God, Sex and Tithe
4 weeks ago
Now Reading: God, Sex and Tithe
4 weeks ago
We’ll get to the topic of sex in a minute. Hold on. First, we need to talk Tithing. Yes, that uncomfortable conversation you need to have with yourself and God about an area of great importance to this day. Don’t click off this page yet. You could miss out on a serious life-changing blessing. The important thing to remember about God is He needs NOTHING from you. He wants good things FOR YOU. This is especially true with your financial life.
So with that in mind, I want to offer the 10 reasons you should start giving the Tithe from your income. Just in case you are unaware, the word “Tithe” means 1/10th. So we are talking about 10%, not $5 or $10 in the offering off the cuff if you happen to have it. Tithing is a careful examination of what you bring in and a deliberate decision to give back to God in acknowledgement that He has provided everything you have and all you will ever need.
Let’s get to the reasons:
1. Jesus commands it.
Matthew 23:23 (NLT) “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.
The reason we think Jesus wasn’t that high on the Tithe is because of passages like this. But you have to understand context. He’s talking to religious people who gave their Tithe but ignored their neighbor. Here Jesus is challenging their disobedience of the second greatest commandment. What often gets lost is the fact that Jesus DOES reinforce tithing. Here’s where I come down. If this is the only passage in the Bible on Tithing, the argument is settled. Jesus said it, we do it. Period.
2. God honors and blesses it.
Proverbs 3:9–10 (ESV) Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; 10 then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.
Malachi 3:10 (ESV) Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.
I could add more scriptures than these to show scriptural support that God blesses those who honor Him with the Tithe. I don’t have the space. I am also a living example. I’m more blessed than at any time in my life. And every year of my professional life the first tenth came BACK to God. It may take some time to see the results, but they will be there.
3. God protects those who do it.
Malachi 3:11 (ESV) I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the LORD of hosts.
Right after God tells the people of Israel He will bless them because of the Tithe in Malachi 3:10, God says He will protect them from “the devourer”. This could have been sickness, plague, a bad harvest, thieves or any number of issues for a largely agrarian nation. The other day I looked down the list of our church’s top givers. These are top givers, not top wage earners. The reason they are top givers is because they do tithe while some higher income people do not. Anyway, I checked the list and noticed something phenomenal. None of them had a serious disease, issue with their child, or problematic business. They were all doing seriously well. Now, you can dismiss this as luck, but I give glory to God. For them, the devourer has no access to their production. This is the PROMISE of God when we honor Him.
4. We declare TRUE trust in God when we do it.
You know that phrase from Proverbs 3:5-6? “Trust in the Lord with all your heart”? We love that passage. Yet it appears just four verses before God tells us to honor Him with the first fruits of our increase (Proverbs 3:9-10). Tithing is where the rubber hits the road in “trusting God” for today’s Americans. We do not need to trust God for much in practical daily life. Our kitchen cupboards are probably full right now. We are the most prosperous country in history. America is the one country in the world where you can be overweight and “poor”. I believe tithing is one of a very few practices Christians can visually demonstrate to themselves and God that HE is their trust.
5. It’s not equitable toward those who do it when you don’t bother.
I think about how many people come to the same church, get the same benefits, are experiencing the same good things God is doing in our church and beyond the walls, yet they do not contribute equally (in percentage) as those who do. That’s not right. I don’t care what argument you give. What restaurant do you go to and pay less for the same meal as someone else simply because “you don’t want to give it”? At what concert do you pay less for the same seat as someone else? I’ve said this before, but many Christians are capitalists in their daily lives and socialists in their spiritual lives. They expect others to pay the bills so they can benefit from the services when it comes to matters of faith. This is just plain evil to God. And if you’re doing that you should be ashamed.
6. Your marriage will experience BETTER SEX.
Sorry, this is not Biblically accurate. But I have heard if you mention “sex” in an article, far more people are going to pay attention. Back with me? Great! Let’s get back to the real reasons.
6. It teaches you how to live with margin in your finances.
Americans are famous for living to the very edges of their lives, especially with our finances. The Tithe is a cushion you intentionally create in your financial life which teaches you how to control your money rather than letting money control you. For the past 10 years, my wife and I have actually been able to tithe 10% and save 10% (we do more than 10% in both of those areas in reality). But it started with the 10% to God. Once that issue was resolved in our hearts in the first tenth to God, the second tenth was EASIER to take on. The Tithe was a financial training tool for Israel. They learned how to not live hand-to-mouth. They had to stop and count and proactively send their money to certain places. Non-tithers are missing this important lesson to their own detriment.
