Giving under grace

By Stew

offering-plate

A frequent subject on personal finance blogs is the discussion relating to tithing. If you conduct an internet search on that topic, you will find a colorful variety of opinions scattered throughout cyberspace.

What is a tithe?

Some of the controversy centers around the word “tithe” itself. The Old Testament Jews had a strict definition of what tithing meant. The first tenth of all their “increase” belonged to God. In fact, one passage made it clear that neglecting to pay the tithe was considered robbery by God. Tithing was not an option and the most faithful Jews tithed everything – livestock, money, garden goods, spice, and more.

This was the time period where God’s people were expected to live in subjection to the Law. Ironically, the Law ended up demonstrated to man his complete inability to earn favor with God. No man could keep any part of the Law to perfection and if you do some reading in any of the books of the Law – Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy – you will quickly see why it was impossible for any person to follow the Law in every point.

Liberty and Grace

Christ’s atonement for the sins of man on the cross began a whole new system. A system where man no longer relied on his own works, but salvation could only be obtained through a belief in Christ.As we read the New Testament, it becomes clear that Christians have not been given a set of rules to follow like the Old Testament Hebrews, but rather we have been given a “law” of liberty and grace.

But it is an unnatural state for mankind. We desire to assuage our conscience and find ways to please God through our own efforts, but He continuously reminds us that the penalty has already been paid, our efforts are just flailing at the wind – worthless. Our only hope is in Him.

A “tithe” might be just a start

The reality is that all we have and all we are belongs to God, He created us, He redeemed those that belong to Him and anything good in our life is a result of his grace.

When it comes to money, God has given us the liberty to choose how best to serve Him with our finances. We are under grace. There is no defined percentage or minimum amountĀ  that meets the requirement. The reality is that we can never repay God for his gift to us. All we can do is seek to conform ourselves to the image of Christ and serveĀ  him with all of our substance.

How?

So then, practically speaking, how do we serve God with all that we have? Do you simply endorse your paycheck and drop it in the offering on Sunday morning?The answer will take some time and will vary somewhat from person to person, but I believe there are some biblical principles that can be a guide for how best to keep God at the center of our finances. I will be sharing my thoughts in answer to that question in my post next Tuesday.

If you don’t believe in God, I hope you will stick around anyway.


10 Responses (including trackbacks) to “Giving under grace”

  1. los vegas Says:

    I tithe to my church about 700 to 800 dollars a month.It is very difficult to part with this money but I do it because I know I
    will be rewarded.My family is in total agreement to giving this money to our church. My wife and I work for a school district in Texas

  2. Lynn Says:

    I do not come from the camp that you have to tithe 10% to your church. I believe that whatever you give anywhere should be given with a cheerful heart. As long as you are giving what you are giving cheerfully, whether it be $10 or $1000, it is OK. If I give $1000/month unwillingly just because I am commanded to do it in some old testament scripture then I may as well not have given it at all.

  3. Rob Says:

    I dont give anything. The church gets enough tax free breaks to choke a horse. Funny how I see the pastors, deacons, and whatnot of different churches drive very expensive cars. I give to the needy. I hand out food. I hand out clothes. To the people themselves. If anyone read Sermon On The Mount, they would know Jesus didnt approve of the grandiosity of the churches. I have yet to see a humble church.

  4. Denise Says:

    I set aside 10% of my income and every couple of months my daughter and I decide where the money will go. Sometimes, we split the money up and sometimes we hold on to it to give a larger ammount. We do not belong to a church so money doesnt go to one. If I did belong to a church, I think I would give the church some of the money but not all of it. I also volunteer, with and without my daughter and we donate goods and extra foodstuffs.

  5. Miss T Says:

    We tithe 10% which amounts to $700 a month. We do it as a sign of obedience and thankfulness. I don’t feel bad about it – I don’t look at that money with any resentment – I see that amount and thank God that I am so blessed to be able to give it. I also believe that my church is demonstrating EXCELLENT stewardship with this money. Now, having said that – it was not easy to begin to tithe. It was hard to wrap my brain around that concept. But God has blessed our obedience and we have always had enough.

    I don’t stand up in front of everyone and wave my check – we mail our check on payday. We don’t mind if people see the offering basket pass us without us putting something in there – God knows our heart, God knows we give.

    I have belonged to humble churches. My past 3 pastors have driven cars that are 10+ years old. (We have moved states, this is why we have had several pastors). Rob – if you haven’t seen a humble church I’d venture to say you haven’t looked very hard.

  6. Kim Says:

    This was very well written, Good Job!
    Our paster and his wife lived for years in a TeePee, as the blessing of the church increased they were able to move into a tiny one room cabin and have recently moved into an actual Home. We rarely if ever hear a tithe sermon, it just isn’t the churches focus. I was sad to see Robs post and thought I would share a little of my GOD filled church, where ends are met but the focus is Gods love.

  7. shelley Says:

    Tithing was included in the law only because Isreal wanted rules. Tithing predates the law and is a thread throughout the entire Bible, beginning in Genesis. The tree of knowledge of good and evil was God’s tithe. (gen.2:17) Adam and Eve were supposed to honor God by being obedient to his command to not eat of it’s fruit. Next, we see Abraham tithing to the high priest Melchizedek (gen.14:20). Jesus came after the order of Melchizedek and is our high priest. That’s why we tithe because Jesus is our high priest. We are in covenant with him (Heb. 7). We have a choice; to live under the law and tithe because it’s part of the law, or we can live under the covenant and are blessed to GET to tithe. Tithing is not about living under the law; it’s about honoring God and Him keeping His promise to bless and prosper us because of it.

    God provided for our prosperity when Jesus shed His blood by dying on the cross. When we get saved, we get a package including forgiveness, safety, rescue, liberation, deliverance, healing, and prosperity. As we honor God with our tithes and our offerings, His promise to us it to bless us. When our pastor prospers, it blesses us! God wants to prosper all of us; especially His man of God that He’s trained up to equip His people with the Word. We should all pray for each other’s prosperity; and especially the prosperity of our pastor.

  8. Bible Money Matters Says:

    My wife and I only started giving a regular tithe to our church within the last couple of years. Up until that point we had just given off and on when we felt like we could afford it. Since we started giving every week it has been a huge blessing, we really feel like we’re more involved in the church, and we have more of a stake in what is happening there.

    I truly believe that God has given us the tithe for our own good. Through tithing we become more unselfish, caring people because we’re giving up our own selfish desires, to help others through the church.

    I also like the discipline of writing out that check every week and dropping it in the offering plate – it’s almost an act of worship and obedience because sometimes it can be hard to do – you would rather keep that money for yourself sometimes.

    Tithing – i highly recommend it for your own personal growth!

  9. shelley Says:

    In reading this as well as the comments, I’m wondering where the scripture references are that say not to tithe but to practice grace giving instead. If it were only a matter of us not being under the law, didn’t Jesus say that He didn’t come to abolish, but to fulfill the law (mathew 5:17)? Tithing isn’t about us living under the law, it’s about the covenant.

  10. Chris Says:

    Most churches teach you must tithe or you are under a curse that is in the Old Testament. And yes Tithe was before the law, but so was circumcised and we don’t have to follow that law no more. Acts 15 has forever settled follow the law of Moses and being circumcised. If you are circumcised you must keep the whole law, the law is not of faith, but he just shall live by faith. And you will not find where Jesus taught his discplies to tithe or where Paul taught it as well. God has ordained them that preach the gosple to live of the gospel. Paul never demanded anyone tithe but he preached the gopsel freely and the Lord supplied our his needs.

Leave a Reply

css.php