Tithing

Do you have Mal 3:10 [with fear of an – OT – curse] in mind, either scared by it for someone else holding it to your head or more sinister, are you using it to get others to pay their way via your “leadership”? Have you considered even Gal 3:13-14; Jn 8:32,36; Rom 8:30-39 or 10:1-11?  Let’s take a closer look.

First, contemplate Gal 5:4,18; Heb 8:13; 9:8-18;10:10-14.  In Dt 14:22-26, they were even to spend their tithe on themselves and their own households on whatever they desired!  Religion clouds the correct understanding of concepts such as “curse” or “bless”. Refer to the meditations “The will of man and the will of God” (p.13, “to bless (or curse) someone); and “The Gospel”, p.1 with a short discussion entitled “religion vs a relationship”.

The religious (Jn 3:3) scared by a “curse”, or even trying to use it like magic (voodoo) for control, must still get the revelation that God is Love (see the meditation “God is Love”).  “Curse” or “bless” is not to be understood as a verb [magic] but a declaration of either an observation where someone has ended up or a position where someone will probably end up in if no alteration is made by choice (Rom 8:14; Jn 14:6,26), such as unselfish living (Mt 7:12). A “blessing” is therefore not a sanctification that can be imparted from one human to another (Jn 3:16-21; 14:6; Phil 3:9; Eph 1:3-10) but rather a good wish or hope or declaration [observation] that someone will be [or has ended up] in a good spiritual position. You cannot bewitch [“bless” or “curse”] someone into a condition or state without that person’s co-operation, for then that person’s free will has to be removed.  God is Love and will not remove anyone’s free will (God is not a manipulator or dictator).  Similarly therefore, does any notion that anyone can buy/pay his way into heaven or God’s Kingdom, show a dismal lack of insight and knowledge of Love [God as a perfect Father].  Hear then, the Spirit of God in Rom 10:1-4; even 12:14 (13:14) and let’s read on…

Note at Heb 11:6 and Mt 6:33.  Remember, we cannot buy favor from God! And, giving to get, is a transaction not a gift. Beware of preachers that take specific verses out of context to manipulate with fear. Do read Heb 11:6, for instance, with the verse directly before it! Suffice for now to show the connection with the popularly quoted Gal 6:7 as a threat to those who don’t tithe, with the verse directly following (:8) that is ignored!  Gal 6:8 starts with the word “For”… and the context is about everlasting Life, not tithing or agriculture…  Gal 6:7 is briefly discussed in a separate paragraph further on in this short meditation.  At any rate, Heb 11:5 refers to Enoch that did not see death (The meditation “The Testimony” expands on this).  Read also Heb 6:8 and Jn 15:1-7.  Similarly does Mt 6:33 not insinuate you must pay a membership with money to get fed and clothed by God, it teaches that fear [panic] essentially is distrust [unbelief] in the abilities that God gave us and the spiritual authority Jesus paid for with His Blood, for those following His precepts (Jn 14:10-15; 1 Jn 2:4).  Contemplate carefully Heb 12:2; Col 1:20-23; and hear Paul in Gal 1:6-9 with 1 Cor 9:12,15-19 and Jesus in Mt 10:8! Also 1 Cor 1:17 and Rom 6:6,16…

Then, think about the limit placed on the giver, if the first and best 10% of income is tied to one place.  The excuse then, that there is not enough left to give elsewhere [when in fact needed], and that every congregation will sort out their own needy, sounds very much like what Jesus warned against in Mt 15:1-8, with a special note of Mt 15:9! Read Rom 12:9 with Mt 7:15-23; also, Prov 8:13; 11:20-21; 12:17,28; 16:5; 21:4; Jer 23:10-23; Jn 14:6,23-26; 1 Jn 2:4 and Rev 22:17 (Mt 10:8b).

And those who think what they give more than 10% is an offering that impresses God, must quickly ponder Heb 10:5-10 (Ps 40:6-8); Phil 3:9 or Rom 3:27-28; even Mt 5:23-24 that shows that the weight of the human offer is nowhere near determined in the ritual, but the heart [intention and reason for it], and ties in with the principle warning found in Mt 3:8-9; 23:12-15, 23-28.

Note at Ps 40:6-8.  God is not saying He does not want repentance! The baptism of John the Baptist was exactly that – for mere religious people to confess and repent and turn back to a genuine relationship with God in Spirit and in truth (Jn 4:23-24; Rom 8:14). And this is why an infant cannot be baptized [yet]! (Refer to the meditation “Baptism” for an exegesis, and perhaps a huge revelation, on this statement). Carefully ponder Heb 10:5-14. Note that God expects us to know Him more accurately than to perpetually stay trapped in our flesh (Rom 8:6-8) and self-righteousness and that He has given us that capacity [to be one with Him in Christ, but that He never – as Love – manipulates]! Hence Jn 17:15-23 and even Jn 3:17-21 that reveals we are our own worst enemy under Law (Jn 1:17)! Rom 8:9 leads to what is explained in Eph 1:3-14 and 1 Pet 1:3-16.  If we grasp this (as in Rom 12:1-2; 2 Cor 4:16; 5:14-17; Eph 4:22-25); we will also perhaps have a deeper insight into the otherwise puzzling statement by Jesus in Mt 6:13 (Js 1:13-14)! Hear Paul in Phil 3:9-10… may we come to know Him better [more accurately, Rom 10:1-4]; for then we will know the will of God (refer to the meditation “The will of man, the will of God”), and His will is thus rather that we should never have been in the calamities we spiritually end up in (Is 5:18), that would never have happened if we really were closer to Him and obeyed HIS Voice… so indeed, may we be in the place [spiritual position] to not have the need to be led out of temptation! Praise the Lord Jesus Christ (Mt 6:11 with Jn 1:1-4,12-17 and then Jn 6:32-33,47-50… “The Testimony” expands on this immense possibility) !

