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Tithing
Introduction

This page deals with what is a contentious issue in many parts of the church and it is about money. The debate is about the biblical principle of tithing and the main questions raised are whether Christians should tithe or not.
Is tithing still valid and necessary today and if so, to whom are we to tithe, how and when?

Equally as important is the question, "Why?"

Our presentation is designed to stimulate your own research so that you can form your own conclusions.

Please pause before continuing and ask the Holy Spirit who is the Spirit of truth to reveal truth to you...

Several years ago, Marjorie and I attended a crusade in Detroit and stayed in the home of an African American woman  in the middle of an African American suburb. We were "them nice white folk" from Australia who stood out in the middle of a black community and were treated like royalty. The crusade in another part of Detroit was held on a large property belonging to a Catholic Church. The priest was an Irish-American man; our friends were African Americans; Marjorie was born in England and I was born in Adelaide South Australia, with some Jewish blood. What a mixture.

The priest introduced us to his dog, laughingly introducing him as another prophet (Micah) and that started a series of jokes. He  took us to lunch where we continued with our series of joke sharing and when I told him one of my “Catholic Jokes”, he absolutely roared with laughter, so the repartee started in earnest.

This joke was about two friends who had never been to a church anywhere in their lives.
One man told his friend that he wanted to find out what it was like and his friend asked him to drop by his place afterward to tell him about it. He returned to his friend’s home with his report.
The man said that it was not what he expected, adding that the people were a little confused, because they did not know when to sit down, or stand up; sometimes kneeling. “Up! Down! Up! Down. I didn’t know what to do so I did what they did.”
He said that one man must have slept in, because after the meeting had started, he came in, still dressed in his nightgown. By this time, all the good seats (up back)  were taken up, so he had to walk up to the front to find one. Everyone knew he was late, so they stood up as he went up front where a few seats remained, to tease him about it I suppose.
The sitting and standing kept happening until the man who came late stood up and turned to everyone telling them, “Bet you ten to one, I can beat you at dominos”. Everyone around me wasn’t going to let him beat them, so they stood up and yelled back, “Bet you ten to one we can beat you at dominos.”

“Well”, said the first man, “if someone didn’t come around and pass a plate around taking up all the bets.”

It may be funny, or corny perhaps, but it illustrates that many myths, misconceptions, error, false concepts of the church and lack of understanding prevail in our midst.

This study has taken me a little by surprise. When the Lord asked me to investigate this matter, I initially approached it from  the “traditional” viewpoint about tithing that I had been taught and believed without ever checking all the truth. The more I delved into it, the more I realized I have had to rethink my theology. After much research and soul-searching, I have seen that to simply accept what any pastor, minster or Christian worker says is not always the right thing to do. I am  pastor, so must apply the same check mechanisms to my own ministry and encourage everyone to put things to the test.

Some ministers do not like that of course. They get hostile if their authority is questioned. We understand that some people are plain rebellious, gossip mongers and trouble-makers of course, but I am not referring to them. I speak about religious folk who might be rigidly set in their ways and traditions.

We must do our own research and rely on the Holy Spirit who is the Spirit of truth who guides and leads us in the truth and verify everything more than we do.
As usual, I ask the reader not to accept whatever anyone tells them across a pulpit, regardless of who they are or the position they occupy to check it out as believers did in Acts 17:11 and this includes what I am saying. Check it out.

Wealth versus Poverty

Regarding finances, or wealth in general, the church is divided on these matters.
Some folk go the extremes about being wealthy and get into excess, whilst others will almost fight you for the privilege of being broke, sick, sad and disgusted.
Sickness is real and we would be foolish to deny the symptoms. They are often warning signs telling us that something is not working properly in our bodies and need to check it out. We deny the right of sickness to remain because of Jesus’ ministry.
Likewise, poverty is part of the curse, but Jesus redeemed us for that, so we can deny its right to adversely affect us, but let us do so in correct balance.
The poverty mentality some parts of the church adhere to is a farcical travesty over what God has done for us.
The blessing is part of our inheritance, but we need to ask ourselves what is this blessing?

Some preachers talk of nothing else and seem to make money their primary objective and we all need money of course, but they often flaunt their wealth before others and have either confused or offended many people.

We should never do that. Let’s face it. Many preachers want your money! It keeps them employed.

We understand that utility bills and operating costs are involved in any ministry but where do we draw the line? Do we really warrant luxury office complexes, or large church buildings that are used a few times a week? Do we really need a ministry jet  using the excuse that we can travel anywhere at any time without having to travel on airline timetables?  How often is such travel actually made?

A Gulfstream G650ER business Jet costs a minimum of US$65,000,000. Additional costs like hangaring, insurances, fuel, maintenance and the wages for crew also apply.

A first class flight for one person from my home town of Adelaide In South Australia ato Chicago in the USA is around US$11,000. Do the maths for a flight once per week for 10 years. I would like to own my own ministry aircraft, but seriously, such expenditure not justified, but many large ministries boast of owning one.

These are the kinds of things that we need to weigh up.

Such costs are often laid on the members of a local church by way of building funds, pastors stipends and benefits, “special offerings” and tithing.

Please understand that I am not  suggesting that they are not necessary. I am merely pointing out the kinds of things that are happening, but we must ask a simple question, “Did God really call them to do such things?”

What challenges me is how the Lord looks at our efforts-

“Knowing the correct password—saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance—isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills.
I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’
And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.’
“These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock.
Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.
But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach.
When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.”

When Jesus concluded his address, the crowd burst into applause. They had never heard teaching like this.  It was apparent that he was living everything he was saying—quite a contrast to their religion teachers! This was the best teaching they had ever heard. Matthew 7:21-29

Wealth is relevant. We split hairs and argue and debate over  the stuff Jesus said that the moths, rust and decay adversely affect. We fight over a piece of gold, but God walks on solid gold streets as pavement and in the process, because of our arguments and petty doctrinal differences, the real work of the ministry is often set aside. Sometimes the money aspect is focused on a church building and the relevant programs involved and those things I just touched on.
Did Jesus ask us to build church buildings or to build people’s lives?

Tradition

Tradition is not always correct.

A classic example is the Christmas story that I like.

