This isn’t the first time it’s happened, and I don’t think it’ll be the last either.
We just barely got our paychecks a few days ago, and I went ahead and gave our tithing online via our church’s website based on my wife’s and my gross income like I always do every paycheck. Then, a few days later, as my wife worked on paying the online bills, she noticed that…after paying for our debts and financial obligations…the amount that was left in our checking account would be just enough to cover our tithing, which wasn’t auto-extracted yet by the church. In other words, our account balance, after Tithing and Bills, would be close to $0. And we still have over a week and a half before we’d be paid again! We have to dip into our savings, again, in order to survive until pay day!
What’s up with that?! Our expenses are mostly necessities. We have monthly tuitions for the kids for their school and lessons that do take a good chunk out of us, plus new home expenses. Other than that, no splurging, no extravagance. We just don’t have enough to cover us unless we dip into Savings.
Two weeks sure sounded far away. Meanwhile, the questions…and rationalizations…came popping up:
- Do we pay on the Net or Gross? Can’t we just pay on the Net? We don’t get our full money anyway because of Taxes.
- We have so many bills to pay, how can we give our tithing as well? Do we give it to the Lord at all? We sure could use the money. We need it to cover just day to day expenses.
- Can we skip this time around?
Those are the Temptations of Tithing creeping up.
Taxes vs. Tithing
The government takes its tax percentages from our Gross, not Net….and it takes our Money immediately, before we even get a chance to give anything to the Lord. If the Gov’t doesn’t get our taxes, or if somehow we don’t give our “fair share” to the government, then we can be cited for Tax Evasion with serious, and obvious, consequences.
Taxes are taken from us…and we have to comply…or else!
Tithing, on the other hand, is something we willingly Give…to show that we love the Lord enough to give even just a portion of ourselves to trust Him. The Lord can make do without our Tithing…but it’s not really our Money that he’s after. He’s after our Heart. Our willingness to obey Him shows we’re willing to Let Go of relying on our own strength alone and rely on Him and our partnership with Him. Thus, Tithing tests our Faith in Him, and our willingness to Follow him… despite what seems obvious before our very eyes. Can we give to the Lord something tangible…as a form of evidence… to show our Love, Faith, Obedience, Willingness, Commitment, Loyalty to Him….all of which are intangible?
Also, do we give to the Lord from the NET of ourselves (what’s left over AFTER we’ve expended ourseves everywhere else)? Or do we give a portion of ourselves to the Lord FIRST, from the GROSS (100%) of ourselves, before we give ourselves to anyone or anything else? Does this not also indicate who we place first in our lives (The Lord, or the World)? Isn’t that what “Worship” really means? Who/what we place first… ABOVE all else? Thus, HOW we GIVE our Tithing indicates who/what we place above all else?
The Covenant: A Partnership…with Benefits
Now, for the Lord’s claim:
10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.
Here’s how I read that:
If we’ll bring to him our Tithes…we can test(prove) the Lord to see if:
- he’ll open the windows of Heaven and pour out a blessing(provide divine assistance.
- there won’t be room enough to receive it (such that your needs are covered, and then some).
- he’ll make sure that the fruits of our hard work won’t be destroyed, but…rather…prolonged, extended (“devourer rebuked”, not destroy the fruits of your ground).
- he’ll make sure that our hard work will produce the natural results in their proper time (vine casting fruit at right time).
This promise has worked for me many times, in many ways. Sometimes, I recognize it immediately. Sometimes, I finally recognize it after it’s happened many years later.
When we partner with the Lord, a few things need to happen:
- We need to Trust Him…which means, we may need to let go of a few things…in order to work better with Him.
- We are still expected to work and do our part on our time…while we wait and allow Him to do His part…in His time. Working side-by-side with the Lord, in carrying a load, needs us to walk…and work…simultaneously, in concert…with Him.
The Willing 100%
We don’t HAVE TO obey. We don’t HAVE TO give this Tithing. But…if we’d like to have the Benefits the Lord claims to want to give us, why not trust Him and offer him this small part of ourselves…our income… and test His claims. Tithing is not something that we “give up“. Rather, it is something that we “give“. It isn’t a Tax that’s taken from us. It is a 10% gift we give with 100% of our heart’s willingness. It is a token…a symbolic gesture… a very physical, tangible, yet symbolic gesture…of our Faith in someone, about circumstances, we have no control over. It’s our way to show the Lord, “I trust You. I don’t know how I’ll make it, but here’s a part of me that I will give to You… willingly… even though I can see that I’m gonna be out of money real soon after I give this Tithing.” Trust is a hard thing. It’s supposed to be…at first. It gets easier once we realize just how the Lord works when we work with Him, the more often we do it.
So, if ever you face that test of Tithing, which will happen…just remember:
Tithing is not a Burden to carry. Rather, it is a *Vehicle* we enter, in partnership with the Lord, in order to carry the Burdens of Life. Tithing, giving 10% of what we earn, is only a small part of the Principle of Consecration, which is giving 100% of ourselves to the Lord. In other words, Tithing is a Vehicle of Faith…. not a burden of Compliance… on the Disciple’s road to Consecration… where we willingly give 100% of our Heart, Might, Mind, Strength to the Lord.