Statistics show that there is a problem in the Body of Christ concerning the tithe.
Evangelical Christians - 24% of the people tithe.
Conservative Christians - 12% of the people tithe.
National Association of Evangelical leadership - 58% do not believe the Bible requires Christians to tithe.
However, among some other religious groups, tithing is very high.
Mormons - 90% of the people tithe.
I am called and anointed to minister on Biblical Finances. I have traveled to forty-one countries and have been in full time ministry over thirty years. I have found that no matter where I am in the world, no matter what the culture, the questions about tithing are the same. It’s probably been fifteen years since I have heard a new and different question about tithing.
There is no New Testament commandment to tithe.
This is where all the problems begin. The answer to this statement is yes and no. It is true there is no direct commandment to tithe in the same way we see it in the Old Testament. However, Jesus endorsed tithing, Paul directly referred to tithing, the writer of Hebrews directly refers to tithing, and, the book of Revelation indicates that there may be tithing in the New Heaven and the New Earth. (Matthew 23:23, 1 Corinthians 9:13-14, Hebrews 7:8, Revelation 21:24)
Why should a Christian tithe? Why do Christians not tithe?
The Old Testament clearly indicates a blessing for tithing. That blessing is not simply prosperity or wealth, as it is often taught. In reality, to prosper financially people don’t really need God. I know that is a radical statement but hear me out. Bill Gates and Donald Trump are extremely wealthy and neither profess or serve Jesus. I’m pretty sure that Steve Jobs died an unbeliever, but he was extremely wealthy.
The blessings of tithing go beyond the financial realm but will affect the financial realm. The blessing in tithing is a restored ability to walk in dominion and a covenant relationship with God who will rebuke the devourer. While there is a natural authority concerning money, spiritual dominion transcends money. Take a look at Moses before Pharaoh. Pharaoh had the glitz, the money and the political power, but Moses had the power of God, and that scared Pharaoh silly. When Moses led Israel out of Egypt they went out wealthy.
(Exodus 3:21 KJV) “And I will give this people favour in the sight of the Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, that, when ye go, ye shall not go empty:”
(Exodus 3:22 KJV) “But every woman shall borrow of her neighbour, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and ye shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and ye shall spoil the Egyptians.”
Now that’s dominion!
So, we see that there is a bigger reason we should tithe and it goes beyond money. But, I want to focus on a deeper reason to tithe as Christians.
The statistics above are alarming to say the least. Those numbers are an indicator of a much deeper problem than that of money. Those numbers are a barometer of the level of love for God among His people. Clearly, many people are using God to go to heaven but have no intention of living for Him.
Love fulfills the Law - the reason we tithe.
(Romans 5:5 ESV) “and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
(Romans 13:8–10 ESV) “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
I don’t murder because murder is not in me. If there were no civil law against murder, I would still not murder because love is in me. I don’t need a law to prevent me from murdering. We know that the Law of Moses commanded to not murder and there was a penalty if you did. I don’t keep that commandment because it is a law to me - I keep it because eternal life and the love of God are in me.
(1 John 3:15 ESV) “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”
A murderer does not have God in him. The reason we have civil laws is to protect the innocent from all the ungodly people living on the planet. A Christian should never need a civil law to stop them from murdering, or any other unrighteous thing. However, statistics indicate that at least the 76% of Christians that do not tithe are living carnal, unspiritual lives with no awareness of love for God because they willingly steal what belongs to God and consume it upon themselves and their pleasures.
If I obey the commandment to not murder because of the love for God in my heart, then I should also obey the commandment to tithe because of the love for God in my heart. The commandment to not murder and the commandment to tithe are in the same Law. Why do some Christians not murder but fail to tithe? Paul reveals this answer.
(1 Timothy 6:10 ESV) “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”
That is plain and simple. Carnal Christians love money, and themselves, more than they love God. Consequently, this craving causes them to wander away from the faith.
Now, here’s the problem with this. Eighty percent of the people in the US claim Christianity. Statistics indicate that at least 76% percent (and it’s likely much higher) of those Christians do not tithe. If God was killing those who don’t tithe, the US would almost be a ghost town. That’s a problem because there doesn’t seem to be a penalty for not tithing and Christians think they are getting away with it. While God is not striking non-tithers dead, there is another spiritual law at work that will catch up with them - the law of sowing and reaping. There is also a curse on the earth that can overtake you without God in your life and your obedience to Him.