We are told that there were three wise men who presented Jesus with gifts, but the bible does not say that at all!  All that the scriptures say is that there were wise men from the East who presented a baby boy, perhaps when He was possibly two years old and not a newborn infant with their treasures. He may have been two years of age at that time and might not have been in Bethlehem on their arrival. We do not know the value of those gifts, but it must have been considerable. Jesus was not broke as tradition tells us. It seems that the angels came to the shepherds only and they came to see the newborn babe, so tradition is far from accurate.

Joseph had a carpentry business in Nazareth and as little mention is made of him, it is likely that he had passed away. If so, Jesus, being the first son, was his heir. Perhaps the house where the four men broke the roof open for their friend belonged to Jesus. Jesus was not broke as often stated. There are more such illustrations I could use.

We need to put many of our denominational traditions and teachings under the microscope. No matter who is preaching what to you, always check it out; ask the Lord; test the spirits and see what the word of God really says; not a man’s opinion. It can save you much heartache, disappointment, frustration, confusion and loss.

I was looking at a report “exposing” a certain very large religious organization here in Australia that has a $50 million tax free annual income.
I know many others like them and I also have raised eyebrows over their financial management and lavish lifestyles that appear to have gone into extremes. People are asking questions.

A dear friend of mine raised the issue when we were fishing together.
He told me that his brother gave half of his income that was derived solely from a pension to a large ministry I know and was struggling in life as a result.
It soured my friend’s opinion of all such ministries and tainted his viewpoint on tithing. Such things have put a sour taste in his mouth for church in general.
He believes in God and is an open man, but the “church” has hurt him big time and that’s wrong.
I told him that, in my opinion, what his brother did was wrong and whilst this preacher does not appear to ask folk to do it like that, he constantly asks for donations.

Some Tel-evangelists often ask for donations in ways that touch the heart strings or put a guilt trip on people. Pressuring people is wrong!

Robbing God?

A common ploy by many ministers is that they are robbing God if they don’t tithe. They do not tell the full story. Many say that if they give, a generous return will come back to them and their approaches are always based on selfish reasons. Another common statement is that if people don’t give, they won’t be able to keep the ministry going. Let’s be transparent about this. If God has asked a ministry to do a certain thing, He will pay the bill. If He did not ordain it, let it fall! If it is a man-made ministry venture, then God is not obliged to finance it. Begging like that is thus wrong and so is coercion.
God has prescribed ways and means to provide for the work of the ministry.  I never ask for money and never will. You will not find a link of that kind on my web site as the Lord told me to remove them. God is my source and He has never failed me in 50 years of ministry.

We are often inundated with requests for help and it preachers like me are often targeted for money. Some are genuine, but some are professional scammers. They know the talk and can make very plausible presentations. Others just do not konw the difficulties there are in sending money into other countries. It is almost impossible!

In some countries, people also ask you to send them bibles, knowing that we want everyone to have a bible, but a black market does exist for bibles and we could inadvertently fall for a scam. This makes it difficult for the genuine people, but there is a simple solution and it is allowing the Holy Spirit to lead you—ask Him!


The Lord has instructed us to never give money to people who deliberately ask for it! He said that if He tells us to do so, then we should, but never when someone deliberately begs. We have had numbers of people who wrote to us saying that they visited my web site and would like to join the ministry, or come to visit them and that is perfectly OK. We are evangelists at heart and have a desire to do so, but Only when the Lord says so!

Some folk started calling us their spiritual father and that too is OK, but there are some who do that to many others at the same time. They are what we say in Australia, “Double dipping”. I suspect that they are triple and quadruple dipping and have proved it in some instances.
They often send blanket emails (“dear.... .....” and fill in the blanks ) to lots of people, hoping to get a response.
One such group in a country in Africa contacted us and they “knew their stuff”. As it turned out, they were “Nigerian 491 scammers” and we assisted the US Secret Service in their investigations that led to their arrest in Amsterdam, Holland and subsequent imprisonment. I won’t go into details but  I share this with some of the pastors reading this to alert you to what happens.

How do we tell the real from the fake? Trust the Holy Ghost!

Don’t let your emotions rule your decisions.

Then there is the timing factor. Some people could start a ministry venture that God asked them to do, but do so prematurely!
He could also ask them to do something only for a season and, once what was required has been accomplished, they are not to continue doing that. God could have a new assignment for them. Far too many preachers do not know that and keep on keeping on, wondering why it isn’t working any more. If there is doubt, the best thing to do is nothing!

Consider a building project. The site preparation ceases when the foundations need to be laid. Once the foundations are complete, the walls can go up and then the roof goes on. Every aspect of the building program has its time, function and purpose. The scaffolding is only needed during the erection processes and is then dismantled to be used on the next project.

We could liken some people in God’s building program as scaffolds. Others are plumbers. Other are painters.

Now I am not suggesting instability in any form, but when pastors and church members get locked into a set way of doing things, or a set vision and are inflexible, God could have something else ahead for them and they miss it. Like the building project I mentioned, a ministry could be set up purely to lay a foundation for something else, but the minister keeps going on with it and wonder why things start to grow stale and decline.  He should be man enough to realize that he has does his job and that someone else can continue with the next phase of God’s program (if it really is God’s program).

In 1 Corinthians chapter three, Paul was speaking to childish believers who were all debating over who was best and falling into the comparison trap. In this analogy, one man can plant a seed and have done his job. Someone else can follow and water it. Another can then apply fertilizer and finally someone else can come along and reap the crop. Every one involved fitted into the overall picture precisely where he or she should be and God then does what He alone can do and that is what really matters. Everyone then receives the same reward for being faithful to their efforts. I wish we would all be like that, but a preacher often hangs on to his baby and will not let go. He keeps doing the same things expecting the same results and wonders why it isn’t working and longer.

Such people risk creating a Nehushtan!

When Moses was leading the Israelites through the wilderness, they were muttering and murmuring and really getting up God’s nose.

One day, they arrived at a certain place and walked into a den of poisonous snakes. If a snake bit someone, they died. When they cried out for help, God told Moses to make a brass serpent and tell anyone who was bitten to stand and gaze at it.  When they did, they were healed.

God moved on and  they had to follow along or be left behind.

