Tithing encourages us to develop skills for managing financial resources but only if we don’t try to mange the tithe.
We often say that everything we have really belongs to God and I agree with that statement but the tithe belongs to God in a way the other 90% does not. The tithe is not mine to manage. The only thing I can do with the tithe is turn it over to God at the very first opportunity.
It is not referred to as a gift and I have not engaged in giving when I give it. God has allowed us the privilege of “handling” the tithe. It is His before we receive it and it is His after we receive it whether we allocate it properly or not. In this regard we are very much like postal delivery workers. They handle the post but have no part in determining what is in the package or to whom it is sent. They deliver it and that only requires them to be trustworthy. There is no sacrifice or decision making involved.
The same thing is true of tithing. God has determined how much belongs to Him. We are only the “delivery person.” The truth is, you can only manage or give from the 90% that is left over.
But, tithing does put pressure on the budget and that is a good thing. It forces us to watch closely the money we have and to carefully manage the use of it. We aren’t to worry about money but we must be aware of how much we have and the commitments we make.
The Bible doesn’t teach us to be mindless about these matters. We are taught to incorporate sound management principles in the way we handle our financial resources and tithing encourages us to do that. In fact, the Bible teaches us to do four things relative to money:
- Make some honestly 2 Thessalonians 3:10
- Spend some constructively Deut. 2:6
- Save some consistently Gen. 41:34
- Give some regularly 1 Corinthians 16:2
That is the general plan that everyone should follow but there are two management extremes we should avoid.
One is the person who maintains no control over their finances. They don’t know what they get, what they spend or what they have left. This person will usually commit to tithing very easily but will not be very dependable in the commitment. They will give until there is too much financial pressure to do otherwise.
God cannot bless this style of management. Whatever He may give to this person to meet a desperate need is just as likely to be wasted as it is to be used wisely. God does not plunge His blessings into chaos.
The inability of this person to manage 90% of their resources prevents them from giving the tithe consistently and regularly and God cannot bless that.
The second management extreme is the person who is so controlling they can never see how tithing could fit into their budget. They lean toward “stingy” and become very frustrated with the way others manage money, especially the money given to a public fund such as church offerings, or to any other worthy cause they deem beyond hope. They have a hard time letting go.
These kinds of people live very carefully by a budget. They know how much is needed, what it is needed for and when it is needed. They know when an area of the budget is under strain. God can, and readily does, provide for these budget needs because this kind of person knows exactly what the provision is for and has the discipline to apply it accordingly. This person will not begin tithing easily but will be very reliable once they learn to do so.
Tithing encourages the sloppy person to develop good skills for managing their financial resources. These skills do not represent “spiritual gifts” which God gives to only some. They reflect qualities of character that should be developed in every Christian’s life. Tithing responsibly enables them to become less sloppy and better able to make and keep their commitments.
Tithing encourages the financially obsessive person to develop a sense of trust in God and compassion toward others. They become less protective of self, more open to the needs of others and better able to “let go and let God.”
Tithing provides something for everybody. Those who don’t tithe miss out on a lot. What do you THINK!AboutIt?
In Tithing, Douglas Leblanc provides much more than a narrow discussion on a traditional issue. It isn’t the same old arguments presented the same boringly technical way.
Instead, and probably because he is “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 endorse tithing for a very similar reason: selflessness.