So, let’s examine this, shall we? (Just to check:  you did read Mt 23:5-10, 13-15, 23-28… about them?)

 

Abracadabra algebra

There was an amusing Television advertisement that showed a shrewd grandpa with three grandchildren at his feet, dividing cookies: “One for me, one for you (child #1); one for me, one for you (child #2); one for me, one for you (child #3)…”  Soon grandpa had many more than any of them (still oblivious).

A congregation in a city could easily have 10 000 paying members – and we won’t even use TV ministries as an example…  Members are usually made aware that they need to pay 10% of their gross income (not net income after deductions).  Remember now, that this money is tax-free and the majority of workers are volunteers. Take your calculator and do the math. How then, dare the leader of that congregation still ask for “collection money” (cash) at every “service” held and on top of this expect donations for all those “extra” requirements such as an urn for the kiosk, an electric gate, and so forth? And don’t forget the annual bazaar where members sell to each other their stuff and hand it to the “church”.  Then “outreaches” have to be funded by member’s own begging elsewhere, while at any rate, they seem to not understand at all Lk 15:8-9 or even Mt 23:15,26; Lk 11:39 or Mt 10:5-6,8?

Now, let’s calmly think about all this.

God is a Perfect Father and does not want hopeless beggars and certainly not self-centered hypocrites that, bereft of Truth, imagine that godliness or righteousness is a source of profit, a money-making business, or a means of livelihood (1 Tim 6:5-6; 2 Thess 3:8-9; Eph 5:5-7). Neither would His genuine followers [children] be niggardly and egoistic. God is Love and [true] love does not insist on its own rights nor is it self-seeking (1 Cor 13:5). We should, therefore, as His followers, radiate Him to the world that is a joyful Giver. God would never germinate and cultivate the idea to be a selfish, grumpy hoarder. This is ironically exactly what drives people that “give” but with the real intention to get [for themselves buy favor or advantage in any way, shape or form]!

The whole issue of tithing then, to tie in with the rest of Scripture as God’s Word, is probably rather the following:
(i) To show we truly believe that God is our provider [we can put our money where our mouth is]. But, for a fuller exegeses of how God provides, refer to the meditation “The will of God”.
(ii) To simply show that we can be more useful being generous and helping, than stingy and selfish.
(iii) The genuinely joyful giver (2 Cor 9:7) simply proves his appreciation and faith [trust in God’s provision] and fuller understanding of the joy of/in the Lord (Heb 12:2; Jude 1:24-25), as those mentioned in 2 Cor 8:2 must have known (not the false show of hypocrites as in Job 20:5).
(iv) But most certainly not to rely on ourselves for our own salvation! Think carefully about this biggest joy [gift, payment] of all. Consider also the meditations such as “The Gospel”, “The Covenant and the Law”, and so on. A great revelation awaits those who try to function under Law. See here what the hypocrites (scribes!) were trying to do in Jn 9:28 (Jn 1:17; Rom 3:20? Mt 23:23-28!)!

What it’s about

We read in The Bible the first inkling of human tithing in Gen 14:20 from Abram the Chaldean. Observe that Israelites (from Jacob, Gen 32:24-30) did not exist for another two generations – Gen 11:27-12:1; 15:7. This Abram was later re-named Abraham by the Lord (Gen 17:1-9; Gal 3:16-29). Abram encountered Melchizedek (Gen 14), the King of Salem (later called Jerusalem, v18), who gave a preview of the “Lord’s supper” (Gen 14:18. See the meditation “Who is Jesus Christ” for a discussion on Jesus pre-carnate). So, Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of his loot (Gen 14:20; Heb 7:1-10); but with the king of Sodom Abram refused any dealing [sharing] and insightful refused to take anything from sodomites (Gen 14:21-23; compare Dan 5:17; see the meditation “Homosexuality”). Then Abraham’s grandson Jacob made his vow to God at Bethel (Luz) in Gen 28:22. Note Gen 28:17 and that Jacob in v22 said it will be as God’s house [a sacred place] to him [Jacob]. Now compare Acts 7:48; 17:24; 2 Cor 5:1; Heb 9:11-15. Tithing was at any rate not one of the Ten Commandments (Dt 5:1-21). We read in Dt 14:23 that there appears to be a principle to grasp in these likewise methods [ways, processes] that were meant to merely serve as “trainers” (Gal 3:12, 23-27). This is briefly discussed in the paragraph “The Law” below.

It is interesting to read a seemingly casual edifying statement in Ex 16:36, “Now an omer is the tenth part of an ephah.” More interesting is the Hebrew word for “tenth” there, namely עשׂירי (as-ee-ree’, H6224), which is from H6235 an abbreviation of tenth month or feminine part! Is the bride of Christ symbolically in here somewhere? We also have Heb 7 telling us about the mysterious Melchizedek, king of Salem and priest of the Most High God… Read and contemplate this chapter [7] again. Certainly food for thought.

