Deal or No Deal

Although yesterday was a voting day for the primaries for many locations I’m actually going to hit on another topic today.  With only 34% of the registered voters showing up to vote at the location where I was at, I am guessing that no one will complain too much if I focus on something other than politics.

We just completed a teaching series called Deal or No Deal that looked at answering three basic questions for Christians and non-Christians so each could walk away with the same understanding of:

  • What is Tithing?
  • Where Does the Money Go?
  • Why Should I Do it?

Considering the current economy and difficulty in obtaining jobs a lot of people expected to hear pitches asking people to give more money to the church, to charities, and/or to local organizations.  But this was not a pitch.  The goal was to simply answer the three questions above.

To the first question the answer is simple.  Tithing is giving to God 10% of what He blesses you with.  The expectation is that we would give freely out of the joy of having something to give.  The joy comes not from the amount, but from acknowledging that God has blessed us, period.  Tithing is also private and intimate.  I believe that tithing is one of the most spiritually intimate things we can do.  When we give our bodies, which we value above all else, to another it is as an act of physical intimacy.  When we give our money, on which we place an extremely high value, especially in a bad economy, it is as an act of spiritual intimacy.  For that reason, I strongly believe that non-Christians should not tithe.  Who would give their hard earned and cherished money away to strangers?  Likewise, if one does not know or have a relationship with God, why would or should they even try to tithe?  Also no one should tithe out of fear.  Giving money to anyone out of fear is basically being robbed.  God is not in the business of robbing people.

The answer to the second question may vary from local congregation to local congregation but is generally the same regardless of denomination.  Tithes that are received are generally used for the following purposes (although these are not the only purposes):

1) To support the people who are doing the ministry; this pays the salaries of the pastors, team leaders, and other ministry workers which may vary in each and every church.  In most cases a board, or group of other personnel within the church or denomination will determine which positions constitute a salary.  At CrossRoads we follow a principle I picked up from a previous pastor:  If we ask someone to volunteer or do so much work on behalf of our local congregation that it interferes with their ability to earn a living then we have to consider paying a stipend, part time, or full time salary.  The key is that we are asking them to make this contribution.  There are many people have the time and resources to volunteer on a greater level than others.  2) To support the place of ministry; every building where a local celebration is held, school, coffee house, or whatever venue in which your congregation meets may require a mortgage, lease, rent, or even utilities be paid.  If not, praise God, if it does, that is where the money will do.  3) The third place use of the tithe is to help those being ministered to by your congregation.   Most churches have a fund set up to help the needy or they use the funds to run various ministries that reach out to those in need.  At CrossRoads we do both.  In addition, we just sent a team to Tennessee to help with flood relief and the tithes of the congregation paid for almost everything.  We were so inspired to help that we came back and are taking up an additional collection, above and beyond the tithes of the congregation to use to help those impacted and displaced by the floods in Tennessee.

The answer to the third question of why should you tithe is multifaceted as well, and although biblically supported, many may still disagree…but nonetheless:

1)      The first reason why a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ who has a relationship with God, should tithe is BECAUSE GOD SAYS SO.  I know many people claim that tithing is an old testament concept and that is true.  God revealed the concept of tithing to His followers throughout the Old Testament.  However, nowhere in the New Testament does God, Jesus Christ, or the Holy Spirit repeal it.  Being the one who instituted it God is the only one who can repeal it; not those who don’t want to do it.  It is still a commandment from God to His followers.  In fact, Jesus took the entire concept of giving to an entirely new level.  He criticized the those who tithed religiously but without the relationship and gave His blessing to those who gave all they had regardless of the amount.

2)    The second reason to tithe is because tithing creates a culture of giving.  Giving is not about money.  It is about using financial, material, and human resources to meet the needs of others.  People who start tithing have less difficulty in giving other resources to meet needs.

3)    The third reason to tithe is because tithing reflects the character of God.  God is a giver.  God created the universe and all that is in it for us according to Genesis and the Psalms; God gave the Israelites the land to possess it; and Jesus gave His life as a ransom for many.  When we tithe we open the doorway to being givers and when we give we reflect the character of God.

So regardless of your denominational, political, or financial status…if you are a follower of Jesus Christ spend some time with God asking Him to reveal what He would have you do regarding tithing.

9 Responses to “Deal or No Deal”

  1. Your answer to “What is tithing?” is not from God’s Word.

    True biblical HOLY tithes weree always only food from inside God’s holy land of Isrrel which He had miraculously increaded. Tithes could not come from what man increased or from outside Israel. Although money was common even in Genesis and essential for sanctuary worship, money was never a titheable item.

    “We Gentiles” were never commanded to observe the Old Covenant, inclluding tithing. In fct Genties were excluded.

    There was no such thing as a minimum expectation of giving in Israel except for food producers who lived inside Israel. It is a scam and a scandal to change the definitin of HOLY tithes from God’s Word and apply it to the Church.

    • Wow great point. However God did say that His followers were to give a tithe from not just food, but also of the land they owned and of everything they received. And nowhere in the New Testament does God or any New Testament writer repeal the concept of tithing. However, O realize feelings on this run strong which is why O encourage everyone to go to God and follow the prompting of His Holy Spirit in this area as Paul instructs us to do.

