Tithing is a touchy subject for many churchgoers. And woe to the preacher who feels led to speak on the subject during a Sunday morning service!
A lot of time we use our finances as means of control. “Don’t shop at that department store because they accept gay marriage”. “Don’t buy that soap because the company donates to Planned Parenthood”. “Don’t buy that brand because they advertise during that ungodly TV show.”
Money talks. And I don’t think it’s a bad thing in the above examples. As stewards of God’s provisions, we need to be intentional about where we spend our money. But does the same principle apply to the money we give to our churches?
Paul speaks about the giving record of the church in Corinth in the 9th chapter of his second letter to that church. He talks about their promised financial gift. He tells them about the importance of financial support of the ministry, and likens it to seed sown for a harvest.
Scripture tells us to bring our tithe to the storehouse and leave it there.
I remember, when I was a teenager, I was standing in the foyer of our church on a Saturday. A woman who lived in the neighborhood walked in and handed me an envelope. “This is my tithe,” she said. “But you tell the treasurer I don’t want a dime of this going to the preacher’s salary.”
I did what she asked. The treasurer said for me not to worry about it. He said she does this all the time.
Dear one, that’s not Scriptural. If you don’t like how money is spent at your church – tithe anyway. Go ahead and become an elder, or get on the governing board if you want. Voice your opinion. If you are convinced that God is not in the running of that church, and you’ve tried and failed to make a difference, find another church. But remember, God didn’t tell us to give 10% with strings attached.
It’s our responsibility – and privilege – to plant seeds for the kingdom. That’s what your tithing is intended to do.
And God loves a cheerful giver.
To answer your last comment, since there doesn’t seem to be a way directly to do that. There probably isn’t an application for today, but then I don’t believe that the tithe is obligatory for believers now. The Gospels talk about the tithe, but they record a time still under the Law because Christ hadn’t yet died. Nothing from Acts onward indicates any such obligation. Paul wasn’t giving a rule about tithing, but giving in a specific situation. It is true, though, that God loves a cheerful giver. We get our word “hilarious” from the word translated “cheerful.”
Oh wow. That isn’t something I’ve ever heard from the pulpit. And I see what you mean. It occurs to me that, just like the with Law of Moses, Jesus goes one step further for those of us who know Him this side of the cross. Where the sin of adultery is spelled out in the Old Testament, Jesus says we sin if we even think about it. We commit murder if we hate. Maybe God is saying, don’t limit yourself to 10% when you give to the work of the church’s ministry. Give freely from what you have… and have a blast doing it!
I do agree with the tenor of your post, but, and please forgive me, Malachi 3:10 isn’t the only OT verse on tithing. I’ve never heard a preacher preach on the whole OT teaching, though I’ve heard many of them quote Malachi. For example, Deuteronomy 14:22-29, especially vs. 24-26. There’s not a fundamentalist preacher alive who would preach that text.
Why do you think that is?
Probably because there were certain situations in which Israelites could take the tithe and, in effect, spend it on themselves. Giving the tithe was supposed to be a time of great joy as the Israelite reflected on how God had blessed him, not a burden of grudging necessity.
I totally missed that people could give their tithe, then spend it on themselves. I’m not sure what application that has for today. But I agree that we Christians would be wise to follow the Israelites who gave with joyful hearts, reflecting on the many ways God blessed them. And definitely, not begrudgingly. As always, I appreciate your input. You are a blessing to me.