If you somehow have the notion that your tenth of your [gross!] income paid to a ‘denominational’ establishment or a preacher are sort of down payments on a place [in heaven] where God can build your house in space somewhere, you are under a gross misunderstanding – sorry. The whole earth and everything on it belongs to God, and yet some people think they are buying favor/entrance to “heaven” with money and things from this earth [that all belongs to God anyway]? No, the mature and true [real] Christian will grasp what it’s about. It’s about unselfish giving and a practical eternal spiritual Life. The inner peace about this subject is very much about the motive [of the giver]. This is what God knows [consider]. Most “Christians” seem to think that their main purpose is to get to heaven and not to hell without realizing that such a mission is all only about them [the self and its own ‘destination’], not Jesus Christ [God]! Think about God’s institution, the marriage, and its prophetic image of a Groom and a Bride [Christ and His Church]. Now, is this bride supposed to be obsessed [focused] on what she can get out of this deal [arrangement] or is she supposed to be intimately devoted to her husband the Person [He is to her!] – … for better or worse, sickness and health, as long as she shall live?… Contemplating the other meditations by this author such as “The Gospel”, “Mixing Old and New”, and so on; might also help.

God does not want you to only “suffer [lack] for Him” or die for Him but to LIVE victoriously for Him until He returns (1 Thess 5:23; Ps 23:1; Mt 10:8)! The meditations entitled “Riches” and “The Testimony” by this author expands on this great Truth. People like Abraham, Job and Solomon were VERY rich. You have to have something to bless other people with until they too can have their needs met – but not in uselessness or dishonesty.

God most certainly does not want people looking for excuses to not give freely.  This would not be followers of His Gospel.  But, certainly neither will preachers be His followers in truth while enriching themselves with the tenths of their congregation and then arrogantly brag about even their own wealth or from the safety of their cushy income preach to their congregation by in fact manipulating their members with condemned “steps of faith”!  The [full time] preacher should get a fixed, reasonable salary, not a percentage of the congregation’s contributions! And what does this preacher do with the contributions?  Is this leader being a good and Godly steward?  Is this preacher ripping Gal 6:7 and – their favorite – Mal 2:10, out of context because it suits them well in running the business they are the CEO of? Is this implying that their congregation members are not to give [10%] outside his man-made domain? Is this implying that their congregation members are not to give [10%] outside his man-made domain? Are these congregation members limited and not supposed to give as guided by God, or even as they see fit, outside a man-made limited domain?  Is God’s Kingdom merely such a limited conglomerate of places run by man and only administrated by preachers [with dubious dogma]?  Is it right to let members sign a contract (debit order) to only this one place? Is God’s Kingdom merely such a limited conglomerate of places run by men and only administrated by preachers [with dubious dogma]?  Must members forcefully be limited to one pay point by a leadership? Not if you understand even just Dt 14:22-29 or Lk 17:20-21!

Read on – with your Bible – and decide for yourself.

The curse

Refer to the explanation and sketch of “curses” and “blessings” In the meditation “The will of man and the will of God” (p.10/20). The “curse” in Mal 3:9 (vv 8-11), is perhaps better understood if not read as a verb [what God will do, how He will act in retaliation], but a declaration of a result of your mindset and resultant lifestyle. If you don’t trust God’s Word [to exude His Love], you’ll “rob” Him (Mal 3:8) in the sense that His principles that allow favor to come to you will be made to no effect by your own distrust – just like Mk 7:13; 12:24; but to false and manipulating preachers, also Mt 15:6-9, even even Mt 7:15-23!

The bottom-line Principle

So, as far as misuse of tithing [religion] goes, we on the one hand observe false preachers and on the other hand, stingy hoarders confronted by the same self-righteousness.  Beware of false love for God hypocritically performed as a play-actor – Jer 23:10-14; Hos 4:4-11; even Prov 8:13; 11:20,21; 12:17,28; 16:5 with Rom 12:9!  Just so, instead of giving without fear and in joy, a hoarder egoistically fail to grasp the biggest gift of all – Jesus Christ and His Blood-sacrifice for our salvation and freedom in His Spirit when we were His enemies yet. This joy should make us exuberant and fearless and free – in Christ. Take note of Heb 4:2, and consider the discussion on “The will of God” (in that meditation), in case you think God’s sovereignty means He does all…  it must be mixed [manifested] with our faith (execution).

How religion [self-righteous mindsets] have messed people up! First, apply Heb 12:2. Then, contemplate Jesus’ words in Mt 6:14,15; 18:33-35; Lk 23:34. The PRINCIPLE is exactly the same – Mt 7:12 (5:48)!!

God never wanted a Father-son [child] relationship with selfish, self-righteous children that are spoilt and useless; only there for themselves and what they can get out of everything and everyone. God is Love and intended for us to be like Him… by our own choice (Rom 12:9). He is an outrageously generous Giver. Forget the idea of buying favor from God, paying for privileges or “forcing” God to “bless” you because you’ve complied – externally – to a rule (without any understanding what its actually about)!

So, let’s take this from the beginning. And, please read these Scriptures for an accurate understanding…

Old Testament tithing

In the Old Testament, tithing was adopted as a law (Dt 26; Amos 4:4; Lk 18:12; but also Mt 23!). Questions arise for many New Testament believers, who wonder if they are now exempt from tithing. Some are confused by preachers who say a curse will come upon on those who do not tithe today, because it says so in Mal 3:8-10; or that you have to tithe in order to receive [anything] from God, even to win His favor [prevent God from being mad at you].

