To tithe or not to tithe?
Want to start an emotionally charged discussion? Just bring up the subject of tithing.
For those that have never heard a sermon or teaching on the topic of biblical tithing, it is the practice of giving 10% of your earnings or increase to the local church where you worship. It is not optional, but a debt that we owe to God, no different than the taxes we pay to the government.
I’m not going to get into a theological lesson about tithing beyond this. Some people argue that they tithe to those in need instead of directly to the church. The uniqueness of Christianity is that much of what we follow is based on faith, and different people believe and interpret the Bible different ways. While there may be many arguments and practices that people follow regarding tithes, going down that rabbit hole is definitely not the purpose of my writing today.
I was raised to tithe, and when we received birthday and graduation money, we paid our 10% the following Sunday in church. My mom taught us that however much we received, just move the decimal point over one space to the left, to determine our tithe. A $20.00 birthday gift resulted into a $2.00 tithe.
During the offering time, my father would read Malachi 3:8-14 every Sunday.
“WILL A MAN ROB GOD?”, his voice would boom through the microphone. “Yet you have robbed me…in tithes and offerings.” He read through the verses about robbing God, which would result in a curse. What kind of curse didn’t matter to me, I just knew I didn’t want it!
After I graduated from college and landed my first job, I continued tithing. I had already determined that I wasn’t going to ever rob God. A check was written in church the Sunday after each payday. And if I had to miss church (which didn’t happen very often), I would write the owed amount in my checkbook ledger to ensure I paid it the next time.
I can remember earlier in my marriage, when we had a new house, new baby, and the bills were mounting up, it didn’t seem like we had enough in our paychecks to cover our expenses AND pay tithes. I would pay our bills, and then whatever was leftover, pay a portion of our tithes, and once again write in my checkbook ledger how much I still owed God. I would keep a running tally until I received my annual bonus at work, from which I paid off the outstanding balance, along with the tithes from that amount. Then I would start again, and try to pay my 10% off the top, but eventually I would repeat the cycle again.
I was technically following the scripture, but there was a critical part I was missing:
Test me in this…[and see] if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be enough room to receive it. (verse 10 NIV and KJV)
I wasn’t fully following this scripture, as I didn’t always have the faith to first pay my tithes from my paycheck, and trust God to cover the rest of my expenses with the 90% I still had left over. But God is telling us to test Him by paying our tithes! He’s daring us to follow this scripture and see if what He promises will happen.
Technology soon helped with this – I finally decided that I was going to start showing my faith by taking my tithe out as soon as my direct deposit hit. Eventually my church had an online giving system, and I didn’t have to wait until Sunday – it came right out on payday.
I remember seeing a post that a friend, who was also a preacher, wrote about the rest of the scripture:
“And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” Says the Lord of hosts. (verse 11 NKJV)
He shared that as a tither, God would handle my enemy by rebuking him when he tried to come for me, keeping him from destroying my possessions (fruit of my ground), and my vine would continue to bear fruit, meaning I would continue to be productive in my personal and professional endeavors.
And as a final promise:
“And all nations will call you blessed, For you will be a delightful land,” Says the Lord of hosts. (verse 12 NKJV)
Some desire to be rich, famous, or happy. There are a number of adjectives that can describe what people desire in life. Above all that, I’ll take being blessed, because there is nothing better than having God’s favor on my life.
I want to share a teachable moment that happened not long ago. My oldest daughter recently turned 16. Because we couldn’t have the big Sweet Sixteen birthday bash she had been dreaming about due to COVID-19, we had a Drive-By celebration instead and also invited family and friends to give financial gifts via the Cashapp electronic payment service. And many people blessed her financially for her birthday!
I wanted to open Kennedi an account with my bank, but because of the pandemic, some of the branches were closed. We had to wait for an in-person appointment, and a month later, we were finally able to open the account. But when we tried to access the Cashapp to transfer the money, it said no such account existed.
After trying multiple ways to access the account, I looked for a number to call customer service, but there was none – everything was handled online. What if I couldn’t get a hold of someone? I began to grow very anxious and prayed for God to help us with this situation. The next day we still couldn’t access the money and still hadn’t heard back from their Customer Service.
My frustration continued to grow, and as I was praying again, God reminded me of this scripture, and I prayed that he would rebuke the devourer and not allow her money to be gone. Then, I called Kennedi in and shared what just happened. I asked her to read these scriptures with me, and then explained because she paid tithes on all her birthday money, that she had these promises to hold on to, and that everything would work out.
The next day, we finally got a response from Cashapp, and within twenty-four hours she was able to access the account and transfer her birthday money over to her new checking account.
What a blessing it was to practically apply those scriptures in my daughter’s situation. I pray it is a seed sown for when she becomes an adult, she’ll remember God’s promise, continue to tithe willingly, and trust God to supply everything that she needs.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to pay my tithes. And wouldn’t you know it, I still recite Malachi 3:10-13 before I press the button on my phone and send my tithe off to my church. Not that I need to, but I’m reminding God and myself of what will happen as a result of me obeying this biblical principle.
Next payday it’s your turn. Test Him… I dare you!
Are you dealing with financial struggles and worries? Do you faithfully pay your tithes on any financial increase?
If not, won’t you make a goal in 2021 to trust the promises found in Malachi 3:8-14. What do you have to lose, except a window full of blessings that you won’t have room enough to receive, along with protective hand of God on your life. You can always trust Him to supply what you need.
Feel free to respond in the comments section… and share this story with someone in your life that could use the encouragement. Follow Destined 4 the Dub for the Inspiration each week as we journey through the highs and lows of life!