couch – that’s ridiculous. You’ve already paid your tenth from your income BEFORE you purchased the couch with the remainder. My dad says “Someone who doesn’t want to pay their tithe will always find a way out.” My dad is very wise. If you just plain want to keep “your” money, you’re going to find a way out. But be prepared to deal with the consequences. Will not paying your tithe keep you out of heaven? OF COURSE NOT! However, it will cause you to forfeit many blessings that the Lord is ready and willing to bestow upon you. I’m ready for those blessings, aren’t you?
|So, what is the tithe used for anyway? First off, it should go to the local church = storehouse. Some people like to give their tithe to the Salvation Army or the local food bank. That’s not a tithe…….tithe is for your local church. Giving money to a charity is just a donation. Tithe is used to pay the Pastor for his work. It’s also used for the upkeep of the church building as well as money for those in need – widows and orphans. How should the church operate without the tithe? Yes, people give offerings. These are separate from the tithe. Tithes and offerings are both commanded BEFORE the law of Moses is introduced, so they are not optional. However, offerings are given out of abundance and tithes are given before anything else is paid. If you are paying off all your debt, you obviously don’t have an abundance. When you’re out of debt, you’ll have plenty to give as an offering. And when that day comes, it will be a great joy to give! 🙂
|PS – If you’re not a Christian, this post does not apply to you. Tithes are commanded for believers only. 🙂
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