I recently saw Pastor Jack Hayford’s televised teaching on tithing. It was barely a half-hour program, but what really impressed me was his childhood training on giving. He told about when he was 4 years old, his father introduced tithing to him. Dad gave the boy 10 cents, and told him that would be his weekly allowance, which was quite a lot in those days. Dad explained what tithe meant (10%), then asked Jack how much it would be... Jack said it would be a penny. Pretty smart kid for only 4 years of age!

 Anyway, Jack said from that day forward, he has always given God a penny on every dime he made, if not more. (Imagine only being told once as a small child, then obeying God for a lifetime!)

 During a lean time in his life, Jack actually earned enough to have to pay $100 in tithe. He hesitantly wrote out the check, and he told God it was so hard to do…God spoke “Son, it is still just a penny”.

 Jack testified he then "found out that tithing is the springboard to financial success. Mal 3:8 reads, …will a man rob God? You have robbed me in tithes and offerings”.  We bring poverty upon ourselves, for loving our money more than God. When we are selfish, God cannot give to US as He could if we would release what we hold dear unto Him. That is the secret to financial blessing. Where our treasure is, there our heart is also”.

 I started to think about that message from Pastor Hayford, and realized a few things for myself.

God doesn’t need our money…”the gold is mine, the silver is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills (all that is in, on, and under the earth)”. What He wants is to be first in our lives, and money is a big test of loyalty, because we need it to live. When you read Malachi in the Living Bible, you plainly see all the prosperity God promises to those who love Him enough to give their money to His works. God equates our giving to our loving Him.

God writes our names down in His Book of Remembrance… the names of those who have loved and revered Him by their obedience in giving; who loved God enough to put Him to the test. He challenged them to just try it!

 At the time of Malachi, the money was given to the temple. This was, in part, to feed the whole tribe of Levite priests and their families, as well as to supply all the expenses for the temple itself. The Levites didn’t own any land like the other tribes, so they were to be taken care of by the offerings given to the Lord by the rest of Israel (Joshua 13:14, 33 and Joshua 14:3, 4).

 Today, most ministers can and do own their land, and agree upon whatever income their church is able to offer. With so many church programs and outreaches we have these days, the tithe should still be brought to the local assembly (storehouse).

 There are scores of places where our “Offerings” can go, and we should really be led of the Lord as to where to put those…(missions, perhaps?)

The New Testament does not necessarily teach tithing, which means 10% of all our income. Some ask if we are to tithe on our gross or take-home pay. I personally feel, the actual amount you bring home is your income. Of course, you will also tithe on your income tax return as well, and amounts to the same thing in the long run.

The Apostle Paul is the one who was called to teach God’s ways to the Gentiles, (Acts 9:15). Christ fulfilled the Law, and handed down the age of Grace. We are now under Grace, and need to see what Paul has to say on the matter.

 First of all, in the book of Malachi Chapter 3 verse 9, God says, “You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed me; even this whole nation”. Leviticus 27 says “…the tithe is the Lord’s”.

 Paul tells us that we have been redeemed from the curse of the law through Christ, (Galatians 3:13). Christ fulfilled the law for once and for all. The law was given to Moses for the Jewish people, to show them what sin was in God’s eyes. The law was as a schoolmaster to bring us up to Christ, that we might be justified by faith, (vs. 24).

 The believer is both dead to the law, and redeemed from it, so that he is” not under the law but under grace” (Rom. 6:14; 7:4; Gal. 2:19; 4:4-7: 1Tim. 1:8-9).

God has given each of us time, talent, and treasure. He has left it up to us as to what we do with them. He is not going to send us to Hell or love us any less if we New Testament Believers do not tithe.

Paul does not specifically use the term “tithe” but he does talk about giving of our treasure (as well as our time and talent) when he speaks of the universal law of reciprocity (sowing and reaping).

 In 2 Corinthians 9, Paul is talking about giving offerings to the saints in need. He said if we sow sparingly, we shall reap sparingly, but if we sow bountifully, we shall reap bountifully.

Paul said that each person should purpose in his own heart as to what to give; not grudgingly, or because he has to, but cheerfully, (God loves a cheerful giver).

 I do not know what they did about tithes in Paul’s churches, because I cannot find anywhere that Paul even taught on tithing! Their services were held in the homes, as they had no public place to worship, other than the Jewish temple…which was under the law and did not recognize Jesus as the Christ (Messiah). If the Christians went there, it was to teach or win converts to Jesus. The Christians had no public place in which to worship Jesus. Since Paul taught giving to others, I’m sure they took up an offering for the owner of the home/church for any expenses the host or pastor would incur. They also were big on giving to missions, and other churches in need.

 Paul speaks in Romans 7 about the Law, and uses the example of when a woman is married to a man, it is binding until he is dead…then she is free of the marriage. He likens that to what Christ did for all of us versus the Law…Jesus died and we are free. We cannot mix grace and law.

 So where does that bring us with the tithing question? I personally have concluded that I am not in any danger of Hell if I do not tithe, nor am I under any curse such as in Malachi 3, according to Galatians 3:13 …and God still loves me.

 However, Paul still teaches giving as God leads us. I think the 10% is a good target goal. It is just enough to pinch but not enough to break you. I remember a time when I only had a quarter…I was embarrassed to give it, until the Lord reminded me of the Scripture that said “not to go before the Lord empty-handed”, (Deut. 16:16). Since the giving of the quarter, I have given away thousands of dollars…and I feel that lowly quarter was my springboard to financial blessings.

It was like the widows mite…and has nothing to do with 10% law. Even the next verse in Deuteronomy 16 says “Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord thy God which He hath given thee”…and that is also Old Testament Offering Law. So the bottom line is, to choose an amount that you can give and stick to that amount faithfully; then work up to the tithe…even if it takes years. The next step after that is to go BEYOND the Law; beyond the tithe.

Jesus taught beyond the Law when speaking of adultery in Matthew 5:27-28.

This is the New Testament standard of giving…if you sow, you reap, be it sparingly or generously…your choice. It is all according to your faith. Some people are so bound by the tithing LAW that they will let their bills go in order to give to the church. I personally feel that I cannot give away someone else’s money, since I have made an agreement with the power company to pay my bill which I owe to THEM. Here again, I will not diminish anyone’s faith. It is one thing to give out of faith and quite another to give out of fear. Only you can judge your own motives…God already knows.

 The bottom of the bottom line is, “according to your faith, be it unto you”. You are not bound  to give any particular amount, but you are blessed if you faithfully do your best. Our heart is the heart of the matter! It is a love thing towards God. We give out of love not law.

 If you have no money at all, then give away SOMETHING. One millionaire started out by giving away pencils on the street, because he understood the law of sowing and reaping. I have given away meals that I prepared to the elderly, or groceries to those who didn’t have money for food. There were times my cupboards were almost bare, but not anymore.

Be at peace with your own convictions. Amen!

God Bless You All,
Pastor Moser
February, 2007

 W. O. W.

 Give away what you need the most!