Tithing is About Faith

Tithing has fallen on hard times. Maybe it always does during economic downturns, but especially right now, the temptation is to cut back on the giving side. After all, think about how much money you would have every month is you didn’t chop 10% right off the top? And it wouldn’t be like you would never tithe again – you would just take a few months off to get your feet under you. And isn’t it sort of legalistic to have to write this check every month anyway? And doesn’t God care about taking care of our families? That money could certainly be used to help them. And so on, and so on, and so on.

Or at least those are some of the things I have told myself. But I was struck this week by the simple truth that tithing is not about the money. I may try to make it about the money, but it’s really not. It’s certainly not about the money to God, cause I’m pretty sure He’s doing okay. His retirement plan isn’t in jeopardy. He’s not concerned about the state of His mutual funds. Not God – He doesn’t need my money.

In a much deeper way, it’s really not about the money for me either, or at least it’s not supposed to be.  Just like most things in the Christian life, tithing is very little about the actual, physical act and much more about the spiritual significance behind that act. Tithing is very little about money, and very much about faith.

I believe that to continue to tithe – to be generous and giving even when you feel like you can’t afford it – is an act of faith. It is a statement by action that I believe God can be trusted. He told me to do this, and so I will do it because I believe He is wise and loving in what He commands. Therefore, because I believe in His goodness and wisdom and therefore I believe His ways are best, I will tithe.

I will tithe also because I believe in God’s power to provide. There’s alot that I could do with that money; and sometimes I feel like giving it away puts me in a position of need. That’s not a position I’m comfortable with, but that is a position where I must receive from God. Not a bad place to be.

Finally, I will tithe because I believe that God Himself is better than any of the stuff I could get with that money. It’s an act of faith to choose God over comfort because, well, He’s invisible. So I give away the money that could be used to make me more comfortable because I believe that God is better than any of those things.

Giving is more about faith than money; God is not a panhandler. He’s a character developer, and one that loves us too much to allow us to have a money addiction.

Subscribe to MichaelKelley.co

Never miss a new post. Subscribe to receive these posts in your inbox and to receive information about new discipleship resources.

You have successfully subscribed. Click here to download your bonus.

23 Comments

  • Where are your Bible texts which verify what you are saying?

    OT tithing was:
    1. LAW, mandatoryd, a must for farmers and herdsmen living inside Israel.
    2. Not accepted from Hebrews living outside Isrela or from pagans.
    3. Not expected from tradesmen, craftsmen or those who did notd live off the land.
    4. Not expected from the poor.

    NT giving after Calvary is: freewill, sacrificial, generous, joyful, not of commandment, motivated by love for God and lost souls. That is enough. The church that fails does so because it is not preaching the gospel and is not teaching personal evangelism.

  • Brad Duggan says:

    I totally agree with you Michael! I feel like God wants us to have the faith in Him to provide for our needs. I myself have struggled with tithing over the last year, even though I know that he will provide for all of my needs (from experience). To me it comes down to my heart condition and having the faith to let Him provide for all of my needs.

  • Becky Dietz says:

    Have you read (or seen) The Blessed Life by Robert Morris? It’s the best I’ve seen on tithing—or firstfruits. It transformed my life! Good stuff!!

  • SGH says:

    “To me it comes down to my heart condition and having the faith to let Him provide for all of my needs.”

    Hmmmm……’let’ God do something?…..interesting……does that mean that God is only Sovereign when you let him be?

    Acts 17:24- The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,
    Acts 17:25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.
    Acts 17:26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,

    I would say we dont let God do anything according to this text……He does as He pleases…….and looks for your obedience. The way I read it “everything” means everything in verse 25…..it covers it all…..

    There is so much of this mind set about God “I feel like God wants us to have the faith in Him to provide for our needs.”

    God does not “want” anything from us as this verse clearly shows He needs nothing. He is all sufficient.

    I agree with the PHD above……none of what is said in this thread can be supported with Scripture.

    But Doc, you forgot one thing…….the new mindset in the church is ‘If God doesnt provide through the tithes and offerings, then the bank will’…..that’s not trusting God to provide that’s leaning on your own understanding…….seems like there is a text about this 😉

  • josh says:

    michael.

    great post, i appreciate your honesty, and your trust in our Father who owns the cattle on a thousand hills. your words encouraged me to continue in all things (money included) to do what pleases God…… have faith.

    at the risk of overstating and being slammed by some of the scripture friendly folks above, i think giving, and even giving generously, or even dare we say tithing, is one of the hardest yet most beautiful acts of american worship. in our culture it’s so important to be reminded that God owns everything, and giving serves as quite the reminder for me.
    to take a page from your book:
    when i give i’m essentially saying thanks Lord, thanks so much, for letting me borrow all this, i know you don’t need my x amount of dollars, i’ve heard you’re in the thriving business of livestock and hills and such, but i give still, in this moment, to be reminded of my need, my need of you, and i give because i’m assured, God knows i’m working to be assured, that flowing from your right hand is the fullness of my pleasure.

    things get ridiculous and holistically un-scriptural when we give and then feel entitled, feel owed, feel like now it’s your turn Lord. that’s the kind of talk that makes the story of God and the rescue of Christ shallow, uninspiring, extremely boring, and horribly self-centered.