Once they moved on, they left those snakes behind and the brazen snake was no longer required. It should have been left behind, but they took it with them.

400 years later, see what had happened.

Hezekiah son of Ahaz began to rule over Judah in the third year of King Hoshea’s reign in Israel.
He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years.
His mother was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah.
He did what was pleasing in the LORD’s sight, just as his ancestor David had done.
He removed the pagan shrines, smashed the sacred pillars, and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke up the bronze serpent that Moses had made, because the people of Israel had been offering sacrifices to it. The bronze serpent was called Nehushtan. 2 Kings 18:1-4

The tool that God used once only for a specific task was no longer required, but the people made an idol of it!

Many parts of the church are doing exactly the same thing. God may have done something wonderful once and is no longer doing it, or doing it that way any longer. People want to stay there, or build a monument of something that God did once only and whole denominations can be formed only on that basis.
One problem in doing this is that when God moves again elsewhere, perhaps in a slightly different manner, the former group oppose, criticize condemn and persecute the latter. We have seen this in Church history.

Someone could have prayed in a certain way one (let us say it was for healing) and a miracle happened, so every time a similar situation arrives, they try to do it that same way every time, only to find it does not work.
Such things could be a nehushtan!

If we look at Jesus’ ministry, we can see that He often did things differently to achieve a similar result. He once spat on the ground, made clay that He placed on the man’s eyes and told him to wash it off in the pool.

On another occasion, He laid His hands on the blind man’s eyes and asked him what he saw and he was healed. One day a man named Bartimaeus yelled out to Jesus to help him and Jesus asked him what he wanted. All the Lord did was speak and Barty was healed.
 

You see, we’ve got to learn what Jesus learned and follow suit. If Jesus received fresh instructions from His Father every day—so should we. We see a good example of this in John’s gospel when Jesus said that His Father did the work; that He said what the Father said; that He did nothing of Himself but only what He saw the Father do and so on. We really do not know how Jesus prayed, with the exception of a few examples, but He spent much time alone in prayer. When He raised Lazarus from the dead in John chapter eleven, He said that the Father always heard Him and so prayed for our sakes. What did He pray ordinarily? I am convinced that this was not what we call “prayer”, but sitting together and receiving the day’s assignments.

It’s not that God changes His mind, because He does not change.

He is merely going onto a new phase of His plan for the overall good of  His Church. I hope you see this. Many don’t.

If you doubt this, look at John the Baptist. He was “God’s man for the hour” but once he had done his job, Jesus came and John’s was finished. He had to go!

This is my foundation. Let us now come to the important matter of tithing and it Is important! Perhaps the tithe often preached on was for a  certain time, to be done for a certain reason, by a specific group of people. Perhaps is it different now. Let’s see.

Rightly Dividing the Word

We are creatures of habit. We dislike change and we do not like getting out of our comfort zones and some people just do not bother to dig deep into the truth for themselves, so accept anything a preacher tells them . Always check it out. See Acts 17:11. Test the spirit. If you do not have a clear conscience about a topic and it does not add up with God’s word, you have to decide for yourself as an individual if are hearing the truth or not. Determine if you are being a man-pleaser of a God pleaser.
If you are attending a church that does not tell the truth, find one that does, or, If the Lord leads you that way (and only then) start one yourself! If the Lord does not tell you to do that, then don’t! Don’t be a rebel.

I want to take you to Paul’s advice to pastor Timothy. It is good advice for us too. Take note of my emphasis.

You then, my son, be strong in the favour that is in Messiah יהושׁע. And what you have heard from me among many witnesses, entrust these to trustworthy men who shall be competent to teach others as well 2 Timothy 2:1-2

There are three elements involved-

  • Witness
  • Trustworthiness
  • Competence

It seems to me that three elements of witness are always required. Jesus said this. John said this and Paul said this. In the matters of church structure and organization and government, finances and tithing, this witness is required.
Let us continue-

No one serving as a soldier gets involved in the affairs of this life, in order to please only him who enlisted him as a soldier. And if anyone competes in a game, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rulesThe hard-working farmer ought to be first to receive his share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Master shall give you understanding into all this. 2 Timothy 2:4-7

There are three elements here also-

  • Don’t get involved in the world system
  • Follow the rules
  • Seed sowing produces a crop

The farmer sows his seed for a specific purpose and that is to get his harvest. He expects it. If you sow seed (money), you can have a return, but do not sow so that you simply get rich and satisfy your greed. That is placing conditions on things. Sow because you want to even if God does nothing in return.

The first thing the farmer does is to save the best seed to sow again later in return crops. Then he eats some, thus providing for his temporal needs and the remainder goes to market and this is very important.
Many people get a little blessing and immediately fritter it away, when retaining some to “re-invest” may be better.

When a church tells you to sow your money, or give your tithe, ask yourself if they follow such guidelines. Do they really teach you how God operates in such matters as the laws of reciprocity (the laws of sowing and reaping God’s way. see Galatians 6:1-10)?

When the offering container is passed down the line, are the people throwing money in because that’s the done thing, they have been told to do so, or to keep the church and the pastor afloat, or are they deliberately sowing into the Kingdom for specific Kingdom purposes and reaping Kingdom rewards?

Ask yourselves what happens with that tithe. How much is spent on building and program maintenance; staff salaries; incidentals and all those things and compare that with how much is going to support the needy in the church
I think you will be surprised and probably a little dismayed and will talk more on the real purpose of the tithe later.

Marjorie and I stayed in the home of an old friend of mine from my old church decades ago when I was a deacon there. He told me that he had been a tither all his life and had never gotten a thing out of it. Something hit me so much, I cried and started seeking the Lord about it. It has taken many years, but this study is part of the outcome. That is not what the tithe is for.

He was not taught truthfully and his tithe was merely giving money to the pastor and his church program that hurt many people. He eventually moved on, leaving the church in massive debt and did it again and again.

This pastor and others often quote Malachi 3, telling them things that were only  partially true, pressurizing and often placing ungodly guilt and demands on people. If you feel pressurized in any way, be very careful.

Their focus was on the church building program and the administration of the church and their ministry (all necessary). I’m being blunt here, trying to illustrate how we can miss the mark easily.

I want to lead onto the part that really produces the blessing.

