Is the tithe slavery?
Lately, many people have complained about their poor financial situation, which “prevents them from tithing and makes them feel guilty.” On a TV show, through tears, a caller asked me if he needed to keep increasing his credit card debt to donate to his church. This is a frequently asked question I hear: “Should I tithe on my credit card when I have a balance?”
Let’s look at two issues involved in this question. First, should I tithe (a tithe is one-tenth)? Do not; today there is no biblical basis for tithing. You will not find in the New Testament the tithe practiced and taught after the resurrection of Jesus; it’s not there. But, this is not a “get out of jail free” card. God owns everything, we are His stewards and we must spend all funds under His direction; we must account for 100% of Your funds.
Tithing under the Mosaic Law was temporary To get to the heart of the tithe, understand why God presented it to Israel. God did not give the Levites specific geographic areas in the Promised Land, but instead assigned them cities and pastures from the assignments of other tribes (Numbers 35: 2-3). To provide for the Levites, the poor, the widows, the orphans, and to teach Israel to celebrate, fellowship, and worship him, God introduced three tithes under the Mosaic Law: Levitical tithe (Numbers 18: 21-32), Festive tithe (Deuteronomy 14: 23-2), and the Poor tithe (Deuteronomy 14: 28-29).
Jesus replaced the temporary priesthood The death and resurrection of Jesus fulfilled the law of tithing, canceling the need for animal sacrifices by Levitical priests to eliminate individual sins. Jesus replaced the temporary Aaronic office of High Priest with a permanent priesthood (Hebrews 7:24). Jesus is the High Priest after the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 5: 4-6). Today, we do not need intermediaries to be in communion with God; every believer is a priest (1 Peter 2: 5-9).
So if the tithe doesn’t apply, should we stop giving? God owns everything (Psalm 24: 1-2) – He already has 100% and we have nothing. Our goal is to ask you how much He will give us of His 100%. God has called us to turn over all areas of our life to Him, including 100% of your funds, for His direction. So we must not live in silos with circumstances that dictate our behavior: separate work, church, home, financial lives.
God owns everything Our heart condition is the central concern. Do we accept God’s sovereignty over all the possessions we use? Are we prepared to hold them freely and make them all available to you? I call grace to give under the New Covenant, agreement, because he accepts God’s ownership of everything, it’s God’s save– and I must be his butler. Believers have nothing, so they cannot give God anything but their hearts. In the first Christian reference after Pentecost, with the new church disorganized, as needs arose, believers shared what they had directly with each other (Acts 2: 44-45). They did not tithe. Soon after, the believers brought gifts to the apostles to share (Acts 4:35, 37; 5: 2). They did not tithe. Later, that practice changed and people began to fulfill their individual responsibilities to God. They began to practice giving thanks, agreement. We see the agreement lifestyle in these four scriptures:
- The Selfless Giver – 2 Corinthians 8: 2-7
- The Hilarious Giver – 2 Corinthians 9: 7-8
- The regular giver – 1 Corinthians 16: 2
- The Helpful and Hospitable Giver – Romans 12:13
Don’t give in when handled
If God convinces you of your financial status, confess, repent, and He will guide you through your current challenge. It will; you can count on him. He loves you and me so much that he died for us. Isn’t it amazing? Today, many unscrupulous ministries and churches try to get money from you with promises of healing and wealth. They encourage you to give on credit and promise to bless you with something in return, which implies that God will not bless you unless you give to they. Still, there are many legitimate ministries. They make God’s call and they don’t try to scam you. They need our prayers and financial support. Pray; Ask God to lead you to these ministries, churches and other God fearing groups, and to steer you away from the television evangelist of health and wealth, name him, say so, who speaks smoothly and others with similar motivation.
Do you give in with your credit card?
To the second question, should you find your credit card? Ask the Lord to guide all your spending, including giving; remember you have nothing! Understand that giving with credit cards spills funds out of His kingdom and giving with a credit card while in debt leads to more debt. In fact, if you can’t pay your credit card balance in full, you shouldn’t have one; I did not use it.
Don’t give in when pressured, coerced, manipulated by the church or ministries. Remember the words of the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 9: 7: Every man [person] You must give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or out of obligation, because God loves a cheerful giver.
Copyright (c) 2010 Michel A. Bell.