Tithing Part II

In my previous post I asked the question "Would God be pleased if I tithed?" The answer for me is yes. I believe God is pleased when I tithe. I believe tithing is a good thing. But as with all good deeds, its goodness becomes empty if our motives for doing it are misplaced.

For example, singing a song to God is not pleasing to God if our motives are not pure. If we are singing to show off our talents to others so that they might be impressed with us, or if we are singing ritualistically, without really believing in (or more importantly acting upon) the words we are singing, then I have difficulty believing that our singing will please God. Songs by themselves, absent the hearts and the deeds to back them up, are not what God desires from us. Take a look at what God says about this in the book of Amos:

"I hate all your show and pretense--the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies. I will not accept your burnt offerings and grain offerings. I won't even notice all your choice peace offerings. Away with your hymns of praise! They are only noise to my ears. I will not listen to your music, no matter how lovely it is. Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, a river of righteous living that will never run dry." Amos 5:21-24 (NLT)

Notice that God did not say "All I care about is what you believe". He said that He desires righteous living. God desires Holiness, both inward and outward. Songs, by themselves, are meaningless.

And we should approach tithing the same way. Much like the offerings described in Amos, we should not rely on tithing to accomplish something by itself. It only plays a part in a holistic approach to righteous living. It will not substitute for unrighteousness. Only Jesus can do that. We deceive ourselves if we believe that our good deeds will lead to salvation. At the same time, we deceive ourselves if we believe our salvation removes the need for good deeds. On the contrary, our salvation should compel us to good works. Good works do not lead to salvation, but salvation DOES lead to good works.

"What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do." James 2:15-18 (NIV)

James' challenge here is for us to show our faith. And the sting of this passage is that without good deeds, we are left with very little evidence of our faith. To paraphrase, James might have said, "Talk is cheap". Again, good deeds are not a replacement for faith, rather, as James points out, they are the evidence of it.

"Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins." James 4:17 (NIV)

So I ask you, is it good to tithe? Is it good for you to tithe? Would God be pleased if you tithed? Does God want you to tithe? These are the questions we must ask ourselves when we think about tithing. For me, the answers are a resounding "YES!" What about you?

Ken Bussell
Minister of Music & Administration
Our Place Christian Church

>sent via blackberry

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Giving is a choice made by a believer by the leading of the Holy Spirit. It should be done regularly and proportionately as Paul teaches. The Old Testament (Old Covenant) tithe is just that, old. There is no person on the earth today that has the authority to collect an old covenant tithe because there are no descendants of Levi to collect it. Hebrews, Chapter 7-9 make it clear that we are all of the order of Melchezedik and that the New Covenant replaced the old and broken covenant. If a person tithes today, it because they were led to tithe by the Holy Spirit and they do it with a happy heart, but not in obedience to any old testament law. This is very important because many Pastors tell congregations they are cursed, or even that their salvation is on the line if they do not tithe exactly 10% of their gross income. If we are following the law we must follow ALL the law to include burnt offerings, sprinling blood, debt forgiveness, various feasts, and much more. We can't pick and choose which laws we want to follow in the new testament Christian church.

FreeGoodNews.com said...

Hi Ken-

I'm convinced that "tithing" is an unbiblical practice for Christians. It's like teaching sabbath keeping and circumcision. Instead, we should go much further, called "stewardship." Everything should be devoted to God; 100% of our time, treasure, and talent. In the Old Testament, the poor didn't tithe, they RECEIVED the tithe. Today, we have rich Christians living greedy lives, because they tithed their 10%. I think it's also wrong to even say to start at tithing; 10%.

This is a very serious issue. If you ever want to meet and talk about it, I'd love to. Just give me a call (also, if anyone else reading this wants to talk about it). I'm in the Hillsboro area. See the free book offer about tithing at my website FreeGoodNews.com, written by Dr. Russell Kelly.

Bernie Dehler
http://fgn.typepad.com/
503-317-0746

wasmachstdugern said...

i agree that we cannot pick and choose which OT laws we wish to follow now. that being the case, i think that the concept of tithing is right on, but the specific stipulations make it seem to rigid. i was always a fan of the more personal and spirit led act of giving, or i guess stewardship.