By: Loren C. Due, Ph.D.
This is a very touchy subject with many because of the concepts and doctrine which has been taught over several thousand years. I start out with a sentence like this because I believe it is not an issue of salvation or a matter of obedience to a given doctrine or teaching from a denomination. I say it is not a matter of salvation because I don’t find a scripture the directly says or hints that if you don’t pay tithes you are going to hell and will miss out on heaven. If you have such a scripture I would be open to hearing it and seeking to know its relevance to the issues at hand. I am not attempting to stop funds from flowing into churches and ministries but rather give an alternate thought that might cause more to be poured into churches and ministries because it comes from the heart rather than the head.
With that said I want you to know that I will write my opinions and concepts with the easiest tools available. I am not writing these articles trying to create another denomination but rather share the truth as I see it from the Word of God. I understand and expect individuals not to agree with me. It is good to have differences of opinions and thoughts to help us get to the truth. Iron sharpens iron! I know the Bible can be interpreted in many different ways, but one thing I hope we all agree on is the there is one way to God and that is through Jesus Christ. I happen to believe that the Jesus Christ we see in pictures and posters of an Anglo man is not what the real Jesus Christ looks like; but does looks matter!
The scripture tells us he was from Bethlehem of Judah and that he was a Nazarite which is the country closer to the equator than the North Pole which means that he was dark in color and had features more like a black man. Regardless of what the real Jesus looks like his words have power and give us the peace with need to come to him and be saved. He was obedient to God the Father to come to this earth to redeem us from the clutches of death. So in the final essence his color doesn’t matter it is his power to save and transform our life.
I mention the above first because if we believe that Jesus was God in the flesh and that he came to redeem us why is it so hard to believe him when he said: Luke 16:16 (KJV) 16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. I believe what he is saying here is that he fulfilled the essence of the law and that our worshipping him in spirit and truth by obeying his word relieves us of maintaining all the ritualistic things of the law. We must obey his word and have faith in order to please him and when we deviate from his word by sinning or committing a trespass we must repent and ask his forgiveness.
The key with this article is to understand why people still bring tithe to church when tithing in Malachi 3:10-11 (NLT)
10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test! 11 Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them from insects and disease. Your grapes will not fall from the vine before they are ripe,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. I used the New Living Testament for clarity rather than the King James Version. I have not seen where green backs ripen and became diseased!
What I find most interesting is that these scriptures refer to tithing with crops not money. I know that arguments that say we now must tithe with whatever we have as our income producing source. I have used the argument on occasion to justify tithing. Since the Holy Spirit I believe open my eyes to the real meaning of Luke 16:16 I refuse to continue to use that logic.
Please understand this shift in understanding the scripture is not to get out of giving money to the church; it frees me from the law. Jesus said it this way: Luke 6:38 (KJV) 38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. I believe Jesus idea of this scripture is that when you give it is like a seed planted and when seeds are planted they produce a return or harvest of what was planted. So Jesus says that it will come back to you or you receive a harvest that is “good measure” “pressed down” “shaken together and running over” that men will give back to you. You give out and it comes back in multiple ways.
Jesus does not stop there but goes on to say that “with same measure that you mete it will be measured back to you!” He is giving you to know that if you give you will receive something back in return. By the fact that Jesus said you will receive something lets you know that it will be a supernatural blessing from above.
The Apostle Paul says it this way: 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 (KJV) 6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: The Apostle Paul starts out with a simple principle of sowing and reaping with the compare and contrasts of little verses much. To sow sparingly is close to being stingy and to be a bountiful person is probable someone who is very generous. He is illustrating the difference from being a little giver to one who gives a lot.
A key point the Apostle Paul is making is that the giving process starts in the heart not with the law. When you give with your heart hopefully your heart is being guided by the Holy Spirit. When you are guided by the Holy Spirit it will guide you to give based on truth; that is based on what you have the ability to give. Giving from the heart is like you are like the women who gave all when she gave her two mites; the group gave more from their abundance, but she gave all she had from her heart and pocket book.
Then the Apostle Paul challenges attitude in giving by saying that you must not give with a grudge on your heart or because you feel it a necessity. This comment alone should help you see that the giving the way that Jesus and the Apostle Paul are suggesting is not based on law or some rigid formula, but based on the desire to give to please the Lord Jesus and fulfill your hearts’ desire to be a giver. Under the law it does not care about your attitude, your heart and your desire to give by love. The law just says you do this or else. Jesus death was out of love and our giving back to him should be out of love not rigid and without heart.
Will you consider giving from your heart rather than from the law?