Tithing is not a matter of salvation.
I want to begin by making this point very clear. Tithing is an act of free will.
The Lord has made our salvation a gracious gift that is absolutely free.
The only reason we have salvation at all is because God is such a gracious giver.
Many have used this abundant grace to justify all kinds of exemptions from the laws and commandments.
The argument against tithing usually goes like this.
We are no longer under the law- therefore we don’t have to tithe.
Because the principle of the law was – If you obey- I will bless you.
Grace turns this principle upside down.
I have blessed you, therefore do this.
Grace takes out all the risk, but there’s still a responsibility.
But too many people have misinterpreted grace as an excuse to do anything or nothing, as they see fit.
To me, that’s like if I had an employer who said;
Hey Lily, I know that you’re a phenomenal employee, and to me, you’re worth double your current salary. I’m so excited about what I know you’re going to do as a part of this company, that I went ahead and gave you a 5 year advance on your salary.
Would I then have the right to take my 5 years worth of salary and go on a vacation in Spain until the money runs out? – No, of course not.
I would be expected to do my job, and my employer would expect me to do it with great joy and enthusiasm.
Grace works in a very similar way.
We have already received the blessing and that should motivate us to do all that is asked.
Last week I talked about the four cornerstones every Christian should establish in their lives
These are 4 cornerstone habits that when established increase your ability to every other goal you want to accomplish.
They are; tithing, daily prayer, daily Bible reading, and weekly attendance at a worship service.
In the coming weeks I want to look into each one on a deeper level, and help you to understand why these four cornerstones are so crucial to your spiritual growth and stability.
Let’s begin by defining the word tithe.
Simply put; To tithe is to give ten percent of your income to God through the church.
I know that a lot of people are arguing that you shouldn’t have to give your tithe to the church, that you should be able to allocate 10% of your income to help whoever you see has a need.
I think that setting aside a portion of your income to help those who are in need is an excellent idea and something we should all practice, but that’s not tithing.
“‘A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord.” – Leviticus 27:30
The fact of the matter is we don’t get to decide how the tithe is used. God wants us to put our trust in Him and His design.
Maybe you’re thinking, that’s not fair, we can’t trust the Pastors to use the tithes properly.
There were some issues in the old testament with those in positions of authority abusing their power and rank when it came to helping themselves to the tithes and offerings, however, God dealt with them individually, and He has the power to do the same today.
Even if we have the unpleasant experience of being shepherded by someone who mishandles church funds, that does not nullify our responsibility to bring the tithe into the storehouse.
Why should we practice tithing?
There are many ways to give to the church, through tithes, offering and seed. Tithing is the only one that has a predetermined percentage associated with it.
Tithing is a lot like circumcision. It’s the cutting away of a small bit that makes the rest strong.
When Abraham entered into that covenant with God, he was a full-grown man. And to surrender himself in that way and undergo the circumcision of his most vulnerable and tender body part demonstrates true trust in God.
We can see examples of God asking us to trust Him throughout the bible.
It’s the act of taking a little bit and using it to represent and sanctify the whole.
Back in Genesis, circumcision was a sensitive topic.
Today, finances are almost equally as sensitive.
Obviously not in a physical way, but people are extremely sensitive when it comes to finances. They don’t want to talk about it, they don’t want it exposed, they don’t want to feel any kind of guilt about their spending habits.
I think God knew that in our humanity we would struggle with finances and especially with giving back to Him even if it’s already His, so He set the bar really low.
10% is a standard that everyone can achieve.
It’s an incredibly small percent.
Our Government takes far more in taxes. But we have come to terms with that because it’s gone before we even see our paycheck.
But when you’re actually withdrawing it from the ATM or writing a check suddenly 10% feels like a lot!
There has been a lot of backlash against churches who still require their members to tithe, because some feel that it’s an unfair expectation.
But whether we like it or not, it’s a biblical principle.
Most people look at Malachi 3:10 and Genesis 14:18-20 when teaching about tithing.
I see evidence of the tithing principle being established from the beginning in the garden of Eden.
Starting in the Garden of Eden.
God asks Adam and Eve to trust Him by obeying his command to not eat from the two trees in the centre of the garden. In other words, don’t touch that which has been sanctified and made holy unto the Lord.
The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Genesis 2: 9-16
God always sets apart something as holy unto Himself and asks us to show Him respect honour and reverence by giving it back to Him or leaving it alone.
What is set apart is used for God’s own purposes.
He has the right to do what He wants with it.
I see the relationship between what God did in the garden to be the closest example of human’s living under the terms of grace as seen in the New Testament after the resurrection of Christ.
I have blessed you, so keep this command.
Today I shared with you the primary principle of tithing.
I’ve decided to break this down into a 3 part series.
The Principle of Tithing
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