7. It forces you into direct involvement with your budget.
The question here of course is, do you budget? Do you take time to set aside portions of your money for certain things beforehand? Here’s what the Tithe did for our lives: It forced us to be involved very early with where our money went. Paul tells the Corinthians to do this with a love offering for the saints in Jerusalem (1 Corinthians 16:2 – “on the FIRST day of EVERY week”). We don’t just let our money walk out the door, we have already decided where it’s going. And the best part is, God is involved in this. He empowers the process of setting an agenda for our money. This is very similar to the previous point, but it’s so important I thought reinforcement was necessary. Tithing teaches you to take control of your income rather than letting your income take control of you!
8. The Gospel is funded through tithing.
I’ve said this in jest before but there is no “money from heaven” for our church or any other church in the world for that matter. God saves a people who then provide for the resources necessary to make the church they belong to function for their community. The greatest function of the church is the preaching of the Gospel whereby men’s hearts are changed and transformed. This funding supplies the needs of the teachers/preachers (1 Timothy 5:17; Gal 6:6; 1 Cor. 9:11) who deliver God’s Word and build up the church. It funds the ministry to children and youth. It funds the spiritual food for the community that lives “NOT on bread alone but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God”. Imagine your community without your church. Is it better off or worse?
9. The world is changed by the Gospel preached from churches funded through Tithing.
This sounds similar to #8 but it is somewhat different. Right now we can turn on the news and see something else that is upsetting the country. Right now we can hear about the further devolving of our values and morals. Right now we can spout off a few things about this country that are out of alignment with God’s Word and way. But hear me very clearly here: You have no right to complain about the decline of American values if you do not help fund the preaching of the Gospel. You have zero right, actually. The Gospel preached to the human heart is the ONLY way the heart can change. They ONLY way. You cannot argue people into doing life God’s way. He has to convert them and write a new law in their hearts (see Jeremiah 31:33). This only happens when people are born again. And people are born again when they hear the Gospel of Jesus preached. Your tithing makes that happen. And let me reiterate, there’s no right on anyone’s part to complain about the country if you’re giving more to your cable subscription than to the proclamation of God’s Word. In fact, you’re part of the problem.
10. You have been paid for with God’s Tithe, what is there to fear?
Jesus was God’s first and best. He was given for you. And here’s the truth: Jesus was given for your sins before you repented of your sins (Romans 5:8). This is why we give back to God FIRST before we pay our bills. We trust God and we imitate His way. Now some like to argue that we are under grace and not the law as “New Testament” believers so therefore the Tithe is null and void. But what you must consider is the Tithe came BEFORE the law (see Genesis 14:20). It could be argued that it started with Abel who brought the first born of his flocks to God (Gen. 4:4) while Cain gave “in the course of time” (Gen. 4:3) and then resented Abel’s blessing.
It is true that Jesus has changed a Christian’s interaction with the Old Testament law. But do you seriously think that His blood for your sins means you can now “give less” to God’s work? Are you going to make that argument? Jesus didn’t lessen the 6th commandment stipulations concerning murder, He RAISED them. He said even if you’re angry you’ve sinned and broken this law! Jesus didn’t lessen the 7th commandment concerning adultery. He RAISED it to a higher standard whereby we are commanded not to lust in our hearts! Can you honestly resolve that Jesus is okay with you being less generous than the Old Testament people of God because He was murdered on a cross for you? I can’t. I refuse to. I’d tithe even if I wasn’t the preacher (and I have) because my Jesus’ blood has taken care of my biggest debt, what else can God not handle in my life?
Now you may be thinking, “This is great but how do I get this together in my life?” We have a class called “Financial Peace” available for you that teaches you money management God’s way. It deals with more than tithing. It empowers you to give, save and live like no one else now so you can live like no one else later. You could also review our series on Money from a few months ago. And if you have no time for either of those things, sit down, start budgeting your money, and begin with the 10 percent. Set it up automatically so it happens and you are now accountable to it. I do that. The idea here is to STEP out in FAITH and DO IT.
Then watch what God does.
(Btw – cheapskates who are about to send nasty comments, they will be deleted. Spend your time on something else).