Remember that any form of manipulation [especially to scare you into giving] is actually witchcraft. God is Love, and His [agape] love never manipulates. He wants a personal relationship, not robots or fear-driven control. God is secure and so should we be. God will not take your money by breaking the fridge and your car, to get your tithe anyway! This is wicked thinking and illogical reasoning, for the payment [for repairs or replacement] is then not going to God’s kingdom but the contractor or salesperson as a sort of punishment! How do you then factor into this crooked argument the [worldly] insurers that help you recoup your loss (Rev 13:17)?  Clearly this reasoning is flawed.

In the OT people probably tithed out of fear of punishment [for not fulfilling the law]; in the NT disciples of Jesus are supposed to “tithe” [give] in order to reflect their trust in His Word and promises and God’s love [as Perfect Provider] to us. NT followers of Christ should freely reflect God’s outrageous generosity. Preachers must also realize that “their” followers in “their” congregations probably live [know] Jn 14:23-26; Eph 1:13; 1 Jn 2:20 and Rom 8:14… and they’ll give as God [Truth] guides them!…

There seem to have been two types of tithing in the OT: as a nation/congregation in Lev 27:30; Num 18:21,22; and then individually/as a family in Dt 14:22. Administrations/enterprises were not exempt.

Acts 7:51 is about a principle that is as valid today as it was then. Tithing is about demonstrating your belief [choice, trust], if you really trust God’s Word, to show that you put your money where your mouth is. God looks at your heart (1 Sam 16:7), so your motive [reason] for tithing is all important. In 2 Tim 3:2-10 a warning is sound that can also apply to preachers with ulterior or doubtful motives, adding as many scriptures selectively as they can to pose a heavy threat to the potential giver, quoting verses like Gal 6:7. The context of Gal 6:7 is actually more aimed at immortality [eternal, everlasting life, see v 8], that can only be received if you live spiritually (Check Rom 8:2,6-8,11,13-19). Jesus made it clear in Jn 4:24 and anyway said that we get freely what He paid for and provided (Is 53). Contemplate Jn 4:38.

The “seed-principle” is bent and twisted by many a preacher to scare people to get more of their money.

There is a principle (Spiritual law) of “reap-and-sow”, but understand what the NT grace and mercy (2 Cor 3:3-11) and God’s eternal free goodness is, and you will not think you get because you give after Jesus has succeeded in providing an exchange and overcame evil on His cross. He provided more than we would probably ever know, for us to enjoy freely and gratuitously, if we believe [follow] Him. See the connection between the joy of the Lord and digesting His Seed [Word] in, for example, Jn 16:24 and 17:13 (15:11-12).

The wrong teaching of Gal 6:7.  As mentioned above, do many preachers misuse this text and then completely out of text. They quote the fact that, for example, to harvest [get] beans you must sow [plant, give] the exact beans and claim this principle is applicable to tithing and your [financial] state.  To use this as an argument to get income for the “church” is illogical and wrong and even wicked.  Especially the nonsense of claiming that people must give money in order to get money as if this is God’s ‘Seed Principle’ applied to your finances.  Some even claims it means that you in so doing get [only] what you give [give in order to get the same].  This is plain stupid as they imply that, for instance, to get a Mercedes Benz 650S yourself, you must give a Mercedes Benz 650S!  No, hear Jesus in Jn 4:38 and Mt 6:31-34!  For material things, what you must do of course is rather to work [to pay] for exactly what you want or need.  So, Gal 6:6-7 leads to verse 8. It actually says that you can only get everlasting life when you believe [in] it (Heb 11:6).  To get the fuller revelation of this, consider “The Testimony” on www.gospel-truth.co.za.

It is by God’s grace alone. Do you understand Dt 10:17 and 2 Chron 19:7… really? Selah. Selah again! God’s grace does not mean He will manipulate [Love never manipulates], it means He is the Source and if you line up with Him, you’ll ‘receive God’s Grace’ not because of what you have done to earn it [initiate it, salvation] but you stay in what Christ provided by choice (Rom 12:9; 2:1-10; Heb 10:26,27). The meditation “The will” on www.gospel-truth.co.za tries to explain this in more detail, read it if you will…

Note at Lk 6:38. Jesus was in all probability not saying that you should give in order to get [gain in any material way]!  This is cross-referenced by verse 35 and even Mt 6:1-4 and 25:35-40; and at any rate are narcissistic ulterior motives clearly not the mindset of Christ!  Observe that Heb 11:6 does not imply that Mt 6:4 means you must give to get as if buying more material riches, it is in fact rather pointing to an inheritance of a characteristic, a good nature and of true unselfish Love as a “reward” that will emanate from inside the truly re-born Christian that has actually become a new creature (2 Cor 5:10-21), i.e. a son of God that is Love (refer to the meditation entitled “God is Love”).  So, the intent with Lk 6:38 is most probably rather in the context of verses 30-35. Note the “expecting and hoping for nothing in return” in verse 35 with the reward that is unlikely a guide to a material transaction but rather qualified in the statement “… and you will be sons of the Most High…” i.e. the immense privilege spoken of in Jn 1:12-13!
Take also note of verses 45-49 that leans heavily towards Mt 7:15-24.

The Law

First, remember what we considered in the first paragraph under “What it’s about”, above?  Selah.

Now, carefully contemplate Gal 3:12-14, 23-27. Do it before reading further.