    (fyi — i don’t think you alluded to any of that type talk)

    sorry for the mini-blog slash comment.

  • Brad Duggan says:

    SGH,

    I believe God does want us to have faith in Him to provide!

    We all know that God is self-sufficient and can complete His purpose without any of us, but I believe that it brings glory to Him when we want to be obediant and be a part of His ultimate plan.

    God gave us free will to chose how much we depend on Him, if we chose Him at all. My point as stated above is that we all have struggles in our relationship with God, which vary for each person. As I grow in my relationship with God and try to align myself with his will, I find new struggles each and every day.

    My ultimate goal is to be obediant, and for me I have found that giving is a weakness. I think God has been convicting me of this weakness, this is a barrier in my relationship with Him.

    We can all use scripture in our defense or to play devils advocate. My focus is obediance to Him, and I think that was Michael’s point with this post!

    I do appreciate that you made me think and search for God’s leading in my life.

  • Michael K. says:

    Good conversation this morning by all, guys. thanks for using the blog as a forum to do that.

    I would further what many of you guys have said, including the doctor, that I believe tithing or giving at all for that matter not to be done because of God’s needs, but because we recognize that it’s all His anyway.

    I would pose the question, though, if you should give because you want to, should you give even when you don’t want to?

    My answer is yes. Brad, I think you’re getting at this some.

    Just as I think we should pray or read even when we don’t want to, I think giving when we don’t feel like it helps us remember that we don’t own anything anyway. Not really. The continued discipline of generosity forcibly pries our hands away from our stuff and opens them up to God.

    Or how about this question – is giving more for God, or is it more for us? Curious to know what we think about that…

  • Becky Dietz says:

    When I give, I’m declaring: “I will serve God, not money!”
    P.S. I’m not a guy. Hee-hee!

  • Jason Smith says:

    I’ve always wondered about a couple of things here:

    1.) Why is it that we feel compelled to make the “year end gift” more so than the gift itself? Is is because we are motivated by the tax break?

    2.) Why do we give in public in baskets and offering plates when Jesus said that we should give in secret and that our left hand should not know what are right hand is doing?

  • Heather says:

    A quick comment on that last question – I don’t think the fact that the baskets are in public really affects things. Unless you’re really keeping track, you don’t know whether that $20 check I put in was for this week, this month, or this year. It’s just a snapshot and not a real picture. It’s more of a convenience to just drop off a check rather than mail it in.

  • SGH says:

    Brad,

    Point taken…..but if we think we “let” God do anything, we are sadly mistaken. He does as He pleases according to Scripture. Another text I think so often gets taken out of context is the one where Jesus said behold I stand at the door and knock……but I got a news flash for folks……Jesus owns that door…..and He will knock it down if He wants to.

    Ah, the age old free will piece. According to Scripture, we are either slaves to satan or slaves to God. We simply do not have a say in the matter. (See Romans 6 & references) The mistake made is an understanding and clarity of free will. What we possess is free moral agency and there is a big difference since our free will is absolutely corrupted by sin.

    Jeremiah 13:23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil.

    Romans 3:11 no one understands; no one seeks for God.

    John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

    Ephesians 2:8,9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

    Difficult to argue with the clear teaching of Scripture. Boasting about “choosing God” directly conflicts with Scripture…..and there are many more that are very clear. We must interprit what is unclear with what is clear.

    Fact is, faith & repentence are gifts from God too. We cannot possess these on our own either. This is why James says in Chapter 1 of his letter that if we lack in wisdom…..let him ask without doubting……because we know that all good gifts are from God.

    Sorry I belabored this……but the idolatry of free will is one of the greatest in my humble opinion……it’s a lack of dying to self and screams “I did something” when God is the once who is acting (See Ezekiel 36). I think the sooner a Christian grasps that he/she is at the absolute mercy of God in all matters, including the “choice” of salvation, the more you grow in love with Christ and gratitude that God has chosen to save you at all.

    So, back to the point of the thread…..if you lack wisdom and faith in giving (or anything else)……ask God for it…..He is faithful…..

