Tithe – Yes, I am writing a blog on Tithing

Posted: October 30, 2008 in Of Spiritual Things
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I have heard that most pastors hate giving talks on tithing. I guess it makes since because they are basically talking about their own salaries and they probably assume that most people hate to hear about giving to the church because they know they are not giving as much as they could. I am sure that it is always a big Guilt Fest and the pastor feels like he is trying to pad his pocket. But…

If people could see what we are seeing I think it would change the way we all give. God is moving in this city and people are being drawn into his family. I think if people could see the impact of their dollars given they would be more apt to give, although part of giving is doing it sacrificially on faith, and part of that is not knowing for sure what God is doing with it and then trusting that God has the right servants in the right place to use the gifts appropriately.

I saw a study today that stated that Christians gave more during the Great Depression, out of their poverty, than they do now, out of their wealth. The Christian income average, adjusted to the 2008 dollar, has grown almost 600% but our giving has dropped from 3.3% (1933) to 2.5% (2004). Should we be excited there is economic collapse on the horizon?

My question is, “What if all Christians gave at least 10%?” Well according to this study that would be about $164 Billion dollars per year, which would by all standards wipe out poverty on the globe, send thousands of missionaries worldwide and keep $32 billion for ministry in the States. Wow.

I dream of a church in North Seattle that sees, men and women with eyes who can see, what God does when his people give. But then factor in verses like Malachi 3:10,

“Bring the entire tithe into the storehouse so that there may be food in my temple. Test me in this matter,” says the Lord who rules over all, “to see if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until there is no room for it all.”

Not would we be able to wipe out hunger throughout the world but God would bless us even more. Which, by the way, would only add to the amount we could give and the ministry that could take place.

But no, we settle with 2.5% that we “sacrifice” for God and then we wonder why our store houses aren’t overflowing and we whine to God that we don’t have enough to live on and we get scared when our house falls apart and we don’t have the money for repairs or we get sick and the financial bill is over whelming.

If we sacrificed as a Body of Christ we would see God’s glory poured out. As for me and my house, we want to see that and will tithe accordingly.

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Comments
  1. steward says:

    I’m on board with you on the issue with dealing with poverty. I don’t think tithing in the legal sense is the way to do that. I think people should give freely. Yes, it may be true that if everyone gave 10% we would have 164 billion dollars, but in reality, would it go towards poverty? I very seriously doubt it. How much does the church already take in now, and compare that with how much of that is going to combat poverty? I would dare say that church organizations themselves aren’t even giving 10% of the offerings received towards poverty, or other social programs.

    I understand that the gospel needs to spread and it does take some money to do that, but the Church has transformed itself into a huge machine that absorbs much of the economic resources.

    I believe it was last year that barna came out with some research that shows people are giving less to religious organizations and diverting their funds to community and socially run programs. These trends show that more people are realizing that the Church isn’t doing what it’s suppose to be doing. I don’t know the mind of God but it seems to me that the decline in giving is just a cause and effect. I don’t remember for certain, but i do believe that barna’s records state that giving to charities overall has not declined. So our giving overall hasn’t declined. Doing what we’re suppose to with the money we already have is what’s declining.

    The church hasn’t been faithful over what we have already, so why would our master give us more to be unfaithful over?

    To whom much is given much is required.

    you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.

    -jared b

  2. Christy says:

    Well said…

  3. Diane says:

    I began tithing 15 months ago on a regular basis. I am a single mom, I receive spousal maintenance, and I work 3/4 time. I was at a low point when I began tithing regularly. My life has been transformed and my faith has increased tenfold. I worry much less, and all my bills get paid. I was overextended in debt and I surrenedered my money problems and my bank account to the Lord, along with my homeownership, my parenting, my clients, and all my dreams. I put it all in God’s hands and I practice everyday being obedient to God. My bank account has not been overdrawn once and their is always food on the table, I have paid down my debt and began reinvesting in small opportunities to grow my wealth. It is all His, and I trust Him only. He is faithful, and when I give, I give with my whole heart that He will bless the receiver, and blesses His children for their obedience. He says to test Him on this, and in tough economic times, He will stand true to His word. God is not tied to any economy and money is probably the easiest thing for Him to give us. It is our own issues that block the receiving.

  4. Toddo says:

    Jared, you are right on. My (former) church took in about a million dollars a year in “tithes and offerings”, however they distributed only 1/2 of 1% to help the needy. The leadership didn’t think twice, though, about spending thousands on LCD TV’s for the foyer, 120,000 on a sound system, or 20K+ for a CD music recording. It is deplorable!

    The solution was to break ties with the church and meet with other believers in our homes. It has been such a blessing. Our spiritual needs are met, and we are encouraged to live out our faith. In addition, my giving (still 10%+) is going almost exclusively to feed the poor and help the needy. Isn’t THAT what Christianity is about?

