Nothing like talking about money to stir passions. I was a faithful tither to various institutions for over thirty years. I quit in 2005, and contrary to all the dire threats from mandatory-tithe-preachers, I have not been cursed by God. Rather, I have been blessed in every way.
If there was ever an issue that stacking up proof texts for or against is ineffective in persuading someone of the opposite persuasion, this is it. So, I am not going to do that. I would like to go beyond a proof-text shouting match. Besides, anything “theological” to be said on the subject, has already been said by others–pro and con. Resources are readily available. Tithe if you want to. There’s no sin in it. But lay off the sweeping pronouncements against others who don’t, and don’t think you are increasing your righteousness or favored status with God because you tithe. That’s an insult to the work of Christ.
And yet, like Paul, I think there is a better way . . . the way of love.
For me, any issue in the kingdom, that is not animated by love, relationship, and family, is suspect. My problem with tithing is relational. I can’t relate to a thing, an entity. I can “belong” to a thing or entity, but I can’t relate to one. I can only relate to a person or persons. The way I see it, tithing hinders relationship with Father and the brotherhood, and anything that hinders relationship must be discarded.
You see, the way tithing is normally taught, you do not need to relate to God, or engage God relationally at all about your giving. All you need to do is relate to a calculator, because allegedly, as long as I am giving 10.000000000000% I am in the goods with God, and the “windows of heaven will open for me,” but if I give 8.487645345678%, I am going to be cursed by God for disobeying Him. (Never mind that the total Levitical tithe obligation to avoid being cursed by God approached 22-27% of total annual income, not 10% . . . ah, but that is story for another day, but all those folks committed to ten percent as the magic to open the windows of heaven, need to re-read their Bibles. You’re still “disobeying” at ten percent.)
I regret the thirty years I tithed, not because the money was wasted. Nothing offered to God in faith and sincerity, even in our sincerely ignorant faith, is ever wasted. No. What was wasted and missed was the opportunity to relate to my Father in my giving, and relationship is everything.
Not once in those thirty years did I ever pray or engage Him about my giving, because, I was being a good, dutiful, little Christian making sure that the “open door to cursing” was closed and the “windows of heaven were opened” by my faithful obedience to tithe. Thirty years of no relationship. I didn’t have to pray. I was “obeying” therefore, God was going to bless me whether I relationally engaged Him or not. Relationship is everything. The windows of heaven are opened to me in Christ. I live every day under open windows and I don’t need to put my token in the heavenly lotto machine to “get my blessing.”
So sad. I doubt that I am the only one with this experience.
Since I quit tithing, I have not quit giving. Rather, I have discovered the joy of generous, Spirit-directed giving, out of my own need at times, as the overflow of my relationship with my heavenly Father. What a thrill it is to experience being the answer to someone else’s secret prayer. What a thrill to be the practical hands of God reaching out to others with my finances. What a joy to feel the relational knitting of hearts together in a community, in the bonds of love when someone’s need has been met through Spirit-led giving that I am a part of.
In Second Corinthians 9:14, the ASV states that one of the overflow benefits of Spirit-led giving is a “longing for each other.” I must say, that in all my years of tithing to a machine, an institution, an entity, never did I experience a longing for my brother or sister. No, it was all clinical, duty-based, and selfish . . . so I could avoid being cursed. Fear-based preaching about money will never realize God’s kingdom intentions for finance . . . never.
The best thing that ever happened to me in my giving was to quit tithing. Some say that 10% should be the baseline of our giving. I say . . . put the calculator away . . . PERIOD! Relate to your Father. Do what He says. He values you and your relationship more than your money. What you do with your money will just be a reflection of your love quotient. In love with Him, in love with the brotherhood, and in love with a world that needs Jesus, should be all the motive we need to be cheerful, generous, disciplined, regular givers of time, talent, and treasure. How could it be possible if we are extravagant lovers in these three arenas that we would not be givers? Closed wallets always indicate cold hearts. I don’t need a calculator to be a giver. I need a warm heart.
Let’s love extravagantly, including through our finances.
___________Copyright 2013, Dr. Stephen R. Crosby, www.swordofthekingdom.com. Permission is granted to copy, forward, or distribute this article for non-commercial use only, as long as this copyright byline, in totality, is maintained in all duplications, copies, and link references. For reprint permission for any commercial use, in any form of media, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. This ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those who partner with us and believe in the message of a radical grace in a new covenant understanding. If this article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a tax-deductible contribution through our Paypal button to help? Thank you and God bless you.