    I think it was Adrian Rodgers who once said……”I hear folks say to me that they cannot afford to tithe. I always answer them and say ‘I cannot afford not to’.

    (break)

    Hmmm……Scripture freindly folks?? Isnt the Word of God to be our guide in all matters of life and instruction? Stunning statement.

  • josh says:

    sgh.

    the scripture friendly folks comment was a euphemism, a bit of light-hearted-ness, a bad reference. my apologies.

    i’m a huge fan and full supporter of scripture being my “guide in all matters of life and instruction.”

    peace.

  • SGH says:

    Josh,
    Euphemism have the same deleterious effect. I recieved the slam well and often, so it’s all good. No apology necessary.

    Michael,
    To your question posed above, I believe 1 Chronicles 29 answers about everything in this thread this far (except free will ;-)).

    It’s one of my favorite passages……oh the joy in giving all those sacrifices……what a picture of giving……those animals (or their stuff) were very valuable to them……can you see the joy they were experiencing in the text?

  • Ben Stroup says:

    Good thoughts. Thanks for your personal confession. I have incorporated your thoughts into my latest post on the Do More Ministry blog – A Conversation on Stewardship and Giving. (http://blogs.lifewaystores.com/blog/domoreministry/archives/2008/09/threads-editor.html#comments)

  • Gregg says:

    Matt.23:23 (NLT)
    23 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.”

    Friends tithing was before the OT law Gen, 14:18-20, Jesus does not cancel tithing in this passage, but wanted to understand the spirit and not just the letter of the law.

    I am in agreement with Michael K. Tithing is an act of faith which God honours.

    I have seen so many use 2 Corinthians 9:7 as the NT way of giving as a replacement for tithing. Somehow they can never see that this is for an offering for the saints at jerusalem specifically, and an encouragement to do so whenever they give to an appeal, or general offering.

    My encouragement is to do what God challanged Judah to do in Malachi 3:10, and see if it still applys in this dispensation.

    Works for me.

  • Stephen Davis says:

    The ‘blessing’ that comes out of the windows of heaven is the same blessing that came out of the rock in Exodus 17. This is a chronology and not a condition to a promise. It was immediately after they tithed a tithe of the manna into the pot that they ‘tempted/proved’ God for water. To teach Christians to give ten percent based on the promise of water is a severe perversion of scripture. Tempting God is evil. God uses this manner of speech when He says to ‘come to Gilgal/Bethel and transgress’. Millions of Christians with twisted minds in order to put the yoke on their necks. Do any of you young ones know how to study?

  • Michael K. says:

    Stephen – Thanks for stopping by the blog and for taking time to comment.

    I’m having trouble finding where in my post I advocate tithing as a means to “get God to bless me.” That goes radically against the spirit of the post and what I believe. That feels alot like the prosperity gospel to me, which is complete bunk as apparently you believe also.

    Also, while I appreciate you taking time to comment, I don’t appreciate the insulting nature of your last quip. Do any of us young ones know how to study? I believe we do. So I would ask for a little more courtesy next time as you make your point.

  • Stephen Davis says:

    Forgive me for the tone and the remark. I have read hundreds of blogs on tithing, yet none point out something which I believe to be obvious. If any on this blog cannot find the many parallels to the manna in the wilderness, they are in the company of millions. I will take your remarks to heart, and endeavor to keep a gentle and patient attitude.

  • Michael K. says:

    No problem. And I’m glad it’s a forum for you to point that out. And I’m also always glad to meet someone who recognizes that we don’t back into a corner of blessing.

    You’re welcome here any time.

  • Latsuchi says:

    Everything that we own is of God. Whether we like it or not he is the ultimate provider. He gives us good things and it is just like trusting or better still lending those things to us. Giving our tithes says that I am putting my trust in God to provide. In fact for me personally, when I tithe I have a smooth ride but when I slow down I see an immediate stretch of difficulties financially. I will simply say here that give your tithes and give it out of love and not out of obligation.

  • David says:

    I recently read on a web site, where a guy was convinced, that all churches of today, are not of God, and that tithing was not of God in the new testament. The Lord is all for us to tithe, as long as we do it with Wisdom,Justice, and faith. And He, Jesus Christ, and God the Father, are against anyone that would lure Christians out of church, to become vulnerable, as they would then be, out on there own, once they left, where Satan can then devour them… Such people have been deceived,and are trying to divide Christians… Satan knows that a kingdom divided against it’s self, can not stand, so he tries to cause division… God keeps us safe, so the idea of his kingdom being successfully divided, is absurd, and extremely impossible. For God is almighty powerful, over that he has created, and He has created all things, including Satan. Fear not Satan, but fear God with all reverence, and stay in your church, which is the body of Jesus Christ, who is the head of the church over all. Amen!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.