Paul continued-

Do your utmost to present yourself approved to Elohim, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly handling the Word of Truth. But keep away from profane, empty babblings, for they go on to more wickedness, and their word shall eat its way like gangrene. Humenaios and Philetos are of this sort, 2 Timothy 2:15-17

The KJV says to study (spoudazō) meaning to do your best or utmost  or all you can to find out the truth—and apply it.
The reason is to prove that you are pleasing God in the way you live and handle your life—by faith.  The part about rightly dividing is orthotomeō. This is like making sure you cut a straight line, or like a surgeon making a clear precise incision when performing an operation. Good teaching does not leave you in doubt. It spells out the truth and gives the listener direction and blessing and hopefully a desire for more. If you come away wondering, it might not be rightly divided.

 

When we therefore read scriptures, we need to be mindful of a few key issues-

  • To whom is God speaking?
  • Under what conditions is He talking?
  • When did He say it?


It is possible that we can think God is talking to the Church, whereas He is talking to Israel and vice-versa and get our theology messed around. Israel has a covenant that is still valid. The church has another covenant and there is a third group of people who have no covenant as such with God. According to scriptures like 1 Corinthians 10:32, God usually deals with the three groups differently.

When it comes to the tithe therefore, we need to apply such check mechanisms and determine if God is dealing with Israel only or not. Is it an Old Testament requirement only or does it apply in the New Testament? Let us see.

The Tithe

Let us start with another look at the “tithing scripture” often used in churches. It is often quoted at a per-determined time in a church service, with some kind of commentary or sermonette, urging people to give money into that church.  The oft-quoted portion of the third chapter of Malachi is used. We shall see this, but the whole chapter in its entirety should be read as it reveals what God was really saying to His people. Let us break it down a little.

“Look! I am sending my messenger  to clear the way before me; and the Lord, whom you seek,  will suddenly come to his temple. Yes, the messenger of the covenant, in whom you take such delight— look! Here he comes,” says Adonai-Tzva’ot. Malachi 3:1

This spoke of Elijah and that it alluded to John the Baptist. The prophecy of Isaiah chapter 40 also has such connotations, so if this passage is referring to the ministry of John, then we need to consider all of what  Malachi said in its entirety.

John preached to God’s covenant people. Isaiah 40 also spoke to God’s people, not to the heathen. Everything related to God’s covenant people and if we consider ourselves to be God’s people (which we are), we must take heed to the message in its entirety and not to selected “favorite” verses or portions thereof.

Isaiah’s prophesy was in essence telling God’s people to get their collective acts together. So too was John’s message and if we go back further, this was what Elijah was doing!

The leaders of God’s covenant people had erred! They had forgotten the terms and conditions of the covenant and had strayed off the original pattern!

It sounds all too familiar to me. If we are truly honest with ourselves, the church has strayed off the original pattern and whilst this sounds old hat and perhaps boring to you, take a look around you.

Malachi was speaking to God’s people. Look at what he said next-

But who can endure the day when he comes? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire, like the soapmaker’s lye. He will sit, testing and purifying the silver; he will purify the sons of Levi, refining them like gold and silver, so that they can bring offerings to Adonai uprightly.
Then the offering of Y’hudah and Yerushalayim will be pleasing to Adonai, as it was in the days of old,  as in years gone by. Malachi 2:3-4

He was speaking to the sons of Levi and Moses came from Levi!

Levi’s heirs carried the Ark of the Covenant. No one else could even touch it! The rod of Aaron, who came from Levi blossomed in that ark (Numbers 18). The sons of Levi ministered to the Lord.

We’re talking of such things as the priesthood  and inheritance, but we blood washed  redeemed of the Lord are priests to the Lord also.

Through this prophet, God said that He would refine and purify such people—the priests—so that they could bring offerings to the Lord in the proper manner.

There is a right way and a wrong way to offer something to God that pleases Him as it once did. If something pleased Him before, we need to know what that was. Turn with me then to Deuteronomy.

Here are the laws and rulings you are to observe and obey in the land Adonai, the God of your ancestors, has given you to possess as long as you live on earth. You must destroy all the places where the nations you are dispossessing served their gods, whether on high mountains, on hills, or under some leafy tree. Break down their altars, smash their standing-stones to pieces, burn up their sacred poles completely and cut down the carved images of their gods. Exterminate their name from that place. Deuteronomy 12:1-3

It started with separation from the world system and uninhibited dedication to God. We can’t treat God any old way we want.

But you are not to treat Adonai your God this way. Rather, you are to come to the place where Adonai your God will put his name. He will choose it from all your tribes; and you will seek out that place, which is where he will live, and go there. Deuteronomy 12:4-5

God said that His people had to go to a specific place—the place that He chose where He would place His name.

He further said that His people were obliged to seek out that place.

We are not living in Israel thousands of years ago, but we are God’s people nevertheless and similar principles are still involved.

This introduces some issues for us that we must resolve and we need to ask some questions like, “Where do we worship?” “Is it our local church, or somewhere convenient to us?”

“Do we go because the music is great, or we like the way the pastor dresses and says the nice things that tickle our ears?” Many people do and, unfortunately church attendance is little different to going to a club of some kind where an hour or two is spent together  before returning to one’s normal life for the rest of the week.

The answer really is to go where God tells us to go.

Sometimes He might instruct you to go to a place you do not like and doing that is not always easy.

The important point to remember is that obedience is better than sacrifice and to hearken than the fat of rams!

If That’s the place He wants you to be, go there and keep going there until He says otherwise. He won’t tell you to go to some weird place and expose you to risk.

He is always working on something and one thing leads to the next.

It is There—at the place that He chose, that the people were to bring their offerings.

You will bring there your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tenths [that you set aside for Adonai], the offerings that you give, the offerings you have vowed, your voluntary offerings, and the firstborn of your cattle and sheep. Deuteronomy 12:6-7

Notice that God said tenths. To be specific, it is the tenths that the people deliberately set aside for the Lord. That’s the tithe!

The Hebrew word is maʿaśēr that we first see in Leviticus chapter 27.

The whole chapter talks about special offerings to the Lord and verse 30 specifies the tithe of the land, be it seed of the land or fruit of the tree, stating that it is holy to the Lord.

