Well, August has arrived and summer is much with us but
normal routines are on the horizon. School will begin again
and schedules will be made. As you begin to adjust I want to
challenge you to think about your giving. How is it going with
your giving to Spring Meadows? Is it consistent and faithful or hit and miss? Is it
growing as God prospers you? Are you a tither? Should you be? Please consider these theses on tithing written by William Edgar.
Theses on Tithing
God commands you to give one tenth of your income back to Him. The rule of tithing, obeyed by Abraham and Jacob, commanded by Moses, urged by the prophets, and commended by Jesus, continues in the Church; nothing has repealed it. Tithing is not one of the weightier matters of the law like justice, mercy and the love of God. Nevertheless, the neglect of it is sin.
Like preaching, Bible meditation, prayer, the sacraments, and Sabbath-keeping, tithing is a means of grace. It expresses your gratitude to Christ, who became poor for your sake. It is a practical testimony that all you have comes from God and belongs to Him. When you regret or resent giving, tithing exposes and rebukes your covetousness and lack of faith in your Father in heaven who cares even for the sparrows and the lilies of the field.
You should tithe on the Lord’s Day after receiving your income and trust God to provide for your needs. You should not wait until you are of a certain “balance,” like the rich people of Jesus’ day who gave out of their surplus, rather than the widow whom Jesus praised. All believers should tithe; rich believers should do more than tithe.
Neither God nor His Church needs your tithes. The earth and all its fullness belong to the Lord, and He can make the rocks and stones praise Him. Nevertheless, God has made you His fellow worker in the kingdom, and He uses your tithes and your witness to advance His work.
Just as the Jerusalem believers laid their gifts at the feet of the apostles, so you should give your tithes directly to your church. God has empowered the deacons, together with the elders and the whole congregation, to use your tithes for the maintenance of God’s worship, the relief of the needy, and the spread of the Gospel. Individual Christians do not have the duty or the right to decide how their tithes will be spent; your tithes are not meant to allow you to play philanthropist.
Tithing to the church brings believers closer to one another. Paul’s collection for poor Jewish believers in Jerusalem helped to unite the Gentile churches with each other and with their Jewish brothers. Tithing to the church both expresses your unity in Christ with other believers and builds your awareness of it.
Pastors and elders: you should teach your people to tithe primarily because it is God’s command and will be a means of grace to them, not because it is a good means of fund raising for the church. “Fund raising” is appropriate for special needs, but as a regular approach to giving it implicitly denies the spiritual duty of tithing, and it implicitly denies the truth that Christ and His Church do not need a believer’s money.
Faithful tithing has a promise attached to it. “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house. Test Me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the Lord Almighty. “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty. (Malachi 3:10-12) “Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God.” 2 Corinthians 9:10-11
Christians who divide up their tithe–allotting so much for the church, so much for the missionary, so much for that educational institution—usurp the rightful place of the church in God’s plan. They show disdain for the deacons, elders, and the whole congregation. They express the radical and proud individualism characteristic of Americans. Each one thinks he knows best how tithes belonging to God should be used, and each one thinks he has the authority to decide how his money is spent. The church should teach and exhort its members to tithe to their own church because individualism is a cancer in the community of believers, not because the church needs money.
When they appeal for money, church agencies should make it clear that they do not want anyone’s tithe, only gifts beyond the tithe. What is more, church leaders should watch out that direct mailings for fund raising do not undermine the local church community by encouraging giving as a means of self expression.
This is how each of us should tithe—off the top. The first check you should write after receiving your paycheck is to the church, in thankfulness for God’s provision and for your salvation.
God claimed Israel’s first ripe crops, not the last. So in faith that He can supply all your needs, you should honor Him with the first of your income. He is well able to rebuke those things that devour your income as Malachi told the Jews.
In Psalm 37:25-26 David testified, “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be blessed.” What a promise for your descendents, to be a blessing.