The meditations “The Covenant and The Law”, “Mixing Old and New” expand on this. From Gal 3:12,23-27, it is clear that God could [did], for some issues, topics or subjects, give rules as “trainers” to bring home a point, a principle – until that principle or message is grasped [ingrained, matured] by the re-born Christian [follower of Jesus Christ, Jn 3:3; 1 Jn 2:4-6], after which the trainer should not be necessary anymore (Gal 3:23-26; 5:18) and so becomes superfluous and redundant in the sense of a subjection to God’s direct NT guidance hence on (Jn 14:26; Rom 8:14; Jn 1:17; 4:23-24). To not [have a necessity] for being stingy, grudging, and greedy selfishness anymore, the re-born Christian (2 Cor 5:14-21) will not need a certain percentage calculated anymore as a guide but will be able to show a generous spirit towards those in need [with a sound judgment imparted from God, not caught like a fool with shams] where ever they are and who ever they are. By implication then, “Tithing” should lose any narrow-minded and dogmatic measurement of a religious bigot [or wicked preacher/leader] in lieu for a truly Godly helpful re-born Christian that functions persistent and continuously in Love (1 Jn 4:8) that will [also] manifest generosity. This implication extends to exclude the issues that will never change to be an abomination to God, such as any vile behavior, homosexuality, or falsity, et al.

(The meditation on homosexuality will expand on its specific points with scriptural references).

New Testament tithing

The NT tithe should not be seen as a law where God owes you [anything] because you gave some of your precious money. Ps 24:1 is still valid today. God is the Initiator, the Source, not you. You should not give to get (Eph 2:8-9); but show your understanding [faith] that what you got [received] enabled you to give [what is His anyway]. Part of the same package 1 Pet 2:24 mentions, is salvation, health, prosperity, wealth, Life… The principle in Jer 2:3 is that the best [first] things that is the Lord’s, should not be diluted by double-mindedness, unfaithfulness, non-commitment, luke-warmness, ignorance, tradition, religion, externalism, distrust, least of all a self-righteous mindset that follows law and not Jesus Christ.

God has no problem with money, and money cannot be good or evil, it is an inanimate object with no life of its own. The person using it determines whether that money is used to do good or evil. How can you be a blessing to others if you are not blessed yourself? How do you bring His Word to all people if you cannot even pay for petrol in your car? I am not seriously mean, I seriously mean, how? But we must understand that we can be equally wicked by thinking we are buying favor from God and/or that God will “curse” us if we don’t pay our “membership fee”! But let’s first discuss the issue of being rich.

Abraham and Job were very wealthy (Gen 12:1-3;13:14-17; 22:17;24:1; Job 1:3; 36:11; 42:10) and both seemed to be unselfish and generous (Gen 13:8-12, then see what God gave to Abraham in vs. 14-17!; 20:17,18; Job 42:8-9). As a matter of fact, God bless His children so that they can be a blessing to others (Gen 12:2; Lk 6:38; Eph 4:28; Mt 6:33). Note Ps 30; 35:27; 112:3; Jer 29:11-14; and that the turning point for a despairing Asaph in Ps 73 came when he starting talking to God (v 17) and stopped talking about his own offense, bitterness and envy and his perceptions, then he progressively gained insight and eventually reached v 28. Selfishness keeps you in your self [the problem]; giving is a result of knowing your Source. The “then God gave” above, was the OT way before Jesus left us His last will and NT…

A few points of interest here. (a) Fear [distrust in God’s promises as a Provider] prohibits many NT believers to tithe, quickly quoting 2 Cor 9:7,8; some even holds 1 Cor 9:9-14 (Dt 25:4 leans even more to Prov 12:10) in front as a reason not to “sow” at all, forcefully forgetting 2 Cor 9:6. This Scripture (and 1 Tim 5:17,18; Lk 10:7; Gal 6:6; Phil 4:10-19) actually refers to congregational support to their fulltime preachers, not tithing. 1 Jn 3:17 holds true. Why are you scared you will loose your money? What makes you calculate whether you should give 10 % of the gross or net income, and whether you should give later, after all your own needs have been met first? Who comes first? Where’s your faith [trust]? Do you think your own provision enables you, and from this [own] ability you will give as you feel safe? Or do you trust Him? Or is it a case of being part of a dubious congregation with a dodgy leadership?… But, be very careful and clear on this matter – you pay no “membership fee” with any of your money!

Neither can any preacher be so ignorant or wicked to scare you into paying him with 10% of your [gross] income! Such a preacher does not understand the Word of God correctly (Js 3:1; Mt 18:6; 1 Jn 2:4… ).

Hopefully the preacher will then also pay his 10% as in Num 18:26; Neh 10:38 (and 10% of the congregational income as steward? But to whom/whereto will this congregational tithe be paid, where/how will this 10% be applied? )… and hopefully the preacher will also grasp and apply what Paul referred to in 1 Cor 9:12,15-19; 2 Thess 3:7-10 (Mt 10:8b-10)?…  Even Elisha did not take payment in 2 Ki 5:15-16, 25-27

Again, God does not have beggars and hypocrites as His followers (Mt 7:21-23). We, especially preachers (Hos 4:4b-11), must carefully and prayerfully study ALL of 2 Cor 6 to 9…
(b) NT believers in Christ inherited the completed work and blessings of Jesus Christ freely by His grace and mercy alone, and is not commanded to give in order to receive from God (Eph 2:7-13), but we return what is His anyway [for His work in His kingdom here on earth] as a response to what He has already done for us. Consider Acts 8:20,21; Rom 3:20 and also 1 Tim 6. Remember that 1 Tim 4:8 explains that gain is not necessarily godliness, while godliness will certainly bring gain in every sphere of your life (2 Tim 3:5).