God told the people what to do and how to go about it.

It spoke of making an estimation of the worth of the offering and once the decision was made, not to change your mind.

It then spoke of what happened in the Year of Jubilee and in the year of Jubilee—everything changed. Debts were canceled. Slaves were freed and a whole new chapter in one’s life commenced.

If you look at it, most humans would only experience one or possibly two Jubilees in their lifetime. Shemittah came in our year of 2015.

The last one would have been around 1965! I was not saved then (I was born again on September 1st, 1968)! Think of the implications. We’ve all just started a new jubilee season and we may only have one Jubilee in our lifetime.

Think again of the implications.

Verse 26 gives an indication of what the tithe is all about.

The first...belongs to God!

To Whom it was given

God further instructed-

There you will eat in the presence of Adonai your God; and you will rejoice over everything you set out to do, you and your households, in which Adonai your God has blessed you. You will not do things the way we do them here today, where everyone does whatever in his own opinion seems right; because you haven’t yet arrived at the rest and inheritance which Adonai your God is giving you. Deuteronomy 12:7-10

The inference is, “don’t do whatever you want—Do what I say! Do it when I say and how I tell you—because you have not arrived there yet! You haven’t received your inheritance yet.”

If you read on yourself, you will see that God then said that once they crossed the Jordan River and took possession of their inheritance and had rest from their enemies and the like, they were to rejoice in the Lord, bring their offerings (including the tithe) and eat together in a thanksgiving meal.

On the very day they crossed Jordan into their Promised Land, the manna ceased.

God had started something new.

Surely there has to be a message in that to us.

This way, provision was made for the widow, the orphan, the stranger living in their midst and for the Levite. The Levites did not receive an inheritance as everyone else did. Their inheritance was in essence, their ministry.

He told them not to muzzle the ox that treads out the corn and Paul referred to this in 1 Corinthians 9.

Don’t you realize that those who work in the temple get their meals from the offerings brought to the temple? And those who serve at the altar get a share of the sacrificial offerings.
In the same way, the Lord ordered that those who preach the Good News should be supported by those who benefit from it. 1 Corinthians 9:13-14

We’re now starting to see what the tithe is really about.
Sadly, things degenerated over the years and the priests had forgotten what God had instructed them and this is what Malachi had said.

“See, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. Then the Lord you seek will suddenly come to His temple, the Messenger of the covenant you desire—see, He is coming,” says the LORD of Hosts. But who can endure the day of His coming? And who will be able to stand when He appears? For He will be like a refiner’s fire and like cleansing lye. He will be like a refiner and purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver. Then they will present offerings to the LORD in righteousness.
And the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will please the LORD as in days of old and years gone by.
“I will come to you in judgment, and I will be ready to witness against sorcerers and adulterers; against those who swear falsely; against those who oppress the widow and the fatherless, and cheat the wage earner; and against those who deny justice to the foreigner. They do not fear Me,” says the LORD of Hosts.
“Because I, Yahweh, have not changed, you descendants of Jacob have not been destroyed. Malachi 3:1-6

God announced that He was going to send His messenger before Him to prepare the way for His coming and in the process was going to refine the priests!  John came with a blunt message aimed right at the religious leaders. Jesus did likewise and they didn’t like it. This principle is still valid today and it is possible that such messages must be brought to the religious leaders of our day—and they will not like it!

  • The leadership was oppressing the widows and the fatherless.
  • Hard working families were being cheated.
  • Justice was being denied
  • Reverential fear of the Lord had disappeared.

Religious observances, traditions of men, selfish greed, manipulation, domination and control had replaced what God wanted for His people and He told them (the religious leaders) that they were robbing him.

They had reached the point in life when they became self centered, unreachable, egotistical and so on. Some of them thought serving God was pointless. “Why bother? God doesn’t answer my prayers! He doesn’t care about me! I’ll look after my own affairs and do things my way” I will create a substitute religion that pleases me.”  They also became creatures of (religious) habit. Those were the kinds of attitudes the religious leaders had adopted and sadly, many ordinary people were dragged down with them. Does anything sound even slightly familiar?

If you study it out, the tithe was produce of some kind. The tithe was food!

The concept was that God told the people where they had to go for worship and bring their tithe there for consumption in worship and for distribution to others. If it was not possible for them to take their produce to that stated location, they could sell their produce, take the money with them and purchase what they wanted when they got there—and there eat it before the Lord!

It really had little to do with money...as such!

The Storehouse

We are often told to bring the tithes to the local church, likening it to the storehouse. In some translations, God said to bring the Full Tenth into the storehouse. Most versions (not all) say that but they all say that it was to ensure that there would be food (or meat) there.

What is this “full tenth” (full tithe)? The Hebrew word is kōl.

The word in itself means literally all or everything, but as usual many other derivatives speak volumes.

It talks of perfection! It talks about being gorgeous. It speaks about all sorts of armor.  It also says it means all kinds of things.

If it relates somehow to armor, then the action of tithing offers some kind of protection and this is consistent with what God said about rebuking the devourer so that he would not destroy your substance.

The question remains, “What is the storehouse?”

Well, it “could” be the local church today, but is it...really? We’re still dealing with Israel, remember?

The Hebrew word bayît means a house, a home, a palace, a family, an inward place and a temple. Derivatives give us the familiar names of Bethel and Bethlehem (that means house of bread).

God calls bayît His house. We’re bringing it to God in His House! This house does not only or always mean a church, because we too are His house, or the temple of the Holy Spirit.

The storehouse is the place where food is kept to distribute to the people and we know that  Joseph build storehouses in Egypt to feed the people.

In Malachi, God told them to bring this tithe into His House to provide food (literally meaning meat) for His people. The Hebrew word for meat is ṭerep. The primary meaning of this root is “to seize a creature with predaciousness, tear the flesh, and consume it.”

It is talking about prey and food.

Modern teaching says that the storehouse is the local church, but this might not always be correct.

Modern teaching says that the local church is where we are fed the meat of the word. To a certain extent, that might be true, but if there is no real sound teaching there and no impartation of revelation from the word, the people are not being fed the meat of the word.

