Saturday, June 27, 2009
Take Two on Tithing
Two weeks ago I posted A Testimony of Tithing on my blog to tell the story of my personal discovery of what it truly means to tithe, my financial journey to put God first in my finances, the blessing tithing has brought me and a testimony of God’s faithfulness in our lives during a time of financial trial.
My hope was that others who read the post would add their tithing stories of blessing to the comments, creating a collection of praise to God. I was happy for the affirming comments and stories that did come in, but I also received comments of another sort. I shouldn’t have been surprised, I suppose, but I am ever disappointed at fellow Christians’ ability to snipe when confronted with an idea that makes them feel a bit… convicted.
I posted A Testimony of Tithing in several places, so some of the responses are posted on Linkedin Discussion boards and some were emailed to me but the objections ranged from complaints that there is no Biblical basis for tithing from your gross income (versus net), that my suggestion that I felt blessed by tithing was akin to suggesting one could pay God to get His blessings, and that tithing of one’s time and talent is included in the calculation in coming up with the 10%, it’s not all from money.
So – big surprise – I have some thoughts about all that.
Most importantly, thank you – to everyone… good, bad and u.. uh-oh – for taking the time to comment. If you have a story about God’s blessings in your life that you relate to your faithfulness of tithing, I would love you to add it to the comments so that others may know your experience and be blessed by it.
One of the things that struck me (and disappointed me) when I was writing the first blog post was that when I did a Google search on tithing, the return was 90% negative. I had to go through pages and pages to get past the articles that tithing was not Biblical, tithing didn’t mean a 10th, tithing isn’t supposed to be of gross, tithing is exclusively an Old Testament concept, etc., etc., to finally find something in support of tithing.
Tithing is not just commanded in the Old Testament (Lev 27:30, Deut 14:22-29) but affirmed by Jesus himself in the New Testament (Matt 12:41-44, Luke 11:42, Matt 23:23). Yes it is specifically a 10th (Gen 14:1, Gen 28:20-22, Deut 14:22-29) and yes it is of everything (gross) you have (Prov 3:9-10, Deut 16:17) and although YES tithing should be done out of love and thanksgiving with a cheerful heart (2 Cor 9:5-15, Deut 12:5-7), there is a reward for the obedience and faithfulness of tithing (Heb 6:10, Luke 6:38). After all, everything that we have is HIS first (1 Chr 29:11-17, Deut 16:17) and we’re only returning a small portion of what He blessed us with to begin with, right? So not giving it back is like steeling from God (Mal 3:7-12).
I agree wholeheartedly that tithing isn’t limited to money (Lev 27:32) but I don’t think 5% of your income, 3% of your talent and 2% of your time to add up to “10” is what God had in mind. Just think of how amazing the church’s ministry could be if we were all giving at least 10% of all of those things. Yes, yes – I said the church. No, the clothes you gave to Goodwill and $20 you put in the Salvation Army bucket don’t count – that’s the “and then some” that comes with its own blessing. We are commanded to support the church and specifically its ministers (Num 18:21, Neh 12:43-47, Gal 6:6) with our tithes.
Coincidentally, (or God-incidentally) the week after my post, our pastor preached a sermon on tithing! If you want to watch a great and relevant sermon by Pastor David R. Stokes of Fair Oaks Church, click here (http://bit.ly/98GsP) or visit www.loudonpurpose.com. There is also a great four-generation video testimony of tithing on the Fair Oaks Arts blog that is worth checking out: Tithing Rocks!
For lighter take - Fair Oaks Church also put together some really cute videos about two years ago poking fun at the Mac v PC commercials to promote their iChurch series – the one on tithing will give you a good chuckle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h37wTtAKouM.
If you want to read my original tithing post, click here: A Testimony of Tithing. Let me, again, encourage you to share your tithing stories that others may be blessed and encouraged.
Just as you excel in everything-- in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us-- see that you also excel in this grace of giving. - 2 Cor 8:7