Genesis 26 gives an example of how Isaac took advantage of the opportunity the [unbelieving] people around him made available to him (2 Cor 5:7; Heb 11:1). This is how God provides (Heb 11:6). The meditation by this author entitled “The Will” expands on this mechanism God placed there [called faith, trust. God will not do everything for you, He wants us to be useful, kind and generous; but God does not want us to scare “followers” into giving an easy source of income for our own little empire-building ideas!]…

While they got into a panic about the severe drought [famine] and stopped working their fields, Isaac (who owned no field in their land), worked their lands. The result was that he became so wealthy [prosperous] that Abimelech, the king of Gerar, came to Isaac asking him to leave. See Gen 26:14,16. Do you see how this principle works? God placed Spiritual and natural laws there. These act as mechanisms to supplement the authority God gave us on this planet (Gen 1:26-28), it did not happen by itself, or by our genius, but by the authority He provided us on this earth. We can activate them by faith.

God is the Source of all good, creativity, intellect, and so on. What was intermittent [fleeting, passing] in the OT, is now lasting [continuous] in the NT when we are in Christ and He in us. Because God [Love] does not manipulate, do we have the choice to allow Him inside of our thought-life continuously or only when it suits us, and for this choice we will see the corresponding result. In other words, the NT Christian is supposed to give because we understand [know, believe, trust, show, demonstrate] that we already got [received] from God His Spirit inside of us.

Christians should give because of a result (Gal 5:22-23), not to get a result [gain for themselves]!

When we think we, by giving, is forcing God to give to us; we place ourselves [back] in a merit [contract] system whereby the grace of God is totally excluded (Rom 11:6). This is similar to trying to follow self-righteousness [law, the old system], and Gal 5:4 (Lk 9:62) then apply! NT believers in the successfully accomplished works of Jesus Christ on His cross, trust [rely on, follow] Jesus’ words [teachings, precepts, commands] and give from the resultant continuous trust [faith, fellowship] in our hearts. It is more an attitude [new mind] than a contractual performance.

We can not mix the Old and the New [be double-minded] and expect God to give to us on the basis of what we have done, as if He now owes us a payment. The results we see are because of us putting faith [trust] in His principles, whether we know it or not! This explains why unbelievers can also enjoy success on their hard work [guts, opportunism, entrepreneurship, intuition], and why they are received well when they do unto others as they would have others do unto them (Mt 5:45). Gravity applies to Muslims, Atheists and Christians just the same as God’s Spiritual laws – be real. Goodness is imparted and you may follow His Voice in your conscience; it does not originate from man (Neh 9:35; Jer 17:9-10; Ps 16:2; 23:6; 27:13; 31:19; Phil 1:6; Eph 2:10).

Jesus Christ [His Spirit inside of us], is our righteousness or we are trying to be our own righteousness; it is the one or the other, but both cannot simultaneously co-exist in the same person (principle in Js 1:5-8; Js 4:3-10; Phil 3:9). Consider 1 Jn 3:20-24 (remember that Jesus either refers to “the law of Moses”, or “My commandments”. His commandments are not the ten commandments, but His teachings [Spirit Word, Truth]. Refer also to the meditation “The Law and the Covenant” by the author). By the way, have you contemplated 1 Jn 4:1-6?

Consider the following points as well:

– God’s riches and treasures are people, not their money (tithes). See how Prov 3:9 is better understood when contemplating Lk 14:13,14. A Father likes it when His children help each other without expecting something back, because it shows His kind of love. Do you know how many souls Jesus paid for go lost because they refuse to trust His Word [promise]? Do you know how many have died unnecessary because of refusal to believe Jesus Christ in Jn 5:24; 8:51; 11:26; (16:9)? You do? By the way, God, in Mal 3:10 says “bring…” as if it reads “return” [what was His originally anyway], He did not say “give” that sounds like “offer up”, “pay for favor”; etc. Why would God want meat (KJV) in His house? Could it be that He [as a Father] wanted them [in bodies of flesh] together in the same house as one big family [all His children], knowing that they will go there even for the wrong reasons [legalism, fear, greed (to get more)]? See Js 1:17; Lk 12:32; Mt 6:25-34; Jn 14:12,13; even 1 Cor 11:18-34 [with Jn 6:47-68; Mt 23:37-39]. This is too much!

– Our giving is supposed to bless others, not ourselves. It is not about our image or gaining from people in need (Mt 6:1-4). God has no part in stinginess, selfishness, greed, or falsity (Js 4:3). God is the most outrageous Giver of all things good (Phil 4:19). God wants things (money also) to pass through us and not merely to us [ending in selfish, non-working, useless apparent worth].
– Real prosperity is measured by how much one gives, not by how much is kept. Consider carefully how limitless our Father provided – once for all – on His cross (Heb 10:14; Phil 4:19)…

So, with God looking at our heart [motive] rather than our works [show?], the NT believer shows understanding [sensitivity, receptiveness, humility] by putting his money where his mouth is. The sign of a [the] beast is lust and greed [self-interest versus spirit], and the strongest impulses in the flesh are associated with survival – food, sex, and what most perceive to be the provider: money. By giving the first of this money back for working in the Kingdom of God, shows trust in God’s Word that He is actually the Provider, not money [we, ourselves with our money]. He is Life; we have life, not money.