The New Testament itself teaches us that we must progress from the baby stage in our belief and walk with God to maturity. See 1Peter 2:2.

Hebrews chapter 5 talks about the excellency of Jesus’ priesthood mentioning Melchizedek. Abraham gave him tithes and we shall look at this shortly, but let us see what is said about maturity and meat-

There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen.
You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.
For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right.
Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong. Hebrews 5:11-14.

In the local church, regardless of denomination, if there is no sound teaching, the meat in mine house cannot be what they say it means.

The storehouse cannot be the church and the meat in the house cannot be the word of God. If this is so, then why throw your hard earned money away into something lifeless? Where is the harvest? Where is the 30-60-100 fold return and similar matters Jesus taught on? We have assumed it relates to money, but if we look more closely into where the Lord said it, such as in Mark chapter four, the parable there is about the word of God! Jesus said so!

What constitutes sound teaching must therefore be determined.

If we look at Jesus as our role model, He taught in such a way that it had profound affects on the hearers. His words convicted. His words gave hope. His words inspired and His words produced results. People’s lives were changed.

When we attend church, we should come expecting fellowship and companionship; we should come to worship God corporately; to partake of communion as often as possible to commemorate Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection and in anticipation of His return and we should leave there better off than when we arrived.

Pause for a  moment and think of how often you leave a church and can remember the message and how it impacted your life.

For a short period of time, we are treated to songs and music of varying kinds, that we can enjoy. Music should set the stage for people to come into God’s presence, but all too often the music ministry is more of a show, or a form of entertainment and the focal point of the church. I am a musician and love most forms of music (I used to play banjo and pedal steel guitar regularly) and know at first hand the value of music. I also know that once the anointing hits, the music takes on a completely different aspect.

Sometimes we felt that we could cut the air with a knife as the awesome presence of God came in.

On many occasions, everything else became secondary and we often hit the deck in reverence. Today, it seems more nightclub entertainment and preaching sound biblical life changing messages is only part of the program.

The point I want to make is that the preaching of the word is the objective to lift the level of faith, inspire and bless the people and draw us close to God.

We can thus walk in sick, sad and disgusted and leave totally changed, but sadly, many leave the same way.

Meat in the Father’s house was literal food that can or should be the same today. Conditions have changed today of course in our modern society, but the principles have not changed. We can apply this meat to both literal food and good preaching. We should strive for excellence and have the sound, solid teaching that Jesus gave and that...is the meat of the word.

There is a vast difference between giving an ear-tickling sermon and imparting life-changing and faith producing revelation. After all, faith cometh by hearing the word of God (see Romans 10:17).

I put it to you that if this is not the kind of thing that happens, then the phrase saying you should bring the tithes to the local church because that is where the pastor feeds you might not be correct. Does He feed like that?

What then is the tithe today? Does it still apply? Are we obliged to give?

If we are supposed to tithe, then we need to know how much, how we do it and when.

By way of answer I will touch on what Abraham did when he met Melchizedek.

Melchizedek

In Genesis 14, Lot was taken prisoner in a war. Abraham rescued him and took plunder. Two things happened. Firstly, Melchizedek came and produced bread and wine (a type of our communion today).

 Malki-Tzedek king of Shalem brought out bread and wine. He was cohen of El ‘Elyon [God Most High],  so he blessed him with these words: “Blessed be Avram by El ‘Elyon, maker of heaven of earth. and blessed be El ‘Elyon, who handed your enemies over to you.” Avram gave him a tenth of everything. Genesis 14:18-20

That was a tithe.
The very next thing that happened was that the king of Sodom came asking for the people. He did not want their money.

The battle is for the minds and wills of the people.

One of the most powerful struggles we have is over “stuff”. It is the relative value we place on things. God wants us to put Him first and one way to do that is by giving Him the first-fruits of our substance. It represents what we are and what we do. As I said before, God does not need the stuff we cling onto.

He wants our hearts, but we fight over issues. Whilst the battle is over our minds and hearts, the expressions of what is inside us, usually comes out in the way we handle “things”, or money.

Little wonder there is so much controversy over tithing.

Not long after these events, God cut the covenant with Abraham in Genesis 15. This is very powerful. I hope you see how closely linked these two events are.

Hebrews 6 and 7 reveals that God swore that oath to Abram by Himself, because there was no greater. It shows that men sware by the greater and shows us that what Abraham and Melchizedek did was enacting a future function in the church with Jesus being our Great High Priest—forever!

This tithe was thus symbolic, but if you look carefully you will not see anywhere where Jesus told us to tithe! He did however mention tithes in Matthew 23 and Luke 11 when He rebuked the religious leaders for their wrong approach to the tithe.
Paul never mentioned it at all!
Why then do we place so much emphasis on tithing in the church? It is only mentioned in Hebrews when speaking of Melchizedek.

Avram gave him a tenth of everything. For every cohen gadol taken from among men is appointed to act on people’s behalf with regard to things concerning God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can deal gently with the ignorant and with those who go astray, since he too is subject to weakness. Also, because of this weakness, he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as those of the people. And no one takes this honor upon himself, rather, he is called by God, just as Aharon was.
So neither did the Messiah glorify himself to become cohen gadol; rather, it was the One who said to him,
“You are my Son;  today I have become your Father.”
Also, as he says in another place, “You are a cohen forever, to be compared with Malki-Tzedek.”
During Yeshua’s life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions, crying aloud and shedding tears, to the One who had the power to deliver him from death; and he was heard because of his godliness.
Even though he was the Son, he learned obedience through his sufferings. And after he had been brought to the goal, he became the source of eternal deliverance to all who obey him, since he had been proclaimed by God as a cohen gadol to be compared with Malki-Tzedek.

The Old Testament Priesthood served its purpose and was fulfilled in Jesus.

He did not abolish The Law, but fulfilled it. No one else could.

We could therefore say that tithing as it was in the Old Testament, no longer applies to us today—but the spirit of it continues. In fact is taken to a higher level.

The Law said not to commit adultery, but Jesus said not to even think of it.

The Law told us not to kill, but Jesus took it to that higher level by telling us our hatred of a brother is tantamount to committing murder. If anything, we have a greater obligation today because every one of us are able ministers of the New Testament as Paul explained in 2 Corinthians 3. Here he said that it is not of the letter (of the Law) but of the Spirit. The letter kills, but the spirit produces life.

