Summary: Malachi #7
The Truth About Tithing
I was thinking last week as we took the offering, that we had this all planned wrong. We should have had the offering right after the message! What do you think? No, not a good idea.
Like I said last week, in some ways I’m hesitant to even preach on this subject lest some of you think I’ve got some ulterior motive to get you to give to the church or something. But that is not the case. Money IS something we need to talk about, though. Christ talked about it a lot, as I mentioned last week. It’s important for us to get God’s perspective on money and giving.
We probably handle money more than any other thing. Of course, some with they could handle more of it! :) But, think about it...
Whether it’s paying bills, writing checks, swiping your credit card, going to the bank, going to the store, taking your purse or wallet out, feeling the change in your pocket, surfing the internet and buying stuff on eBay, etc. How we handle money is an important area of life and the Bible has a lot to say about it.
Like other things in life, money is a monitor (a barometer) on our spiritual lives. How we handle our marriage, our children, our work, our relationships with others, prayer, Bible study, are all barometers of our spiritual lives. Money is no different.
We have to begin to think of money as a stewardship. Let me try to illustrate it this way... Let’s suppose that your boss gives you $100 to buy something for him. He tells you that will have to give account for how you spent this $100. So he gives you the $100.
So, in this illustration, who owns the $100? Whose money is it?
Now, let me ask you this: the money that’s in your wallet or purse, the money that’s in your bank account, whose money is it? God’s!
If you would have to give an account to your boss who gave you $100, how much more will we have to give an account to God for how we spend HIS money?
That leads to today’s subject...
How are we to give money that God has entrusted to us? What is the solution? What is God’s plan for giving? Does He give us any help in His Word? What does the Bible teach about giving? What, exactly is the biblical pattern for giving?
This might surprise you, but the conclusion I’ve come up with after a study of God’s Word is this:
(1) Pay your taxes
(2) Give God whatever you want
Now many people, good people, people I respect, come along and they say that the solution to everything is to just accept the biblical pattern, which is 10%. They teach that the biblical standard of giving is the tithe or 10%. And they justify the 10% by saying if the law required 10% certainly grace would require at least 10%. I appreciate their sincerity in saying this, but I’ve got some problems with it. One problem I have with it is that the tithe is never mentioned in the New Testament in reference to the churches giving. Never. Not once. In all the passages where the church gives, there is no mention at all any place of tithing.
You know what’s wrong with the 10%?
1) It’s giving for the wrong reason. It’s giving to fulfill an obligation rather than a response to a loving, willing heart.
2) It hinders what you could do by making you think you’re done. Giving is never to be by coercion. Giving is never to be by compulsion. And giving isn’t any slick gimmick. It’s offensive to God.
God’s pattern for giving is not tithing in the New Testament. It isn’t even tithing in the Old Testament. It never has been tithing, and I’ll try to explain why I can say that as a result of our study this morning.
Now, since we are focusing our subject on tithing, and since tithing is never mentioned in the New Testament following the time of Christ, we are going to look at the history of giving by dividing it into two major historical sections:
1. Giving Before Moses (Law)
2. Giving From Moses to Jesus
1. GIVING BEFORE MOSES (the Law)
The people who teach that we should tithe, teach on this basis: Since the tithe was before Moses, since Abraham tithed and Jacob tithed before the Mosaic Law, it is therefore to be after the law. It is a universal principal, therefore, since the tithe was first and came before the law. Follow the logic there? Makes sense, right? The problem with that is if you’re going to accept anything before the law as norm for after the law, the Sabbath was also before the law, right? So we’ve got to quit meeting on Sundays.