God as a Perfect Father gives life, abilities, provide opportunities and this we, as NT believers, should know [show]. We should be the Light [Christ] to the world. We should be the enlightened ones who show our understanding of this great principle, namely that God provides opportunities in His magnificent way of Love [trust, fellowship], and not through manipulation. In other words, does God not provide [give opportunities] through manipulating circumstances or people, but by allowing us to exercise our faith [trust] in the fact that He is the Provider and will not leave us to suffer when we “go for it” (Heb 13:5; Jer 29:11-13). It is about a genuine, lasting personal relationship with Jesus Christ, not about lust and greed [self]. We also trust that our “congregational leaders” are true men of God and would not start to delve into the church’s purse for their own personal benefit (Jn 12:3-6)…

Just as a footnote, you probably realize that (i) a percentage (10%) shows the truth of Acts 10:34-35 and Rom 2:11. It shows yet again how fair, just and reasonable God is. And, (ii) man cannot make God an accomplice to fraud [false and sinister motives]. Hence, the result of wicked thinking is a “curse” [brings ultimately detrimental and poor results]; likewise will trust [faith] in God’s Word result in a “blessing”. Contemplate here, with God’s joy in mind, also Jn 15:11-12 with Jn 16:24; 17:13-20. Amazing!

Note at Mal 3:10. Consider again the paragraph “The curse”, and “The Law” above. God is Love. Love does not manipulate through fear and extortion. God gave you a free choice (again, even Heb 10:26,27; Rom 8:29-39). If you really want to stick to Old Covenantal laws, prescriptions and curses, compare Ex 24:2 with Heb 4:13-16; or Ex 30:15 with Heb 10:14; Jn 3:16-21… The rest of this short meditation can be read with “The Covenant and the Law”; “Mixing Old and New” and “The will of man and the will of God” on www.gospel-truth.co.za. By now we should have a more accurate idea on tithing (“curses” and “blessings”) and what it wanted to teach [ingrain]; and so we’ll move on as Heb 5:18 to 6:20 encourages us to do. Reading further (Heb 7 with Js 1:5) should also be of help because this – in context – give the NT follower of Jesus Christ a good hint what He came to do and provide for us permanently (continuously when in Christ – 1 Jn 2:4; Jn 3:3; 13:17; Rom 8:30; and so on). Selah.

Note at Eph 2:10. The provision God gives is not through any manipulation. God created laws and principles that operate through our free will [choice], which is not manipulated like instinct or a robot’s pre-programming – intuition involves a response [choice] + ability [trust, faith] and a Voice that spoke. God provided tremendous things such as life and our free will that will produce results that we will ultimately be responsible for [response + ability is responsibility] – Jn 3:17-21; Rev 22:18-19. Amen?

Note at Acts 17:26. We end up in places physical, geographical, and spiritual not through God’s manipulation [direct or indirect control]; but by our own free will, including that of our ascendants and our belief in them [tradition]. Contemplate Mk 4:23-25; 7:13,14; 12:24; now consider 1 Pet 1:18. God is omniscient and omnipresent and almighty [the Source of intellect and creativity and activity, etc.] and He just saw [declared] ahead where all the uncountable variables would culminate, intermittently and ultimately, and there He made available a choice called Jesus Christ, like everywhere else (Heb 13:5)! God’s elect is Who He foresaw would/will choose Him, and He so chose [elected] long ago [in His omniscience] those who [would, will, do] elect Him! This is by His mercy, kindness, patience and grace.

Note at Isaiah 45:7. God is the ultimate Authority, He alone is Lord. Father is God, Jesus Christ is God, Holy Spirit is God. He is one God revealed in three Persons so that we can know Who we are dealing with. He is a Provider, a Perfect Father; a Guide, Counselor, Teacher; a Savior, a first Born Son of Man, and a Friend. He does not do [cause] all on earth, He is supreme. He does not cause calamity (Is 5:18-21), He is saying in Is 45:7 that if we want to – in feeble irresponsibility – blame someone else that He will take the responsibility by stating openly, “I gave life to you all, I gave you all a free will out of Love… I have done it”, says the Lord. The One with maximum authority says He gave us that will [choice] that we misused in distrust and ignorance despite the people He spoke through [ears to hear].

For a discussion on Lk 16, see # 25 in the meditation “Apparent Controversies” by the author.

So consider Hos 4:6-7; Rom 16:19. See how false preachers can steal your true sonship and how we can blind ourselves through self-righteousness [law] – 2 Tim 4:2-4; 2 Cor 4:4-7; 11:12-15; 1 Cor 2:13-16.

We don’t give to get, but give because we know where all blessings come from. Worse of all, do we not manipulate other with fear of a God cursing you if you don’t tithe. God will not curse you, you might just be dull, ignorant, and not grasp that your niggardly, covetous, greedy fear causing you to hoard is egoism; and the only curse will be the “self”. Remember, we are this side of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on His cross (Heb 8:13; 9:8,14-39; Rom 8:30 and so on). Tithe – or give freely – for the right reason, and yes, you will enjoy peace, love, abundance, and joy in Jesus Christ; but not because you gave of your valuable money to God [or to a man saying he is of God when he threatens you], as a type of payment for favor (Phil 3:9)… but you will enjoy the genuineness of true Love. And so will all those who cross your path while Christ is inside of you…

Who and where to “tithe” if you hold no official membership to a specific “church”

 

This remnant doubt in the mind probably reveals that we have not yet finished pondering this subject fully and with absolute resolution as a principle.  Let’s therefore reconsider the following angle?

