The topics of money and church are synonymous for being adversarial counterparts. Most people hate that preachers mention money when they come to church. This same crowd will promote the idea that churches are money grubbing and that they shouldn’t ask for money at all for the services they offer. In a sense they are right. Church leaders and administrators should not have to ask for money. But they do because churchgoers today seem to think that paying tithes and offerings to their churches is optional. Many take for granted the time and energy that church leaders invest in service to others. It drains them emotionally, physically, and spiritually. And on top of that, they are faced with the burden of now splitting their time into 2 or more parts to fit in a day job just to make ends meet.
This was not what God intended, and it puts both those that serve the church and those that attend at a disadvantage. It perpetuates the culture of striving for gain because, on one hand, the churchgoer thinks that they don’t have enough to give to the church (as if it were a donation and not their due). On the other hand, those that serve in the church may feel undervalued and taken for granted which leads to losing their fervor in service to God due to the overwhelming cares and concerns of life.
All it takes is a little brain retraining.
I challenge you to evaluate your relationship with money. How do you feel when you have a lot vs. when you have none? How do you relate to others when money is involved? Do you pay tithes consistently?
Your answers to these questions will shine a light on whether you are maintaining a right relationship with money. And once that is identified you can start making steps to correct any misalignment.
Is God the Source of Your Life?
Let’s start at the beginning.
Genesis 1:1 – In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.
This sets the stage for creation. The rest of the chapter is spent describing how God created all the things of the earth, land sea, sky, trees, animals, and mankind. Therein is the start of all things and the ultimate source of who we are.
God is not only the creator of the life we have, but also the creator of the person we believe we are (likes, dislikes, tendencies, creative bents, and physical & spiritual attributes). The scripture reminds us that God formed our innermost parts and knit us together in our mothers’ wombs (Psalm 139:13). Nothing about us is a mistake. Any perceived advantage or disadvantage comes from how society and our families treat us and our differing mental, emotional, and physical characteristics.
When we settle the source question affirming that God is our source of life and has given us the special abilities unique to each person allowing us to be successful (Deuteronomy 8:18), this takes the pressure off of ourselves. When we take the focus off of our own hands’ efforts and put our faith in God for His directions and provision. He will show us the work that is best for us, and meet our needs.
If we see the whole equation of work & wages from this perspective the question of paying the tithes is a nonfactor. The reality is that God has gifted us with unique abilities making it possible for us to work and gain wealth, but along with that He created and leads us to the job best suited for those specific abilities. He is the source of it all. In our overwhelming gratitude, we ought to give back to God and to those that serve His house. And this giving back is more than tithes. Proverbs 3:9 says to honor the Lord with the best part of your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce.
So where do the tithes fit in?
Do we still need to pay tithes? Christ saved us from the law by Grace.
The tithe was explicitly enacted in Israel when Moses was the leader. It stated that ten percent of each of your produce (or income) must go to God for His purposes. It is to be paid to the priests (elders & pastors of the church). As Dave Ramsey asserts “Christians should give tithes to the local church.” To pay the tithe on your earnings is a foundational practice of giving and charity, and is an essential part of having balanced financial affairs. For more biblical references on tithing see Genesis 14:18-20, Leviticus 27:30, Numbers 18:26, Deuteronomy 18:22, Matthew 23:23, Luke 18:12, 1 Corinthians 9:7.
Should we still pay tithes now that we are saved by grace?
Yes and no. Yes, in that the concept of tithing teaches believers how to relate money matters to God. If left up to our own devices most people would give based on feeling, if and when they felt like giving. Then after judging our feelings, they would assess the amount of money they have in the bank and determine if they could spare any. Yet with the tithing principle in place, we are taught to view money, not as a selfish possession. Money is a resource God provided and we must use it in a way that best honors God. Tithing is like spiritual training wheels for developing good financial habits. It teaches us that in the same way we receive our paychecks or income consistently, we should honor God by our generosity & giving back His specified portion of 10 percent.
The object of the equation is God, as He is the Author and Finisher of our faith. He is our source. We honor him by how we steward the life and resources (wealth, talents, etc.) that He’s given us. To pay the tithe teaches us to be accountable in our efforts to honor God, not only with 10 percent of our net but our gross pay; and not only once in awhile but with every income we receive. By paying the tithes, believers are practicing to honor God with the works of their hands in a practical and measurable way.
