Here’s a question that I know my answer will have some people will be accusing me of putting people under a curse. I’d appreciate hearing your thoughts and concerns.
I was raised to tithe. I’ve tithed the better portion of my life. When my husband took over the finances he decided that we couldn’t afford to tithe, so that got cut out.
He still “lets” me give occasionally…if there’s extra, or when I feel particularly led he doesn’t complain or get onto me.
But I still struggle with not tithing. Even though I know he’s the head. I wonder what could I do…is this a case like with David and I think it was Abigail who spared her husband’s life by showing hospitality to David and his men anyway? Or do I follow my husband’s lead and trust that there’s grace (which I know there is, but I also understand there’s a spiritual principal at work when it comes to the tithe)…. I give of my time and energy regularly. Does that count?
And there’s the ongoing “debate” I hear about tithing…isn’t that OT covenant? I seem to think it’s something like the Sabbath that was established before the law was written…something set in creation that was later written into the Law…but maybe I’m wrong?
Would love to hear your thoughts as time allows.
I’ve been waiting for someone to ask me a question like this. I know I’ve got it wrong in the past.
God’s been dealing with things in my wife and I. Basically everything I’ve accepted without testing is now being tested and much is found wanting. Tithing has definitely been found wanting. I’m ready to go public with this but there are a few questions I still have that need answering and I know it’s going to be a strain on every close relationship I have.
It’s not the arguments from silence that convinced me tithing was for people under the law. You can make any argument sound good just by saying, “Jesus never said we had to…” There are only 4 times tithing is mentioned in the New Testament and all of them are talking about it the Old Testament practice. It’s what we do have. What perked my interest was what we did have about tithing in the Bible and church history. Do you know the first time tithing is mention in Church history is supposedly 567? I can only find an English translation of an Italian commentary of a French document, so I haven’t been able to prove that yet. I want to make sure it was a tithe of livestock as one historian says it was.
I believe universal truths need to be found in embryonic stages in the books of the law, lived out in books of history, discussed in the books of wisdom, promised in the prophets, illuminated by Jesus, taught by the Apostles and continued on in the early church. Healing meets all of these criteria. (Why people don’t accept is as doctrine is a totally other discussion). Tithing doesn’t even come close. We have Abraham once giving a tenth to King of Salem from his spoils of war. We have a three-year tithe in Leviticus that was supposed to be used to buy strong drinks and celebrate and basically have a holiday. We have a system in place for social welfare in ancient Palestine. We have Malachi’s denunciation. We have Jesus mentioning a tenth and the writers of Hebrews using Abraham’s story to prove Jesus was the Messiah, not that tithing was the pattern for us to follow. It’s not good theology.
Two thoughts (both came to me from my wife) that makes me know I’m going to have get more vocal about this topic.
First, why do a lot of people give the tithe? Because we’re under a curse if we don’t tithe. (Malachi 3:8-9) Paul tells us that as Christians we can put ourselves under a curse…although he mentions that curse comes on us by doing part of the law and not all of it (Galatians 3:10). He goes onto say that “Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing.” (Galatians 3:13) If we tithe to avoid being under a curse aren’t we giving under compulsion?
I’ve got a real problem with Christians saying we can be under a curse from God. He’s blessed us with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:13) – how can He curse who He has blessed (Numbers 23:8)? I know I want to get a better grasp on Blessing and Cursing. I don’t know if I can believe everything I’ve been taught.
Secondly, I’ve always tithed…and I’ve often used that as an excuse NOT to help others. I’ve shirked my responsibility with a “I gave at the office” mentality.
I’ve got be honest with you. When the penny dropped that God didn’t want a percentage from me the first sense of horror was “there goes the system.” We pay pastors to be spiritual and do the spiritual work that we’d rather not do…the we’re not even trained to do. I was thinking about doing a church plant. How could I support my family if people didn’t tithe? It was actual horror I felt.
When the dust settled I realized it was actually liberating. People would need to be trained and released to do the work of the ministry. The trappings we’ve come to know as “the church” would have to fall away. We’d have to start seeing the church as a body not a building. All of this moves from the place of platitudes to practice when the money dries up from the tithe.
Honestly I don’t know if it will. Barna research shows 6.9% of evangelicals tithe. I interviewed Mike Stickler of The Vision Group and he said in the US the average adult church goer gives $10 a week. I have more concern with what Mike said because I know God wants us to be generous.
2 Corinthians 9:7 talks about giving cheerfully and not under compulsion 2 Corinthians 8:3 encourages giving what you can afford; 1 Corinthians 16:2 discusses giving weekly (although this is a saved amount for Jerusalem); 1 Timothy 5:18 exhorts supporting the financial needs of Christian workers; Acts 11:29 promotes feeding the hungry wherever they may be; and James 1:27 states that pure religion is to help widows and orphans.
I think the best thing you can do is be generous with your time, gifts and money…and stay in agreement with your husband. You’re not under a curse if you don’t tithe. You just don’t get to invest in God’s things when you don’t give.
The Billy Graham Evangelical Association sums it up well…”we should give individually, regularly, methodically, and proportionately. The matter of your giving is between you and God, and He always takes into account our circumstances.”
Hope that helps. Send me any more questions I know there are a lot more to answer.