 

For those who do not (even if just for a specific period or reason), belong to a place where we can officially submit a “tithe”, and feel a fear camouflaged as guilt, consider the following… First, if we currently [and pardon that pun], don’t report to a specific and officially appointed human teacher or leader (reverent, bishop, dominee, pastor, or whatever their title), Scriptures comes to mind (refer to meditations such as “Body, soul, spirit” and “Hearing God’s Voice” to see how God communicates with us), such as Jn 4:23-24; 14:6,23-26; Rom 8:14,29-39; even 1 Tim 2:5-6, do they not?  The point is that we in the New Testament should come to the understanding that we are not bound by humanly set [geographical or liturgical] boundaries (Lk 17:20-21). These type of limitations vary with time and leaderships while God is constant in His Love (Jn 10:30; 14:6-26; Heb 13:8 with Col 1:9-20).  The meditation “God is Love” tries to expand on this. This is perhaps where many miss the mark with their perception of “Israel” (Refer to that meditation for more on that).

 

The point is that we as NT followers of Jesus Christ will find that we spontaneously and fearlessly give whatever is necessary whenever necessary as His Holy Spirit guides us and therefore obviously without the remotest idea of gaining (or even recuperating) anything for ourselves as givers/helpers in any way, shape or form.  Refer here to the well doers Jesus described in Mt 25:32-36.  Note their question in verses 37-39, and the answer Jesus gave in verse 40; and compare this with Mt 6:1-4 and 7:15-23.

 

And yes, surely we will often find that we identify need in our immediate vicinity or relations, even people closest to us (parents, grandparents, our own children, friends, and other family?).  It would make no sense to give to people on the opposite side of the planet (especially if there is a dubious scheme involved as often is the case), while we let people close to us suffer because we are too blind to see that or will it be for the reasons we identified above? Remember, the Kingdom of God is in and around us…

Ironically the world’s false morality with its so-called “political correctness” about for example, murder allowed on unborn children (while denouncing capital sentencing) and/or same-gender marriages (that is outrageously morally wrong); dares to express points of view against nepotism in a family business! Hear God’s view on a specific type of greed, stinginess and maltreatment in Ex 22:25; Lev 25:35-37; Dt 23:19-20; Neh 5:7-10? Is this indeed Js 4:4-8 and also found in our “churches” and among its “church-goers”?

So it seems then that our New Testamental  tithing will not be a liturgical, religious or clinical algebraic calculated figure, but rather the practical application of a principle of fearless, unselfish and generous Love emanating from within us (Jn 14:23; Rev 21:3). The old [BC] had fleeting glories and specifics to teach, the new way is to constantly live in a continual and uninterrupted glory (2 Cor 3:8-18; Heb 8:13).  We find the same in the principle of fasting (refer to that meditation for more on that).  Now rejoice in the message from Jesus Christ in Jn 4:37-38 (Heb 9, especially verses 8-12 and 28).  This is where the meditation entitled “The Testimony” takes this line up to a magnificent possibility!

 

God as a Spirit cannot die, so the astonishing demonstration of His Love to represent us legitimately in a human body that He sacrificially let die for us and by giving us an inheritance is overwhelming (Rom 8:1-4,17; 10:1-2, 9-10 with Jn 3:16; Heb 9:15-18; 10:14-18; 11:8.  He then gave more than 10% in the demonstration to raise that body from the dead (Rom 8:11), and hence Rom 10:9-10; 1 Jn 4:1-2; Jn 3:16; 14:6; even Col 1:12 and 1 Pet 1:3-4 and so on. We find therefore, that as a re-born Christian (Jn 3:3,5-8,16-21), we will freely give (Mt 10:8) without fear, ulterior motive or prejudice, whatever to whoever and wherever we discern His Love needs manifestation.  And yes, that also means not to waste your “tithe” to dubious “ministries” that are really mere lucrative businesses with weekly shows and motivational speaking!! If this baffles you, please refer to 1 Cor 4:20; Mk 16:17-20 (Jn 17:19-23), and the meditations entitled “Church”!!

 

But alas, if you still think there is an accounting book with God in heaven, that have calculated percentages of income from what you have earned to buy your way into a city in space while all was His anyway, then carefully ponder even just Heb 10:5-10 (Ps 40:6-8); Rev 3:5; 13:8-10; 17:8; 20:12,15; 21:6-8 (Is 60:14; Mt 5:14); 22:19-20.

Do I hear an Amen with Phil 3:9?  (The meditation “The Gospel” expands on this)

Conclusion

May we understand tithing more accurately in the way that God intended for us to live every day?
It seems as if this subject could just as well have been called toothing!… (just a joke, Heb 2:1; 6:1-3)…

May we all find Jesus Christ, the [only] Truth that sets free [indeed]… in what we do [think and live]…
May we all hear Jesus Christ clearly and give freely to each other and to all as His Voice commands.
May we all show and share this one Love, this one Life, this one Light – Jesus Christ.
May we all be whole in spirit, and soul, and body until the returning of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Thank You Father, Son, and Spirit for all You gave and continues to give.

We’ll do unto others as we want to be done unto ourselves. It’s all about You, Lord Jesus, and you o Father, Your Holy Spirit [Love and Life] inside of us to others.

Amen.