On the other hand, no, tithing isn’t still necessary because we’ve been saved by grace and that not of ourselves lest any man should boast. When honoring God becomes a required measurable action it leads to err with those seeking to puff up themselves based on religious duties. No one should boast, remember? Christ has saved to the utmost all who believe in Him, so therefore now there is no condemnation or comparison one to another. Our salvation is not based on our performance and thank God for that because we would fall short. But under the grace
But under the grace principle, some have taken it to mean lawlessness. That there is no rule book or real code of conduct. Trust me there is. God would be apt to tell you if you asked Him honestly. Just look at how He laid things out in the Bible. God likes order, systems, organization, and He loves honor (when we honor Him, ourselves, and others). To honor goes hand in hand with to love (Romans 12:10). That is why Jesus said the most important laws to remember above all else are to love God with all that you are and love others as you love yourself (Mark 12:29-31). To honor the Lord with the works of our hands we must be generous givers.
Tithing Builds Better Money Habits
As I mentioned earlier, I consider tithing as spiritual training wheels that allow young believers to retrain their money habits so that they honor God first and helps prioritize the use of the remaining funds according to God’s will. Once you’ve established consistency in paying your tithes then the level of responsibility goes up. God loves a cheerful giver, not one who gives reluctantly (2 Corinthians 9:7 NLT). Tithing can easily become a habit out of religious duty and having no real connection to God or releasing of faith with our giving. That is not the kind of spirit God wants us to have when giving tithes or offerings. As Christ followers, we should be ever grateful that such a weighty price was paid for us.
That is not the kind of spirit God wants us to have when giving tithes or offerings. As Christ followers, we should be ever grateful that such a weighty price was paid for us. The innocent life of Christ Jesus was given as sacrifice making atonement for the sins of mankind. Our actions each day, including giving money to God’s house, should reflect that humble mindset and awareness of the price that bought our salvation. From this position of utmost gratitude, we will always extend our hand to give generously and with joy just for the sheer fact that you are able to give.
What hasn’t God given to us? He has given us life, salvation, talents, resources, blessings upon blessings, the very air we breathe. A bit of acknowledgment and gratitude is in order. When we consider all these things that God did not withhold even His only son from us, our gratitude is a natural response and leads to a generous outpouring. As we are covered by grace, ten percent is good. But we should give more than 10 percent. We should give so much more…
Reasons to Give Cheerfully
There are so many reasons! I list out a few:
- God loves a cheerful giver
- Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back. (Luke 6:38 NLT)
- God considers it robbery when we do not pay our tithes. (Malachi 3:8)
- “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test! (Malachi 3:10) A command with a promise attached.
- He gave to us in His perfect love, how can we not give back?
- When we give to the poor and needy in charity, God considers it lending to Him and promises to repay with interest.
- It is the Lord that teaches us how to profit and leads us on the best path for our lives. (Isaiah 48:17)
Generosity is a Sign of Spiritual Maturity
Like a body of water, anything that is pent up or held in (like hoarded money or other resources) becomes stagnant. While a freely flowing river is perpetually renewed. When we give in faith (not foolishly but with wisdom and guided by the Holy Spirit) we receive renewal (the liberal soul shall be made fat). God promises to divinely supply our needs. We open ourselves to receive & be perpetually renewed by the Creator who made and owns all things. The amplified version of Luke 6:38 says (and I paraphrase) the measure you use to give out is the same that will be used to dole out your portion. Therefore, do not be stingy, but give generously and cheerfully.
When we practice to pay our tithes and to give generously it teaches us wisdom in our affairs and daily living. And causes us to steward things and not let our things have ownership of us. This practice activates the law of sowing & reaping. This law states that you will get back that which you put out, and that applies to whatever you sow physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, etc. When we put good into the soil we will get good out. Just as when we sow generously, we will reap generously. And in God’s economy, He promises to always multiply the harvest back to you (see Malachi 3:10 and Luke 6:38). His returns on your investment are not proportionate but exponentially multiplied.
God is a good God. Trust Him and Honor Him in your giving and watch your life be transformed in every way.
*I’d love to hear your testimonies of seeing your life (finances, health, career, etc) change after you began paying your tithes. Please share in comments below and it’ll encourage others along the crossing.