As a traveling minister and a pastor, the biggest problem I see among churches is that the people do not tithe. The work of God is under funded and usually delayed because of the lack of love of God’s people - for God. They go do whatever they want, spend God’s tithe on themselves, and then come back into church when they are ready to and act like nothing happened. No wonder most worship is entertainment.
Paul made a very revealing statement.
(2 Corinthians 8:7–8 AMP) “Now as you abound and excel and are at the front in everything—in faith, in expressing yourselves, in knowledge, in all zeal, and in your love for us—[see to it that you come to the front now and] abound and excel in this gracious work [of almsgiving] also. I give this not as an order [to dictate to you], but to prove, by [pointing out] the zeal of others, the sincerity of your [own] love also.”
Yes, I know that this is talking about giving rather than tithing. Realize that you cannot give until you have tithed because the tithe is the first ten percent. Both tithing and giving are issues of love.
Paul said he wanted to “prove” (to test or to approve) the sincerity of their love. Paul knew that tithing and giving are issues of love (Romans 13:8-10). Love tithes and love gives. No tithe - no love. No give - no love. It’s simple.
I have seen men spend tens of thousands of dollars on gifts for women that they are pursuing. I have also seen men spend tens of thousands on toys and things to entertain themselves. Rarely do they spend at least as much on God, the house of God, or to provide for the ministers of God. Their love interests are clearly seen. Their spending or giving proves what they love most. Paul had something to say about this as well.
(Galatians 6:6–8 ESV) “Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”
We all have to spend money on our needs to live. God also wants us to prosper and enjoy a blessed life. Sowing to our own flesh is speaking about an exaggerated and misplaced priority.
Sharing with the one who teaches refers to the tithe and offering. Specifically, this case is speaking about the offering. There is no faith indicated here. The wording in the Greek language is in the “emphatic” tense - meaning this will happen no matter what. Realize that no one believes for corruption, it just happens, and usually against the person’s will.
A person that does not spend on his own carnal fleshly desires, but neither sows to the one who teaches, is still sowing to the flesh by failing to honor God and the one He sent to teach them. While this person may not be excessive in ways, they still lack love.
Jesus said something amazing about love.
(John 14:15 ESV) “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
It is hard for me to realize that Christians would not love Jesus. This scripture also reveals that Jesus knew that not all Christians would love Him - that’s why He said, “If.” You would think that love for Jesus would be instinctive, yet, for some, it apparently is not. Thus, the need for the Bible to command us to love one another.
I have been married for almost forty years now. I wish I knew how to love my wife the way I do now back when I was younger. But, that isn’t possible because much of what I have come to know has come with experience. Once I got the revelation that women don’t think like men, I was able to grow and learn some things, but it took time. God doesn’t think like we do and the Bible tells us that our thinking needs to be transformed (Romans 12:2) so that we can know the will of God. Many people need to be taught how to love, and in that, they grow in love.
Recognizing the need for a Savior in Jesus and loving Jesus are different things. Knowing you need to be saved doesn’t automatically mean you have a burning love for Jesus. Growth in our understanding of what Jesus has done produces in us a greater appreciation and therefore greater love for Him.
John 14:15 above also shows us that love for Jesus is not a feeling - it’s largely obedience. Most Christians are looking for a feeling to motivate them. They are just like little children doing what they feel like doing and then cry when they are told “no.” We teach our children what is right and wrong, appropriate and inappropriate, and how to be “nice” to people. What we are doing is teaching them how to love.
The people of God need to be taught how to love and honor God - and that includes tithes and offerings. We are to tithe and offer because we love God and not because we have been commanded. Tithing under the Old Testament was commanded, and if disobeyed, there was a consequence. There was a strong motivation to avoid the consequence, but this arrangement didn’t necessarily prove any love for God.
When we tithe and offer by choice, and because we love God, we fulfill the law. God’s entire objective was to bring us to where the law is written on the table of our heart so that we would live it out of love.
(Hebrews 8:10 ESV) “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people”
The “my laws” includes the law of the tithe.
There is not usually a money problem in the local church. There is often a love problem. There is money in every church relative to their economy. When the people love God, the money comes.