In Tithing, Douglas Leblanc provides much more than a narrow discussion on a traditional issue. He doesn’t repeat the same worn out arguments, the same boringly technical way.
Instead, and probably because he admits to being “no theologian or exegetical writer,” Douglas has found an intriguing way to cut to the real heart of the issue. He shares the experiences of eleven different couples and one lone Monsignor, all of whom practice tithing for a very similar reason: selflessness.
Each example demonstrates an intentionally cultivated concern for the needs of others.
And the people he features will surprise you. They come from a broad range of very diverse backgrounds, giving the impression that tithing is not a denominational distinction:
- Conservative Episcopalian
- Liberal Episcopalian
- Bible Church movement
- Church of God
- Adventist (with Jewish upbringing and experience with Armstrong’s Worldwide Church of God and Salvation Army)
Not only does he retain the old wine, he gives it a new skin and shows that the taste for it is thriving in many unexpected places.
What the book lacks in theology it makes up for in philosophical substance. The gems of wisdom are clear and poignant.
- “We were aware that being truly committed Christians was going to be a life-changing thing, and there wasn’t going to be any part of our lives that wasn’t touched by that, so it had to mean something for our pocketbooks.” Gregory Mathewes-Green
- “Look at your check register and you’ll know what you’re worshiping.” Jerry Kramer
- “It just became clear that, as a New Testament follower of Christ, in the most affluent society in human history, there’s no way I could ever justify giving less than 10 percent when God had required that, really, of the poorest Israelite.” Randy Alcorn
- “I think people intrinsically know that when they give, that’s when they’re happy, that’s when they’re joyful.” Ed Bacon
- “But giving a tithe – our tradition is, it’s good for you.” Rabbi Yisroel Miller
The Rabbi also said that in Jewish tradition, “you’re not allowed to give all your tithe in one place.” As a practice, the Jewish people manage their tithes individually, donating only a portion to the synagogue while reserving the rest separately for the needs of others as they arise.
More than one defended tithing against the accusation of “legalism” but the Rabbi said it best. Codifying the law gave it order and arrangement. It sensitized people to something they might otherwise ignore.
On the surface tithing was the common thread but the connection goes deeper. Their giving was driven by an insatiable desire to meet the glaring needs of others, both spiritual and material. And they each one gave more than just a tithe.
All the examples are extraordinary in the area of giving – some a bit extreme – and it wouldn’t be stretching it to say that each is uncommonly endowed with the “gift” of giving so don’t expect to emulate each one exactly. But, we can follow their lead on the issue of tithing. It is the least we can do and as several of Leblanc’s examples stressed, it is the starting point.
Every normal human being intrinsically wishes to contribute and they experience a strong sense of fulfillment when they do. Unfortunately, all the mechanical rules swirling around the idea of tithing has soured the joy. Although many well meaning individuals have contributed to this dilemma, Leblanc has wisely taken a different approach and his effort may very well be a first step toward bringing back the enchantment.
If you want to study Tithing only from a technical point of view don’t buy this book but if you are interested in the heart and soul of the issue you won’t find it better clarified anywhere else. You can get the book inexpensively here.
Once you’ve read the book, tell us what you THINK!AboutIt.
Tithing was provided free of charge by BookSneeze in return for which I have written the preceding book review. No additional remuneration was given and no controls were imposed on my opinions. All the viewpoints expressed are entirely my own.
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