We must look at the issues of church government, leadership, worship, service and all the various ordinances, including tithes and offerings in this light.

There really should not be any debate, but on the practical level, how do we go about it? Again, Paul comes to the rescue.

Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop.
You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”
And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.
As the Scriptures say, “They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”
For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.
Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God.
So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God.
As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ.  And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you.
Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words! 2 Corinthians 9:6-15

I hope the way I emphasized that explains things. I never saw a reference to 10% there, but I did see much mention of unbridled generosity by a willing heart and helping others that led to thanksgiving to God whilst blessing Him and others in the process.

It is a commitment. It is a way of life. It is part of the experience of every believer.

The issues are how, where and when we do it. Again, there are many schools of thought that, on analysis, make no sense.

In the Old Testament, people were obliged by God’s Law to deliberately set the tenth of their substance aside for God. That was the very first thing they did. If it was a herd of sheep, the shepherd made the sheep go past him (under his shepherd’s rod) and counted. The first 10% was God’s and that was it! If it was corn, then the first of the harvest belonged to God. The farmer could do what he wanted after that.

If they had to go to a distant city that God chose and the crop was too much to take, then they could sell it, go there and buy what they wanted to eat! That was tithing! They tithe was food that was consumed as an act of worship.

What we need to remember is that it was not an option. The tithe belonged to God. Even if it never produced a “return”, it was His! The “return” came from the freewill offering.

“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, and let there be food in My house. And please prove Me in this,” said יהוה of hosts, “whether I do not open for you the windows of the heavens, and shall pour out for you boundless blessing!
“And I shall rebuke the devourer for you, so that it does not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor does the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” said יהוה of hosts.

The Process

The process was to-

  • Bring the tithe to the storehouse so that there would be literal food in God’s house
  • Put God to the test later, when He would open the windows of the heavens (plural).

The Hebrew word to consider is shāmayim and it refers to heaven as in God’s abode and also to heaven as in the skies (from which comes rain).

He said that He would then pour out boundless blessing and this blessing referred to their whole way of life. Everything was based on the land—their crops, cattle, water—everything. God promised to ensure that the insects and plagues, droughts and natural disasters that destroyed their crops and thus their lifestyles would not affect them. When they tithed; their crops flourished. When their crops flourished they had a harvest, but they still had to do the work involved in farming!

The actual tithe did nothing, because it was God’’s anyhow!

All we do is give God back what already belongs to Him.

It was the resulting blessing of God that followed offerings that produced the blessing.

It sounds the same perhaps, but it is not.

It is like the manna that fell. God sent it, but they had to collect it. This is what my friend of years ago was not taught. We were told that you had to give your tithe to the church.

We were led to believe that the tithe itself would somehow mysteriously be multiplied and dollars would fall out of the sky and land in our laps.The pastors never told us that God would rebuke the devourer in his life and he never expected the favor of God to come on his life as a way of  life, but the pastors received their stipends and we paid their bills.

Things are different today to the way they were in the Old Testament.

Most of us have a job and payday comes regularly without us having to exercise our faith. We sign on, do our work, sign off, go home and do whatever we do. The pay is (usually) there automatically.

God’s laws however do not change. The law of gravity still works even if you do not believe it or understand it.

The law of seed-time and harvest still works, because God made a promise. He told Noah in Genesis 8:20-22 that for as long as this planet existed, seed-time and harvest, the seasons, daytime and night time would exist.

If you look at His promise it is seed—then time—then harvest.

It does not always happen overnight because everything has its season.

Therefore when payday arrives, the principle remains the same and we really do not have to exercise any faith at all. The first thing we were told to do was to deliberately set aside one tenth of that pay packet and give it to the church, but it’s God’s—not the pastor’s or the church although it usually goes there.

It is the spirit of the word that counts and not the letter of the Law.

People split hairs asking if we should  tithe in the net or the gross and if one has to ask such questions, I suspect their hearts are not really in it. I think of Jesus’ words-

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Matthew 23:23-24

People often say that they have nothing to tithe or can’t afford to tithe, but in reality, we cannot afford not to, if God does what He said He would do.

If God said He would rebuke the devourer for your sake when you tithe, it implies that this will not happen if you do not tithe. It is not that God curses a thing. He does not do that. He merely takes His hand off because the individual has made a choice that God will honor. At such time the thief comes to steal , kill and destroy. It’s just a matter of time before it all manifests.

With a regular income from a permanent job, we tend to forget this, but things can and do change.

I know from first hand experience this is real from what happened in my secular employment.

Seemingly overnight, I went from being one of the executive technical managers in Telstra (Australia’s national telecommunications provider) as the National Administrator of part of the process that computerized Australia’s telephone exchange network and the introduction of optical fibre systems to being unemployed. It is called redundancy.

This was part of God’s plan of course so I could get to where I am now, but for a while, things were difficult. I kept tithing but nothing happened and it made me start asking the Lord questions.

The Lord started answering me in a way I had not expected. He told me to stop tithing in the way I had been doing and to give only as He instructed. He told me what to give, to whom, how and when.

He instructed my wife and I to sell our Pajero car and give the proceeds to two ministries. We had no transport for 4 months until someone took us shopping and bought us a Mitsubishi Magna. It has since been replaced under similarly amazing circumstances.

I gave a Dell computer away because He asked me to and someone bought a new iMac and Macbook Pro computer. They were then sowed and I now have new systems. The Apple company never gives things away, but the Lord told me to go to one of their stores to buy a new iPad and I came home with a top of the range iPad for the price of an entry level one. How did that work? I don’t know.

All I did was to do what He told me and I did it when He told me to do it.

This was what happened from my giving—and my obedience to His instructions—but not from my tithe!

Until I started to give as, where and when the Lord told us, it seemed that tithing did not work! We had been programmed into believing that the tithe automatically produced a 30, 60 or 100-fold return and it is not like that.

We had wanted to relocate for a long time and getting nowhere until the Lord told us to sow a seed—on top of our tithe. In a very short time, a large cheque came in the mail and we were able to move.

It happened so fast, we thought we were dreaming. The favor of God was on us and everything we did was blessed.

