There are few subjects that Americans are as touchy about as Money. It seems like a very sensitive subject to preach from the pulpit. It seems that we would rather talk about just about any other subject under the sun. But since I am not American, I have no such compunctions, so off we go…
Yes, I tithe; have done for years. I wouldn’t even mention it, but I have heard so many misconceptions about the practice of tithing that I felt the need to hold forth on the subject.
- God needs your money. Of course he doesn’t — and the preacher who says otherwise will one day have to answer to Him for it. Think about it; a god that needs your money is not really God. However, if the local body of believers (collectively known as “the church”) is to do it’s job (spread the Gospel, feed the poor, look after widows and orphans, etc).
- Net or Gross? The bible says that you tithe on “The Firstfruits”, but it also says that you tithe on “your increase”. Every preacher I have ever heard expound on the subject has said “Tithe on the Gross”… but then they would, wouldn’t they? (For those who are wondering, I tithe on my take-home to the local church, but donate enough elsewhere to make up the difference).The sad fact is that most churches, are short of cash – particularly the young, growing churches, which seem to have a lower proportion.To my mind, this issue is something of a red herring; it is not about whether you tithe on your pre-tax total or your take-home, it is whether you tithe at all.The simple fact is that if everyone who called themselves a Christian tithed on their take-home pay, the churches would have more money than they know what to do with… and with that money they could feed the hungry, help the poor and afflicted… and the Government would not have to.
- Tithing makes you a good Christian: Nope… Jews tithe. Besides, my aim is to be a Godly Man, not a good Christian.
- You can’t afford to tithe. Jesus said “your heart is where your money is”. As one wise man put it, “show me your bank statement, I’ll show you your priorities.” If you can’t afford to tithe, but you can afford Cable TV, DVD rentals, trips to the mall and eating out, then you have just shown your priorities.
As for me, I can’t afford not to. Scripture says “Don’t put God to the test”, but tithing is the one exception where God says “Test me in this, and see if I don’t pour out more blessings on you than you know what to do with!” In the years that I have been tithing, I have always had more than enough. Perhaps you can’t afford to tithe; I can’t afford not to.
So… why tithe?
For the same reason that you fast, pray and rest on the Sabbath – God does not need it, you do.
- It teaches generosity.
- It teaches reliance on God.
- It teaches frugality.
- It reminds us that we are not the center of our universe.
- It teaches financial discipline.
- Most of all, it serves as a continual reminder that money is not your God.
Now Reading: Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach