SEVEN REASONS NOT TO TITHE
By: Maury Stout
Services in the church I attended while I was growing up had some unchanging routines. Even taking the offering had a set pattern. Brother Carl led our ushers. He was loved by all. He was an imposing man with a head the size of a small boulder and shoulders spread like a massive oak. He worked in a factory. His faith was deep, but simple. I can hear his rumbling, kind bass voice now: “Our Father, we thank Thee for Thy bountiful blessings. Now bless those who have to give and those who have not to give. In Jesus’ name. Amen.” This prayer for the offering was set in stone. The children recited it with him.
But this routine was broken forever when a missionary came to speak. Brother Carl prayed, the organist struck the first note, and the ushers began to move. Then the missionary bounded to the pulpit. “Please, may I say a word before the plate is passed?” he asked.
He addressed Brother Carl kindly. “My brother, don’t pray for God to bless people who have not to give. Everyone has something to give.”
Brother Carl had too much respect for the missionary to try to defend himself. Neither he nor anyone else ever publicly mentioned the incident, but he never prayed that prayer again.
That simple statement, “Everyone has something to give,” has stayed with me through the years.
Tithing, giving 10 percent of gross income to the work of the Lord, is God’s method for financing His cause. But I have heard reasons not to tithe. Here they are:
1. Tithing is an Old Testament concept. Of course, students of the Word know that tithing started before the Law and continues. Tithing didn’t stop at the Cross–God’s greatest demonstration of sacrificial giving.
2. I couldn’t pay my bills if I tithed. Many benefits accrue from tithing. I have peace of mind that comes from obedience. I am thrilled to be able to give to the Lord’s work. I have been surprised at the ease by which I am able to go on to larger giving.
But one of the greatest surprises for new tithers is the ease of meeting obligations when God is placed first. If you want to enjoy your money, never put it ahead of God. Money is a wonderful servant, but a poor master.
3. The Spirit hasn’t prompted me to give. We don’t give on the basis of how we feel; we give on the foundation of what is taught in God’s Word. Obedience in faith is the only way to please God.
4. I didn’t know I was supposed to tithe. This reason not to tithe assumes that ignorance of God’s Word exempts us from His demands. That is not true. Contributing 10 percent of income to the “storehouse” is
taught in Malachi 3:10. First Corinthians 16:2 adds that not only is the amount determined, but time, person, and place are determined. Giving money to media ministries or parachurch organizations should be an offering above the tithe. I believe giving to these organizations is best channeled through the local church and that tithing should be channeled into the local church.
5. When I have enough money I will tithe. The time for obedience is now. We never seem to have enough time, energy, or money.
6. I don’t agree with the way the church spends its money. In 10 years as a senior pastor I have never had a tither complain about the way the church spent money. Of course, the church should have safeguards and
careful procedures. Members should have access to information and ask questions, but there is a difference between questioning and complaining. Giving is an act of worship to God.
7. It’s my money. I’ve worked hard for it, and I’ll do with it what I please. This may be the core of opposition to giving. A selfish person has great difficulty worshiping God. When we give money, we are giving of the substance of our lives, ourselves.
Jesus placed His finger on the root of the problem: “No man can serve God and money.” (See Matthew 6:24.) Either God is our master or money is. Tithing remedies that problem.
All our furniture, books, clothes, sports equipment, cars, even homes, will eventually be carried to the landfill or the incinerator. The things for which we have slaved, neglected children, ignored spouses,
and robbed God will be compressed into pieces of trash or lifted into the atmosphere as particles of smoke. Only what is given to God will last.
Everyone has something to give. We all have time, talent, and money. We have the God given potential to shape the future, to advance the Kingdom, and to glorify our Creator.
Make giving an unchanging aspect of your worship. God will not put your tithe into the offering. Only you can give what you have to give. And you do have something to give.
(The above material appeared is a March 22, 1992 issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.)
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