In Your Bible Read This Out Loud: Malachi 3:10-12
Memorise This Verse: Luke 11:41 ‘Give what is inside the dish to the poor, and everything will be clean for you’.
Afterwards Talk About This: The arguments from non-tithers and how to answer them.
Something To Do Before Next Time: Ask God in prayer if you should NOT be tithing.
Written Diploma Work: List the arguments from non-tithers and try to answer them.
Meditate Word By Word On This Verse: Proverbs 3:9-10
Tithing without doubt can be a very large challenge to those who are confronted with it for the first time and of course will throw up many questions. There are those who will use any excuse and produce any argument to justify their decision not to tithe but these arguments merely camouflage their disobedience.
There are those who will rightly have sincere and serious questions about tithing and these are set out below with sincere and serious answers. The world says that ignorance is bliss, in the Christian life a lack of knowledge can kill you (Hosea 4:6) a Christian can flee into ignorance on tithing and take with him any argument to justify himself, but could they only be fleeing from making a tough decision of obeying God?
Tithing is Old Testament Law and as Christians we are under grace, not law. It is certainly true that Christians are not commanded to keep the Old Testament law and financial practices given under the Law such as the Year of Jubilee and 7 year debt cancellation are not binding on us. However, both Abraham and Jacob tithed before the Law of Moses was introduced with the command to tithe and Jesus in Matthew 23:23 said the Pharisees were right to tithe even if their motives were not correct.
Since we are under grace and there are no list of things to perform it doesn’t mean we can live how we want. You don’t have to pray but life will be better if you do, you don’t have to study the bible but you will be better equipped for living if you do, you don’t have to tithe but your life will be more open to generous nature of God if you do.
But Jesus, and in fact the whole New Testament mentions it only once. There are many Christians, churches and whole denominations who would fight fiercely for a truth that Jesus said only once – namely, ‘You must be born again’ (John3:7). If we believe that Jesus was God incarnate then even if he said something once, it would suffice that whatever he said would stand as ultimate truth for all eternity.
If Jesus wanted us to stop tithing then would it not be strange that it was the only area that he commended the Pharisees for performing.
Tithing can become legalistic if you feel obligated to do it every week.
This argument is true – but actually anything you perform on a regular basis in the Christian life can become legalistic. If you should stop tithing because by doing it regularly it can become legalistic, then you should stop going to church on a Sunday morning if you regularly go to church and stop going to a mid week home group if you regularly go every Wednesday. A regular morning prayer time, a regular bible reading time and tithing can all become legalistic but it doesn’t mean that the activities in themselves are wrong – instead our motives for doing them are wrong.
Tithing motivates people by fear in that they fear if they don’t give they will miss out. This argument is a good one – namely because this very point about the possibility of us altering, and even forfeiting our own blessings is taught in the bible. Galatians 6:7 – 10 shows that we have the capacity to miss out altogether on our harvest and 2 Corinthians 9:6 speaks of us reaping in proportion to our sowing. Perhaps people don’t like the idea of being masters of their own financial destiny and the idea of missing out on God’s blessing.
Anyway, the same argument could be applied to prayer:- namely that prayer motivates people by fear in that they fear they will miss the good things of God if they don’t pray for them.
People tithe so that they can selfishly get the blessing of God. This is perfectly true, but how many non-tithers secretly pray, weep, travail and beg God for his blessings! The difference between a tither and a non-tither is that whilst they both seek the blessing of God, the tither goes about it the way that God has ordained they should.
Again you could say that the only reason people pray is to get something from God – does this mean we should stop people from praying?
As Christians we should be led by the Holy Spirit, and give when we feel led to do so. This is an argument that a tither would also use and would say that the Holy Spirit has led them to the scriptures on tithing as to the basis for them doing so. Moreover, is it not the case that when it comes to hearing from God about our finances we suffer from a little bit of spiritual deafness? Can you say that you always have ears to hear what God is saying about the level of your giving and can you honestly say you always give on the moments you feel led to?
If every tither over the last year has faithfully given 10% then they can relax in the fact they have definitely obeyed what their consciences have told them to give. Can those who want only to be led of the Holy Spirit when to give be able to be in the same position of knowing for sure they have given exactly what God has required of them? how can they be sure they have obeyed to the last penny in the way that a tither can?
Pastors use tithing to build there own empires and for financial profit. Certainly this happens however, the issue of submission to those in spiritual authority and shepherding has also been used by Pastors to build their own personal empires.
Does this make both tithing and submitting to those in spiritual authority wrong? Clearly, just because a Pastor abuses a biblical principle it doesn’t make the principle itself wrong but it is the attitude and motivation of the Pastor that is wrong.
Does it really matter if you give less than 10%. Do you check your change after buying something? do you make sure that you are charged the price that something is advertised for? if you purchase something that is in a promotion do you make sure that you get the proper discount? Do you check your pay slip to ensure you have been paid exactly the correct amount? There is something in the nature of man that always demands that as far as money is concerned, matters are settled down to the very last penny – do we suppose that God is any different?
A House of Prayer for the Poorer Nations
Pray for Burundi
- 6,695,001 people, 90% Christian
Country savaged by Tutsi & Hutu war – much healing needed.
This study contains the personal beliefs and practices of of the author who recommends them to the reader. The author takes no credit for their success where applied and likewise takes no responsibility for any failure or disappointment.
The House of Prayer for the Poorer Nations at the end of each section is based on Operation World 21st Century Edition © Patrick Johnstone, Jason Mandryk. Published by Paternoster. All scriptures are NIV © Hodder & Stoughton.