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?
Minister of Music & Administration
Our Place Christian Church
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