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

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5 comments:

tracey said...

I am always encouraged by your blog Life Coach Yost. : ) Thank you.

Happy anniversary by the way. : )

Keith Prater said...

I'm not against tithing. I just want to do the tithe right. The law of the tithe itself (Deut. 14:22-29) puts into question many of the things we think of as tithe today, as well as our mode of making a living in this world. I will point some of them out here.

The first thing the law of the tithe says is that the tithe comes from the "increase of thy seed." What is a seed? It is something that comes from living creatures that give those creatures the ability to reproduce themselves. I know we would like to find some way to make today's style of economy fit into this, but there is no way we can think of money or earning wages as seed or the increase of seed. The phrase "fruits of our labors" is an oxymoron because labor does not bear fruit. Neither money nor our work for wages has the ability to regenerate itself like a living creature. In fact, labor is the opposite of fruit-bearing seed. It tears down the one doing the work instead of giving life.

The second thing is that not only did the tithe come from the fruit of seed, but it came from special fruit of seed: that is, from the inheritance God gave Israel. So the tithe came from the fruit of the inheritance God gave them. God did not command them to tithe until they had the inheritance. Is our job our inheritance from God? I think not. Our inheritance from God is the Holy Spirit and the fruit the Holy Spirit in us. So how do you tithe from that? I don't know. I just know that the Holy Spirit is our inheritance from God, not wages and man's labor.

The third thing to remember from the law of the tithe is that for two out of three years, the tithe was consumed by the giver at the point of offering at the place where God placed His name. It was only in the third year that the tithe was stored up for food for the priests and widows and orphans. In this point of the law, I would be closer to fulfilling the law of tithe by me taking my wife out to our favorite restaurant than giving the money to the church. The other thing about this is that each individual born-again believer is the temple of the Holy Spirit, not some building or organization. So when we do take our tithe somewhere, it should be taken to ourselves, the place where God puts His name.

I'm not wanting to be rebellious against God or the church. I just want to do what God really says. If we no longer have to offer animal sacrifices for sin, because of Jesus' sacrifice, and Paul said that we are no longer under the law, then the law of the tithe has some other meaning than just giving money to the church. I want to know that meaning. I want to receive the inheritance from God and I want to return it back to Him. It just seems to me that the church's current definition of tithe falls short of the truth. It just seems to me that the way the church currently handles the tithe may even be an abomination because it depends on man's labor and his wages from that labor. Man's labor has always been part of the curse, not the blessing of God. I just believe that the tithe should come from blessing and not the curse....And I want the blessing.

CommentRepost said...

Thank you for your comments. I missed your earlier article, but I can comment on the effects of tithing in my life. I was laid off by a company and chose to begin again in a new location while considered "unemployed." In my new location I took a class called 4T by Stretton Smith that introduced me to tithing of your time, talent and treasure and I have done each never less than 10%. I was also introduced to the Millionaires of the Bible series and learned even more. Each new piece of info led to my discovering where lack resided in my mind and led to my placing God in charge of my finances (tithing). Also tithing became about gratitude for all that I have been blessed with, not receiving more, although that has certainly occurred. I have almost lived in my new location for a year and I am proof that tithing is unfailing Spiritual Law. I have not missed a meal, have traveled, and pay rent on time without struggle and more, while being still considered "unemployed." Tithing is my pleasure!

Norma Hill
Learning Specialist and Certified Life Coach
Spiritual Life Coaching and Counseling Network Group on Linkedin

CommentRepost said...

Hello
I read your post on tithing and would love to reply as I think this is a great opportunity that many Christians are missing out on. I too fought the notion of tithing for a long time. I used every reason I could come up with, from it being an Old Testament command no longer relevant, to being a Cheerful giver, to deciding in your heart what to give. I've been a believer for 40 years, most of which was a financial disaster. I finally concluded that my approach to the subject of tithing was totally wrong. I, like some of your responders, was concerned with the actual letter of the Law, i.e. what does the Bible say I MUST do. I believe somewhere in the process the Holy Spirit began to show me that giving in any form to God, whether finances, time, talents, etc. is an obedient act of Worship, not a command. When viewed in that light, how can a true follower of Christ argue that 10% worship to a God who gave and gives us all good things, is suffucient, much less, argue that 10% is too much. I had a hard time accepting this at first as those first few checks were a real act of faith, but slowly my finances were healed because I tested God, as he challenged us, in the Old Testament BTW, and he has poured out. I'm not financially independent by any means, and I have many struggles and issues that I face daily in my Christian walk. However, I have been promoted and favored on my job, I give my 10% of gross freely, I have money left to support prison ministries, children's ministries, to help out my kids, and still eat out occasionally. I an completely convinced that this is because I enjoy giving to the one who gave his all to me, and I don't even question witholding money to pay a bill, go on a vacation, etc. I also try not to give in order to receive, however, one of our promises is indeed that if we give, it will be returned to us in some fashion, "...pressed down, shaken together and running over"!
Please note that this is my personal conviction and testimony, and that while I may not be able to convince anyone of New Testament foundation for this, I would dare anyone to honestly dispute giving to God with any real conviction.

Memeber of Linkedin Group - Christian Networking Group (Online Community)

Whisper said...

Hi,

I wanted to thank you for your blog posts, I think you're doing an awesome work here. I did read your previous message on tithing and that same day I went and gathered 10 percent of everything I have left from this month's wage and threw it into the nearest church collecting tin. It was pretty much just some loose change, but it felt very good.

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