Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Why I Tithe


I heard some people talking the other day about whether tithing is a New Testament command or not. It got me thinking about tithing again and about why I tithe.

I thought I would share with you why I believe in, practice personally, and encourage others to tithe.

First of all I think that the New Testament provides overwhelming encouragement for the Christian to tithe; to give 10% of their income to their local church. However I don’t think that this encouragement is found through particular passages to do with tithing but rather in a broader appreciation of New Testament teaching and the gospel narrative.

Therefore to me: tithing is a logical discipline in response to other convictions.

Tithing is a rhythm, a practice, a discipline, that in a tangible way reminds me of my convictions and aligns my living to my convictions, keeping my heart focused on ‘his will be done’ rather than ‘my will be done.’

I believe that the New Testament...

· Clearly expounds the value and importance of the local church. The church is a community, the church is a ministry, the church is to be light and salt in the world, a witness and an outreach which by the power of the Spirit exists to extend the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. At the same time the church in the Western 21st Century context is to a degree a ‘service provided’ and requires funds to operate. Because I believe so much in the local church I give to the local church. My heart is in the local church and my finance follows.

I believe that the New Testament...

· Promotes togetherness and that together as believers we are the church and are called to together build, finance, resource and be the people of God. Together we give to fund the work and ministry of the local church. The tithe is a way in which all can contribute together.

I believe that the New Testament...

· Makes it clear that all we have belongs to God. Our finances of course but also our time, gifts, talents, abilities, passions, affection, devotion. All these things and everything else is God’s. Not a percentage of, but them in their totality.

Methodists, among others, have always taught "tithing," giving 10% of whatever we earn to the Church. Their founder though, John Wesley, was opposed to tithing. He thought 10% was simply too little to give to the work of God and might create the foolish illusion that 90% of one’s money is one’s own! It all belongs to God. I conquer in that we should not allow tithing to create illusions regarding the rest of our finance and resource.

I believe that the New Testament...

· Teaches that Christian’s are to live counter to the way of the world. In the face of consumerism and materialism Christians are to practice simplicity, sacrifice and generosity. We are to put our faith in Jesus Christ not in our finances.

I believe that the New Testament...

· Highlights the practice of tithing as admirable and worthwhile. While at the same time emphasising that it is entry level and there is far more to generosity and Christian living than just the tithe. We are to seek justice, equality, shalom. We are to do good works, minister to the poor, bring hope to the hopeless.

With all of this in mind, for me tithing is and obvious practice of massive benefit to my Christian walk. Tithing is a natural and essential part of my Christian faith.

Tithing is a rhythm, a practice, a discipline, that in a tangible way reminds me of my convictions and aligns my living to my convictions.

Through tithing I take first steps in supporting, believing in and getting behind my local church, its ministry and work in our community and in the community.

Through tithing I partner with other believers who tithe and share a common practice with them which unites and brings us together in commitment to the way of the Kingdom.

Through tithing I take first steps in ensuring that I live out my belief that all I have is God’s, is for God, and belongs to God. I practice putting my trust in Him rather than possessions.

Through tithing I stand against consumerism and materialism and practice sacrifice, simplicity and generosity.

Through tithing I continue a practice that has been alive in many churches for hundreds of years, a practice that when removed of manipulation and grounded in freedom is life giving, life changing and kingdom expanding.

Why do you tithe? Why don’t you tithe? Got questions on tithing?

4 comments:

Russell Earl Kelly said...

For a completely different viewpoint see www.tithing-russkelly.com

israel D said...

Thanks Joseph, I also feel their is evidence that taking on a personal mindset or 'rhythm', while not explicitly instructed, definitely extends Jesus' message of sacrifice and servant-hood.

Luke 21:1-4
[21:1] As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. [2] He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. [3] "I tell you the truth," he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others. [4] All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on."

The story of the widow gives evidence of the mindset we can adopt, and contrary to this excerpt from Russell Earl Kelly's conclusion on his main page (I'm sorry if I have misunderstood the context of this statement),

Tithing failed national Israel and it has also failed the Church (Heb 7:12-19). Churches showcase success stories but fail to mention the testimonies of those who have tithed for generations without escaping poverty. Today the very lowest income class pays the largest percentage to charity. Yet most remain in poverty. Meanwhile many atheists become wealthy by simply following principles of money management which also makes many tithers successful.

I feel Christians are encouraged to give without expecting to receive, but do this out of a heart of giving. Jesus died knowing very well that many would reject him, however he still did it out of love; so should we give out of a love of how God intends us to live.

We must endeavor to take ourselves from the main focus, and instead place others above us, drastically challenging the world's self-absorbed, geocentric attitude.

Russell Earl Kelly said...

Acts 21:20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law:

Acts 21:20 very strongly implies that the Jewish Christians in Judea were still tithing to the Temple system over 30 years after Calvary.

The widow was not tithing. She was giving a sacrificial freewill offering.

Please do not skip over the first 19 points of my essay on page one of my web site. I would like to see any of the first 19 refuted with sound hermeneutics.

Eugene Petzer said...
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