LEARNING TO GIVE SACRIFICIALLY by Pastor Shah
God used Nehemiah to lead the Jewish people to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem. The whole project was nothing short of supernatural! Nonetheless, the people had to give financially to the work. Why? Because God does not violate natural laws and human laws. The mortar still had to be purchased – it did not just fall out of the sky. The stones still had to be ordered – they did not just chisel themselves. The tools still had to be bought – they did not just appear out of thin air. The people had to give money towards the cost and expenses of the project.
This is very important for us to understand at Clearview. Even though God is doing a great work in our church, it doesn’t mean that the concrete, bricks, and lumber will fall out of the sky; it doesn’t mean the trusses will build themselves and the roof will grow on it. It requires our financial support.
Some of us have the wrong idea that someone else is going to pay for this. Praise God for those who are giving faithfully. But God’s order has not changed. Everyone should give according to what He has given to us. Here are a list of common excuses:
– “Tithing is Old Testament” – Remember, Abraham gave a tithe way before Moses ever gave the Ten Commandments. In fact, in the NT, tithing is just the starting point!
– “Just cause I don’t give doesn’t mean I don’t love Jesus or the church” – When John Wesley would visit his congregations he would ask his assistants if their Christianity had affected their pockets. That is the real test of what we believe. I love the bumper sticker: “Honk if you love Jesus.” But I like this one better: “Tithe if you love Jesus. Any fool can honk.”
– “I would if I had some extra”—God instituted tithing to teach us that it all belongs to Him and that we are to give back a portion of what He has given us. It’s like the father who buys French Fries for his son. Then just like fathers do—he reaches over to take one and the little boy slaps his father’s hand. “Don’t touch my French fries!” Now the father knows that he bought the fries. He could take all of them. He could get angry with his son. He could throw them in a trashcan. He could do anything he wanted to with those fries. The problem is that his son is selfish. That is the same way with us when we refuse to give God our tithe. We slap God’s hand and say, “Don’t touch my money!”
– “I give what I can”—You are to tithe on your gross not on your net. When you tithe on your net, you are in essence saying that the government not God gets the “first fruit” of our increase. If you are giving only $5, ask yourself—are you only making $50 per month? If you are giving $50, are you only making $500 a month? Young people—if you are getting paid, you should be giving your tithes and offerings. Single people—if you are working, you should be giving your tithes and offerings. Married Couples – if each of you is working, each of you should tithe. If you are on a fixed income – you should still tithe. If you are on a retirement, you should still tithe. I’ve heard people say – “I’m not a member so I don’t have to give.” Ask yourself—“Has this church changed your life?” “Has the preaching, ministry, and friendships at Clearview helped you and your family, then you should give.”
Growing up both Nicole and I saw our mom and dad giving their tithes and offerings to the Lord. We saw them struggling but still giving faithfully. They set an example for us to follow. The first check that Nicole writes in our home is the tithe check. Does it get tight sometimes? Yes it does. It is a reminder of the pain that the Father felt when He gave His Only Son to die on the cross for our sins. When we give faithfully, God does things with our tithes and offerings that are way beyond our imagination. We get much more than we bargained for.
Corrie Ten Boom said, “I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.”
What you have written about the tithe is not Biblical.
Firstfruits and tithes have nothing to do with each other. Proof:
Nehemiah 10:37 (KJV) And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage.
In Nehemiah 10:37 we learn that the firstfruits were taken to the temple for the priests, and the tithes were taken to the Levites who lived in the Levitical cities. Therefore, we see that firstfruits have nothing to do with the tithe.
Leviticus 27:32 (KJV) And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD.
In Leviticus 27:32 we are told the tithe is the LAST ONE out of every ten, not the first.
The tithe was NOT the best. Proof:
Leviticus 27:33 (KJV) He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he change it at all, then both it and the change thereof shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.
Notice – it is the tenth one whether it be good OR BAD.
The Biblical tithe was never money, and never came from anyone’s income. Proof:
Leviticus 27:30-32 (KJV)
30And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’S: it is holy unto the LORD.
32And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD.
Notice the Lord’s tithe came from HIS increase of crops and animals, not man’s labor or income.
Thank you for stopping by! I appreciate the interaction! My blog was not meant to be an exhaustive treatment of tithing. Nonetheless, there are some solid arguments in favor of tithing, which I may take up another time.
For now, here’s my very brief response:
You quoted Nehemiah 10:37 to argue that the priests received the firstfruits at the temple and the Levites received the tithes at the Levitical cities. I’m surprised that you did not go on to read the very next verse! Nehemiah 10:38 “And the priest, the descendant of Aaron, shall be with the Levites when the Levites receive tithes; and the Levites shall bring up a tenth of the tithes to the house of our God, to the rooms of the storehouse.” Meaning – the Levites and the priests are not as antithetical as you have portrayed them.
I clicked on your name and it took me to your website. You did a lot of work in the field, which is very commendable. The problem I noticed in my brief survey are the many exegetical fallacies – word study, argument from silence, appeal to selective evidence, unwarranted generalization and overspecification, and equivocal argumentation.
I do understand your frustration with those ministries that tend to guilt people into supporting their extravagant lifestyles. This does not mean that the doctrine of tithing is at fault.
“Nehemiah 10:38 “And the priest, the descendant of Aaron, shall be with the Levites when the Levites receive tithes; and the Levites shall bring up a tenth of the tithes to the house of our God, to the rooms of the storehouse.”
This verse proves that it was the tithe of the tithe, or a tenth of the original tithe, that went to the storehouse. NOT the whole tithe from the farmers. In Numbers 18 God gave the whole tithe to the Levites (who were servants to the priests), and then commanded the Levites to give a tenth of that tithe to the priest. That is important to understand when studying Malachi 3 where God says to take all the tithe to the storehouse (the tithe from the Levites, NOT the tithe from the farmers).
The tithe was disannulled according to Hebrews 7:5,12,18. We are under a better covenant.
The New Testament teaches generous, sacrificial giving, from the heart, according to our means. For some, $1 might be a sacrifice, while for others, even giving 50% of their income might not induce a sacrifice. In the Old Testament, ONLY the farmers tithed, and it was a tenth. The New Testament teaches the principle of equal sacrifice instead of a tenth. Equal sacrifice is much harder to achieve, if not impossible, than giving a tenth.
I believe the ONLY way to know if we are giving what God wants us to give is to pray and let the Spirit lead us in our giving. Being Spirit led myself, I find myself giving at least 25% of my income, and many times more than 50% of my income.