If you are a Christian, has the topic of paying tithes ever come up in a conversation and things get awkward….or heated even?
With the permission of a dear friend, today I am inviting you into a girlfriends’ conversation on the topic of paying tithes. Although, this is not the typical Ask L.C. segment, I think our conversation may be enlightening and hopefully helpful to Christians grappling with the idea of tithing.
Should I do it…should I not? Can I afford to do it? UGH….
About a month ago, Cynthia and I were talking as girlfriends do and the conversation turned to the topic of tithing. She confided that although she considers herself a devote Christian, she just isn’t sure about the importance of tithing.
That statement surprised me a bit.
I’ve known Cynthia close to 20 years. We’ve prayed for each other, done devotionals together, talked about our faith, and prayed over challenges we were facing, yet she never shared her doubts about tithing.
She went on to share that during a period in her life where she was financially struggling she tithed. She tithed because she was always told she should. At that time, her financial situation only got worse so she decided to stop tithing.
The decision didn’t sit well with her, but she said she was comforted by a sermon given by a preacher who said that tithing was optional.
She then asked me my thoughts…
The biblical tithe of giving a tenth of one’s annual earnings is an Old Testament concept.
The New Testament does not mention the biblical tithe of ten percent. In fact, the New Testament verse that is quoted quite often when discussing tithing or giving is 2 Corinthians 9:7, which reads…
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Which to me, means that the decision to give is completely a heart thing!
As a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, I believe that God expects us to tithe or give an offering. I’ve chosen to give the biblical tithe of a tenth of my annual earnings to glorify the Kingdom of God.
For me that means giving a tenth of my annual salary to my local church. A bible based church that uses the tithes to serve the community both locally and internationally to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I believe that EVERYTHING I have is a blessing from God. Therefore, there is no reason why I would not give him at least a tenth of the salary He’s given me.
Tithing for me is another form of worship.
Cynthia confessed that she felt compelled to tithe. She did not want to write that check every month. She felt that she had to write that check, and if she didn’t tithe there would be some consequence; maybe, God would withhold blessings from her or something.
I can’t speak to the correlation between not tithing (or giving an offering) and having one’s blessings withheld. However, I can attest that even when times were financially difficult for me and I gave the biblical tithe, I have received blessings in many different forms.
Is it a direct correlation….I don’t know. A blessing is a blessing….and I am thankful for each and every one!
But my perspective is solely based on my relationship with Jesus Christ.
I’ve committed to giving the biblical tithe…is it required…may-be-not!
But, I believe it is what God expects of ME. (I can only speak for myself!)
In my years of being a believer, I know many Christians who have chosen not to tithe, some who only give what their budget said they could afford and some who were working up to the biblical tithe of 10%, by starting off at a lower percentage.
My church has challenged parishioners to test God similar to Malachi 3:10, and if after 6 months of giving the biblical tithe, if their financial situation has not improved, such that they can tithe with ease and with little impact to their overall finances, then the church would give back 100% of the tithes contributed (no questions asked).
(I’m told that only one family has asked for their money back.)
I encouraged Cynthia to seek guidance from God on this issue. Like I said, I believe it’s a heart thing and she must be in right standing (righteous) with God. Since she does not have peace about the issue, she’s obviously not in right standing with God.
I also suggested that she test God and see what happens!
I should be getting an update from Cynthia in about a month! 😉
If you find yourself in a similar situation as my friend Cynthia, I urge you to take these 3 steps:
But pray to God like He’s your father (because He is!)…and you are coming to Him with a humble heart truly seeking His guidance on this topic. Ask Him to show you clearly what you should do.
2. Heart Check
As you continue to pray about this topic, evaluate your intentions. Be honest and truthful with yourself. Are you contemplating this because you want to get “something” in return….maybe blessings? God knows all! If your intentions are personal gain and you aren’t operating from a pure heart, seeking simply to please God, then I would suggest you rethink your plan.
3. Test God
Those words always sound sacrilegious to me, but it’s in the bible so it must be ok. Step out on faith and test God. Try it for 3 months and see if your financial situation changes.
Either way, there’s no judgment here. This Christian faith is a personal walk between you and Jesus. Your walk is different from mine. I only hope that my experience may minister to you in a way to give you hope!
I would love to hear how things turn out…