So well said- my sentiments exactly! Its one of those Sacred Cows of Religion that wont just die because it feeds the maintenance of the institutional church model- its time for LOVE and its time for FREEDOM
Love. It. Have not tithed. In years. Love spirit lead giving. So exciting. Thanks
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Something truly gratifying about giving generously as a response to the relationship with Father: the joy of seeing what we give directly benefit PEOPLE rather than keep up a building or keep a “program” running.
that’s for sure.
Well Well Mr Crosby you have done it again. (kudos to his grace upon you). I think this is the clearest. brief articulation on N, Test. life I’ve heard… “For me, any issue in the kingdom, that is not animated by love,relationship, and family, is suspect” Amen and Amen again!!
Thanks Owen. You are a blessing in my life. I felt so bad that the technology did not work for us in FL. Know you were missed.
Steve, this was very well put. We have been so FREE since we stopped “tithing” and started giving as we purpose in our hearts. PLUS, instead of 10% of our giving going to actually help others (with 90% going to building, staff, etc.) – 100% goes to actually meeting the needs of God’s kids.
Thanks Tom. Very encouraging. I can relate.
As we get more and more accurate teaching like this regarding the New Covenant, Stephen, the more the believers will come into maturity and begin to live and give according to the Nature that they have received. Good word, my brother!
Thanks Bryon, you are an encouragement to me.
Thanks, Steve. You have said what I have believed for the last few years. Giving of ourselves to Holy Spirit led loving relationships is the key. Financial giving is just a part of the package.
While we have continued to “tithe” for over 40 years, it was preserved from being to a “thing” by being attached to some individuals in ministry whose life and work we knew. The connection passed through various churches…even ones with ‘storehouse tithing’ rules where it became giving over the minimum. It is sad that giving can so easily become a law, and I have to remind myself that what I now see as wasted money is still acceptable to God because He saw our hearts.
Hi Tom, yes, nothing is ever wasted, other than opportunity for relationship. That is the regret.
It is so hard for pastors to teach and preach and correct the misunderstanding of Christian giving. I find myself sometimes under pressure to go back to “you must give 10 percent to your local church” as our budget decreases every year, and I am on the verge of no longer being a vocational pastor. The adversay tempts pastors relentlessly. Many of the faithful pastors I know are way underpaid, and struggle to get by. Pray for your pastor that he would preach and teach the Scriptures faithfully on giving and tithing, and not allow personal fear to interfere with faithful teaching on giving. Lasst I checked, God will provide for his people. I have always encouraged people thinking about giving that if you don’t know where to start, start with your local church (assuming they are using money for the kingdom) and give whatever you joyfuly want to give and expand from there. My wife and I started with the traditional tithe when we got married, and has since expanded to orphans in Haiti and India regularly, a missionary not associated with our church regularly, and then gifts to various othe rministries and needs as they arise. I really enjoyed this article to help me keep the focus on what the Bible truly teaches about Christian stewardship and giving.
thanks for posting, Paul.
Thank you for a great article. I have given tithes to the Lord at His direction since my rebirth in 1972. When I asked my pastor about tithing his said, “Follow what the Lord directs you to do, and to whom to give your tithe.” An interesting point the pastor did not put himself in line to receive my offering. In the fellowship that this was a pastor, a plate was never passed around for a Sunday collection. Tithing was done secretly and in relationship with the Father.
Thanks for posting, Douglas.
If you aren’t familiar with this booklet you can download free you should check it out:
This author goes through what the original purpose of the tithe was and it isn’t nearlly as simple or used as a lot of pastors will lead you to believe
Thank-you for the reference.
I moved in this direction following your last visit to Destiny. As I began to expand my understanding to Old and New Covenant, suddenly I was free… but law is always easier than grace. NOW I have to hear what the Lord wants for my giving, and the resources He has entrusted to me. What a tremendous joy to be God’s instrument for ble$$ing others.
Just discovered your website and it’s so refrshing! Thank you for this !
Great to have you here. Hope you find other blogs helpful. Lots if video and print resources are available here: stephencrosby.soarlms.com
Give to the ,the orphans and widows
Thank you for this article. I found out two days ago that the enforcement of a 10% tithe through fear of the Devourer is incorrect. The only verse that is taught at my church is Mal 3 vs 8. I was scared into thinking something bad would happen if I don’t tithe. Right now I have some credit card debt because I thought I had to tithe no matter what and I was beginning to hate God because of this. Please pray for me.