Summary: How to Teach People to Tithe and Why Some Will Resent It
How to Teach People to Tithe (and Why Some Will Resent It)
Teaching To Tithe
A cartoon shows a fellow in the cemetery holding flowers. The epitaph on the stone before him reads: “Eternally peeved at those who never showed me how to tithe.”
That may well happen.
Since our Lord said giving as He taught means laying up treasure in Heaven (Matthew 6:19-21), it follows that some in Heaven are going to be poorer for not having done that.
What does it mean to “be poorer in Heaven”? I don’t have a clue.
But there it is.
The bottom line is simply that some spiritual leaders (pastors and teachers) are failing to teach stewardship and will be in trouble when they stand before the Lord. That should matter to us.
The ministries of the Lord Jesus here on earth are weaker and fewer because of the failure of the Lord’s people to give faithfully, generously and regularly.
Malachi 3:10’s command to “bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse” gave as its reason “that there might be provisions (literally, bread) in my house.” This clearly refers to funding the work of the Lord.
(Explanation: God’s Word clearly teaches the disciples of the Lord Jesus are to be givers in all areas of life—to the poor, to the needy, to one another as necessary and to support the work of the Lord. Here, we primarily refer to contributing to the work of Jesus through the church.)
At judgement, will non-giving Christians point the finger of blame at their shepherds and mentors for not teaching them the blessings of sacrificial giving? Will both the non-givers and the teachers who failed them be poorer (somehow, don’t ask me how) in the afterlife as a result?
I wouldn’t be surprised.
Some spiritual disciplines we teach not because they are enjoyable but because they are extremely necessary and eternally profitable, no matter how painful some may find them in the short run.
So, let’s admit the obvious here: The carnally minded in every congregation will reject teachings on sacrificial giving and resent anyone teaching it.
Know this going in, young minister.
If you fail to teach God’s call to generous giving, you disobey the Lord and abandon His people. If you do it well, you strengthen the work of everyone dependent on the pipeline of God’s resources flowing to the world from our churches, you will bless the Lord, you will help your people to lay up treasures in heaven and—here it comes—you will be verbally attacked by those who resent any reference to money from the pulpit.
The typical congregation will expect you to raise money mysteriously. That is, they expect that if you teach the Bible well and preach inspiring sermons, by some unknown way, people will automatically put money in the offering plate and the work of the Lord will go forward. To actually mention money by teaching what Scripture says about it is to fail in some way.
Do not expect the fearful flock to be consistent on this. You will be criticized, pastor, if the money does not come in and will be criticized if you speak on it.
Know this going in. Do not be blind-sided.
Only the courageous should ever pastor churches.
Now, a courageous shepherd will inform the flock up front that some are going to hate this. Then, if he’s really brave, he will tell them why: “The mind set on the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit itself to the things of God” (Romans 8:7).
People whose minds are set on the flesh resent being called to make sacrifices for anything. They have other uses for the Lord’s money.
And people whose mind is set on the flesh resent being told their mind is set on the flesh. (They can think of a hundred possible explanations why they want no sermons on money, many of which are legitimate. But the bottom line is always there: Faithful givers love teachings on money; the rebellious hate them.)
All right now.
“How then,” you ask, “would one go about teaching God’s people to tithe?”
I’m glad you asked.
(What follows is not “10 steps to mastering the tithe,” no matter how many points we end up with. It all boils down to a single step. Just one. Please stay with me.)
Here is the plan …
1) Teach the Lord’s people that tithing does not make sense humanly speaking.
It’s counterintuitive, as they say.
That means simply, “It may not look like it is the smartest thing you’ll ever do, but it is.” It may even feel scary as you divert money from some due bills and place in the church offering plate. Faith is always scary.