  2. Patty Smarra Says:

    I look at it like this: Under the law, there were tithes (not a love word) and sacrifices (a love word). These were presented in a way the people understood, literal “types” that eventually would be applied spiritually under Grace in the New Testament. Tithes would become taxes and sacrifices would become giving. As always, God did not change. but definitions changed according to time and circumstances. There are two references in the Bible to “tithe what is not earned” and to “tithe firstfruits”. When I think of these, I never consider money. What things do we have that are never earned..the firstfruits of our lives: fruits of the Spirit. These are from where our tithes should come.

    • Biblically tithes were meant to be given out of love for God. Tithes did not become taxes fro God’s perspective. In fact Jesus criticized the religeous leaders who made the tithes a temple tax, which was exacted by the priests, rather than something given freely by the people. You are definitely right that the perceptions and language of the people changed God’s original intent. I love how much dialogue this topic is generating.

  3. I’ve read Jewish scholars who say that they were also required to rest in the 7th year according to Old Testament Law. If you add that back in and spread it over the entire 7 years, you end up with a tithe closer to 24%.

    Under the new covenant, we’re to give joyfully but there’s not a lot of discussion about the amount save the parable of the widow’s mite. If she’s the measure then we’re to give until it hurts. We have early sources outside of Christianity reporting that Christians in the first century sold everything and shared equally.

    Food for thought …

  4. BFP: God did say that His followers were to give a tithe from not just food, but also of the land they owned and of everything they received.

    Kelly: That is not in my KJV or any other version.

    BFP: And nowhere in the New Testament does God or any New Testament writer repeal the concept of tithing.

    Kelly: Do you accept tithes and also own and inherit land? Then YOU have repealed the tihing law. Do you as a minister KILL anybody else who attempts to enter the sanctuary? Then YOU have repealed the tithing law.
    I have 14 places where the tithing law has been repealed: (1) WHO: The Levitical servants to the priests received the tithes and they have been superseded. (2) WHO: The OT priests who received a tenth of the tithe and ministered in the Temple have been superseded. (3) WHAT: The definition of God’s holy tithe as food from inside Israel has ended. (4) DESTINATION: The Levitical cities which received the Levitical tithes have disappeared. (5) TIME: The time to tithe after harvest and at the three annual feasts has ended. (6) COVENANT: The Old Covenant which legislated tithing has vanished. (7) WHY: The commandment for Hebrews to tithe has been disannulled. Heb 7:18. (8) DEAD TO LAW: Believers are dead to law per Rom 7:4. (9) CALVARY: Jesus abolished the law of commandments contained in ordinances per Eph 2:13. (10) CALVARY: Jesus blotted out the handwriting of ordinances per Col 2:14. (12) TEMPLE: The Temple whose priests tithing supported has been superseded by the indwelling Holy Spirit per 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19-20. (12) NT PRIESTHOOD: The priesthood which was supported by tithes has been superseded by the priesthood of every believer per 1 Per 2:9-10. (13) BLESSINGS AND CURSES: The blessings and curses of the law for obedience or disobedience to all the law have been superseded per Gal 3:10-13. (14) We Gentiles never were under the Old Covenant. We were excluded from it.

    BFP: … go to God and follow the prompting of His Holy Spirit in this area as Paul instructs us to do.

    Kelly: Paul’s farewell sermon to church elders:
    Acts 20:29-35

    29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

    30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

    31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

    32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.

    33 I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel.

    34 Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.

    35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
    BFP: Biblically tithes were meant to be given out of love for God.

    Kelly: Do you have a text for that? According to Numbers 18 the first Levitical tithe was cold hard law and was required whether one loved God.

    BFP: Tithes did not become taxes fro God’s perspective.

    Kelly: Have you ever read 1 Chronicles, chapters 23 to 26? Without God’s objection, the kings used the tithe-receiving Levites has his politicians, judges and rulers.

    BFP: In fact Jesus criticized the religious leaders who made the tithes a temple tax, which was exacted by the priests, rather than something given freely by the people.

    Kelly: The tithe and the temple tax were always different from each other. Tithes could not be used for temple maintenance or for missions.

    BFP: You are definitely right that the perceptions and language of the people changed God’s original intent. I love how much dialogue this topic is generating.

    Kelly: It needs a lot more dialog. Most highly educated theologians run from extended discussions.

    • This is good content. I will add that I don’t think theologians run from discussion (and I am by far no theologian). I think they run from debate. Discussions allow and promote all parties presenting their info in the search of truth and also allow for growth and change as information is presented or revealed. Debate on the other hand only allows each party to present their ideas and concepts with the chance for growth or change. It’s focus is one side convincing the other they are wrong rather than all sides seeking truth and knowledge from each other. If you are interested in a discussion then I would recommend starting at the beginning in Genesis 14:20 which is where God introduces the concept of tithing. Hebrews chapters 5,6, and 7 re-iterate that the Genesis tithe account was God honoring and God initiated. So the first question in our discussion can be is the Genesis account the first time God demonstrated the concept of tithing. From there we can discuss whether that act was an act of love or legalistic service.

  5. Call it debate or discussions, I have encountered hundreds of runners away from my hard questdions. If you are so brave then go to my web site and read the essay on page one. There are 21 points. Try to refute just one of them. Tithing is totally indefensble. Just yesterday I posted an article by the famous Calvinist Owen who agrees with me just as did Maftin Luther. You love Abram in Genesis 14:20? Follow his example and give your 90% to the King of Sodom.

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