We were able to move, buy a brand new car, get ourselves set up into a new life and living better that we ever have, because we listened to the Lord’s voice and did what he told us to do—from our giving  and not our tithe.

Our new lifestyle is a direct result of our obedience to what God told us to do.

Have you ever experienced a series of mishaps that make no sense and seem to go from one problem to another? The kids get toothache and you need urgent dental treatment for them and no sooner have you got that fixed up, the motor in your car breaks down. That is repaired then the hot water system starts leaking and needs replacing, then the Microwave fails and then something else fails. You no sooner get over one thing when another arrives. If this is the kind of thing that is happening, then it could be possible that the devourer is having a field day with you. Check your finances! I did not ask you if you were tithing! I am asking you if you are doing what the Lord has been telling you to do.

As for having nothing, what does one do if someone has no job and thus no income? Some countries are extremely poor with no infrastructure, social security  and healthcare facilities and the like, so what does a Christian do?

All that I can say is that God’s word works for all and His word says that He gives seed to sowers. Someone in a remote native village somewhere can get seed to sow, even if it is one banana off a bunch or a button off his shirt.

It is the commitment and the exercise of one’s faith that is important.

God can show everyone what to do and how to do it.

A pastor told me of the time he visited Haiti, that had the reputation of being the poorest nation on earth and had suffered a major national disaster. Poverty was everywhere.
He saw a large white house in the middle of a well kept estate behind security fences. He asked his guide about the building and was told that it was the embassy of his own country.
The point he made was that despite living in the middle of that foreign country, the ambassador’s government supplied all of  the ambassador’s needs.  If the embassy needed supplies, the government back home provided all the needs in the midst of all that poverty. They lived in the middle of a foreign land, but did not have to live under the same conditions as the citizens.

The lesson learned is that we belong to a different Kingdom and it is not of this world. It is not restricted to the prevailing conditions of the natural world.

We are ambassadors of Christ, so our headquarters is located where He is located. He is our source, not our local environment, so when we have a need, we have the right and the authority to make withdrawals from our heavenly bank account.

It works.

It might not always be easy and we might not always understand what is happening behind the scenes, so we turn to God’s word and our faith.

God gives seed to seed sowers. Conversely, if you do not sow, He does not give seed and if you do not sow, you will not reap, but to whom, how and where do we sow?

This now brings us to the leading question-

To Whom Do You Give?

This is a touchy subject in many ways, mostly due to lack of understanding.
Many  pastors want their people to give into their own ministry and this is usually perfectly acceptable.
We need financial support and as I am a pastor, I understand some of their reasoning, but I do not ask anyone to tithe, nor do I ask people to sow into our ministry. You will not find a link anywhere on my web site asking you to give! The Lord instructed me to remove all such links and to trust Him to supply all that is necessary to function and He has never failed us.
If folk want to do so, we are grateful of course, but demanding people to give is wrong.

We would be better off teaching people the truth about these things and give them the opportunity to see how it works.

A quick look at Luke chapter ten reveals that Jesus sent seventy disciples out on ministry assignments, with several instructions, one of which was to leave their wallets, credit cards and check books behind them.

On their return He asked them if they lacked anything and they had of course not gone lacking.

Doing something like that can be difficult in modern day society, but it proves however that we overlook the Lord’s provision and way of doing things. He took a small boy’s cut lunch and fed a multitude with food (not scraps) left over.

If He could do that then, He can still do it today and I am starting to see that we have not even begun to realize that we have not yet tapped into the source!

A small boy sowed something for the miracle and it was not a tithe.

There are conditions that I touched on the before on the quality of the soil into which your precious seed is sown. Don’t give your hard-earned money to something that does not meet the criteria, regardless of what church or ministry it is.

I recommend that you test everything. Do not “sow” into bad soil, but good soil and herein is another problem in that we need to determine what is good soil. Just because a man has a big church, a TV ministry or writes volumes of Christian books, does not mean that this is good soil. This person could be doing something that the Lord never asked him to do. This person could be still hanging onto a Nehushtan!

Put the principles I have shared in summary form to the test. You have a right to ask the pastor what happens with your money. He has a duty or a responsibility to be open and accountable with what happens to it.

Some ministers dislike being questioned, so be wise and careful if you ask pertinent questions, but do not gossip and criticize.

I spoke with a pastor who had been regularly asking people in the church to increase their giving because they were struggling to keep the office going. It was embarrassing and many people started to leave that church, offended about it. Needless to say, it seems that the extra finances never came and the church is impploding and the office closed down.

I do not want to sound critical, but 25-30-minute sermons that were totally uninspiring were all that the people were receiving. The people were being slowly starved to death, dying of spiritual malnutrition.
Sadly this is common. Personally, I believe that you should not sow seed into such ministries, but that’s your choice.

Find a place that really does feed the Lord’s sheep.

Ask God what He wants you to do. He could surprise you with the answer and it might not always be your local church and, as a pastor myself, that is a profound statement! To be honest, I’d prefer the folk in my church to tithe and sow seed in my church, but I will never demand it or pressurize the people.

Please, do not neglect to tithe, but make sure you are doing so for the right  reason—in the right manner and to the right people. The tithe is not for the local church to pay the bills and employ staff. The tithe is to care for the needy around you. The tithe is a vehicle or a means for you to worship God as an act of thanksgiving for His goodness and provision.

The Jews had a party!

They came together to show others how God had blessed their crops and provided for them and shared His goodness with each other as they corporately thanked Him. That’s—tithing.

If you  decide to sow seed, then do so also, but find out how to go about it. The Holy Spirit will lead you.

Although tithing was something that happened in the Old Testament, its practice in the New Testament is not really clear. Nevertheless, the principle of putting God first is even more stringent today.

For the Jewish legalists it was  an obligation, but we do it as an act of love.

Please do not give anything if you feel that you “have to” and are some kind of obligation because the leader is pushing it. It is not something God wants, if your heart is not in it.

The Old Testament tithe was a type or a shadow of what was to come.

We honor Jesus, our High Priest, who is a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

I hope that this has shed some light on a difficult and sometimes controversial topic. Pray about it.

I hope this has both challenged you and been an inspiration to you.

Blessings,

Robert


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