    • keithcarpenter says:

      Thanks for your comments everyone,

      Todd as much as I agree with you on the whole “distributed only 1/2 of 1% to help the needy” your former church so wretchedly miss focused, I must express a very important warning. As we are in the process of starting a church here in North Seattle we deeply desire never to be in debt and remain in small community. Like your new church meeting in your homes we are in the process of creating house churches, I believe fulfilling the Acts 2:42-47 beauty of church and community. This is working great. The house churches are still teaching about tithing and people are tithing sweetly and everyone is helping each other out. We are praying this continues. But….

      We can not as a church run fully away from corporate worship settings. There is a big push in America right now to move everything to small house churches because it is the Biblical way. Well that’s true, it is the Biblical way, but so is corporate worship with thousands. We can’t disregard the thousands who came to Christ in Acts along side the house churches that were formed. Instantly in the early church the Apostles had a problem; the Church was growing! And it was growing fast, which means they had to set up some form of “government.” They did meet in large settings and small settings. So too we are trying to form small intimate House Churches along with weekend Corporate Worship environments that will compliment each other. I think it is working, of course we are only five months into it.

      The topic here is tithing or maybe more the lack there of. We as a Church must be focused on “true religion,” that of feeding the poor and looking after the widows and fatherless, etc. Just because many mega churches are abusing the tithes and offerings doesn’t mean we abolish corporate worship ( and let’s face it many small churches are just as guilty). The fact is even in a house church setting, if Christ is moving and we are fulfilling the “loving God, loving others” and “Go into all the world…” commandments we will grow and then we will have the problem of being “big.”

      So it seems that we as Christians need to get a handle on what Tithes are for and be much more diligent in the truth.

      It’s a fabulous topic that truly needs to be discussed deeply in the Church.

  5. Toddo says:

    Thanks Keith,

    My point is that local congregations (with few exceptions) tend to “eat their tithe” rather than distribute to those in need. I will not debate the validity of the mandatory tithe for the New Testament church, but the model of the early Christians seems to be that giving was voluntary, cheerful, and not specified as to what percentage required.

    I am in no way disparaging the Church meeting an a large group setting. I am, however, questioning the scriptural basis for wasting the resources of God’s People on competing with the world’s entertainment to “put on a great show” to present the Gospel. This reduces the transcendency of God’s Grace to mere emotional response. The Message is best communicated when we love one another (no tithe required).

    Blessings.

    Todd

  6. keithcarpenter says:

    Todd, I totally agree with you. Tithing should be without compulsion and full of joy. As far as church goes, I have the very hard task of trying to balance “spending” tithes. We are a small fellowship at present and are seeing God grow what he has started. All healthy things grow, so at some point we have to start using the money that is tithed to build, in many different ways. That is going to be some difficult conversations. But I think it is important to keep in mind that paying staff, helps the lost find Christ, to a point. Building buildings helps the lost find Christ, to a point. Spending money on sound equipment helps the lost find Christ, to a point. It’s the “point” that we have to discover.

  7. Antonio Gonzalez says:

    Where in the New Testament are christians commanded to tithe? Paul said to give according as we purpose in our hearts without obligation and without necessity,for God loves a cheerful giver.
    The law was given to the jews in the Old Testament Jesus fulfilled ALL OF THE LAW including the Law of tithing. Malachi was talking to the whole nation of Israel,NOT to TODAY’S CHRISTIANS for we are totally under GRACE. If we live under the LAW, we have FALLEN FROM GRACE!

  8. keithcarpenter says:

    Antonio, I am not sure why you wrote your note in about a command to tithe, but it is worth a response. There was nothing in my post that suggested a tithe is a command for the New Testament Christians. I was stating that we are missing out on the blessings that could be ours if we would only trust God with our finances. But let’s be honest, Christians don’t tithe because money is one of the things we don’t want to give up, we have earned it so we feel it belongs to us.
    I have actually had people, “Christians,” say to me, “I have worked hard for this money why should I give it away?”

    They aren’t trapped under the Law but are trapped under Sin; the sin of self worship.

  9. Charles Akes says:

    I agree in that Christians don’t tithe because they don’t want to give it up. I do think that most churches spend the money wrong. If you are going to a church that you don’t have trust in to spend the money according to Gods will than why are you going to that church anyway, even if 90 percent of all churches spent there money on foolish things there would still be 10 percent that don’t. Find them and give your money there. I don’t think you should give the money if you can’t give it with a loving heart. Give as much as you can give happily and I know that if you are doing that you will at some time be giving more than 10 percent. It is very true that we are no longer bound by the law but that doesn’t mean that we can not sin. we are now accountable for what God has revealed to us. I don’t know if it is a sin for everyone but it is a sin for me not to tithe because God has called me to do that. If you are in control of money or anything else that means you are not letting God have control over yet.

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