Blessings-driven Tithing Could Pose a Spiritual Danger for Christians
Author : Tom Graneau
Why do you give your time and money to the church? Do you feel obligated to do so? Do you give because you love God and sincerely want to contribute to his kingdom? Or could it be that you give out of fear and spiritual expectancy? If you’re not sure how to answers these questions, you may need to consider the motive behind your giving.
After more than four decades of church involvement, I’ve come to believe that many Christians make financial pledges in church with the expectation of getting something back from God. Though the basis for the behavior can hardly be proven, misapplication of certain Bible text such as Malachi 3:10 is commonly used to stimulate the practice.
This specific text reads as follows: “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and try me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10). Few can doubt the promise that God made to Israel about tithing would come to pass. He had fulfilled all prior promises to date, and this one would be no different if the prophet Malachi could only persuade the people to return to the practice of tithing, which was still required under biblical law or Jewish custom.
But as I indicated in a prior piece, Church Tithing: Spiritual Bondage on Modern Christianity, tithing is no longer required in God’s new covenant with mankind. This means that followers of Christ are under no obligation to give money to the church unless they feel spiritually led to do so. Nonetheless, Christians who are unaware of the truth are being persuaded to tithe with the expectation of receiving blessings from God.
But blessings-driven tithing could pose a real danger for Christians. This is largely because of the mindset that’s associated with the practice. For instance, some people tithe with the intent of receiving the enormous blessing that the Bible referred to in Malachi 3:10, not realizing that the entire book was written for the Jews, and this specific text is irrelevant in contemporary Christianity. After years of making financial contributions to the church, some tithers eventually wake up to the reality that God hasn’t fulfilled his promise in their lives. The disappointment has caused many to question the validity of tithing. Some tithers have returned to their ministers and demand an explanation about their long-awaiting blessings for which they have contributed with tithing; and others are still anticipating the day when heaven will open and shower an infinite number of blessings on them because of their devoted tithing practices.
God cannot be bribed
The Bible teaches us many things, central to all is a God who cannot be manipulated by mankind in any way and for any reason. His ways and thoughts exceed ours beyond measure (Isaiah 55:9). Moreover, he has the capacity to look deep into our hearts and determined the motive behind our actions (1 Samuel 16:7). This means that though he promised to supply our needs (Philippians 4:19) and has the capacity to open the windows of heaven and shower blessings on anyone, he does it by his own volition. He dictates the time and circumstances in which to take action, part of which may include doing nothing at all.
This means that we cannot use our money, charm, position, or power to impress or bribe God. Neither is he sympathetic to spiritual illiteracy that eventually lead people into personal hardship, particularly with their finances. The Bible encourages us to study the word of God so we can rightly divide the truth and minimize shame (2 Timothy 2:15). He expects us to be knowledgeable, wise, and diligent, both in and out of the church.
That said, the best approach to his blessings is through honesty and truth. He tests the heart of man, not his action (1 Chronicles 29:17; Jeremiah 17:10).
Have you checked your giving-motive lately?
If your reason for serving God is based on the blessings that he provides, your knowledge of him has been misdirected. In which case, you need a spiritual re-calibration, a fresh view about his nature and relationship with mankind. You can start the journey from the first book in the Old Testament (Genesis). I also suggest reading The Devil in Modern Eden, which provides a condensed view of God’s attributes.
One of the simplest things you will discover while reading is this: Although God loves everyone, he is more inclined to reach out and bless people who genuinely loves him in return. He draws nearer to those who worship him, not because of what they can get from him but because of what they give to him. You will find that to be true in both the Old and New Testaments.
No wonder that first century Christians promoted and practiced a freewill offering (1 Corinthians 16:2, 2 Corinthians 9:7) instead of the obligatory tithe that was instituted in the Old Testament. The freewill offering, which may include money, time, and personal devotion provides us the opportunity to bless God with our giving without feeling compelled to do so. The act is intended to be self-directed and cheerful, which is clearly the approach that he prefers.
Your freewill offering
If you have been in the habit of paying a tenth of your income to the church, you may want to reevaluate your thinking behind the action. Consider doing the following:
- Continue to give but think of it as a freewill offering instead. That way, your contribution can be more flexible. You can give (more or less) depending on your financial situation.
- Give from your heart and not by what your church has stipulated and expects to receive.
- Think of giving to God as a form of worship because you love him. When you give, you should expect nothing from him in return.
- Accept the idea that he retains control over his response to your contribution. Frankly, if you see it like I do, he has done everything I need and more through the gift of salvation. I am immensely grateful for his love and mercy to me.
- Free yourself from the bondage of tithing, specifically the fear, intimidation, and spiritual expectation that are built around the exercise. The concept was a legalistic practice in the Old Testament, and God does not require the same from you today.
Instead, consider making a serious commitment to get closer to God. By doing so, you will experience spiritual liberation—a special freedom that brings peace and joy that cannot be obtained from any other source. If you truly love God, you won’t expect him to do anything else other than what he has done for you. When you get in the habit of thinking this way, the blessings will flow naturally.
Think of it this way: God doesn’t need your MONEY to blessing you!
What are your thoughts on the matter?
Have you struggled with the issue of tithing? Do you see a problem with blessing-driven tithing?
If you believe that the Devil is only a symbol of evil…think again.
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