After the kingdoms of men are shut down and traded for the Kingdom of God, there will naturally arise one major question due to a deep rooted misbelief in the church. Where do I tithe? But to answer this question, we must once again zoom out and take a large scale view of Christ and His teachings. I want you to forget everything you have ever known for a minute about money, and I want you to approach this with an open mind.
Stewardship. People completely misunderstand and misuse stewardship. Jesus taught a LOT about stewardship, and yet very few in the church are familiar with the concept. They have a limited knowledge where they equate the concept of stewardship to money or tithing, and this is ridiculously far from the truth.
The church has replaced the message of Christ with another message. They preach another gospel on stewardship. The church has embraced a mistress in this area, and the Groom is calling Us back to Him. Intriguingly, the mistress that is embraced is the very thing that finances this authoritarian structure. Perhaps you will start to see that there is a war going on. There is God versus Religion, and Religion is fighting hard to keep you trapped so that you cannot grow in the fullness of God.
I am going to tell you something that is going to upset many of you at first. That is because you may be trapped by a mistress that you have embraced. I want you to keep an open mind as you read this.
Stewardship. What is it? I am going to define it here:
God owns EVERYTHING, and you own nothing. You are only a temporary possessor of things, and you will leave all of the things behind when you die.
Things you can temporarily possess and have control over includes physical objects, money, your life, ministry, your family, etc.
That, and nothing less than that, is stewardship.
God, You Are WRONG
There I was, circa 2003 inside of a church. It is a small church, and they are about to do the offering. I am excited and ready to give. And God says to me
“Eric, quit tithing.”
Here is a paraphrase of the rest of the conversation:
Eric: No God. I need to do this so I can be blessed and obey your word.
God: Eric, trust Me on this.
Eric: I cannot rob you God. You need these dollars.
God: Eric. I do not reach down and grab money from that plate. Can you take those dollars and throw them up to me?
Eric: No, Lord.
God: Then follow Me. Quit tithing.
As a prophet, I know God’s voice, and I know it well. But His instructions did not fit the mold of my belief system. I had to choose whether to limit God to my beliefs, or allow my beliefs to expand to whatever God wanted to teach me. I am so glad I chose the latter. This is a choice you will likely never regret.
The wisest men throughout history are rarely those who are stuck in a belief system. Rather, it is those who are willing to learn anything and compare it with their current belief system, and then see if anything needs to change to conform to the truth.
Trust Me, I’m a Lawyer
There is a story that is told in two Gospels, but many people fail to grasp one small difference that changes the message. Remember some of these stories have to be read side by side from the different gospels to grasp the full picture.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.” Matthew 23:23
This is a story that is told both in Matthew and in Luke.
“But woe to you Pharisees! For you pay tithe of mint and rue and every kind of garden herb, and yet disregard justice and the love of God; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.” Luke 11:42
Did you catch what Matthew has that Luke doesn’t? Here, Jesus is rebuking the Pharisees, who are living by the law of Moses. He is not telling the Pharisees that they should be living under grace. Rather, He is having a discussion about their keeping of the law. Jesus points out that tithing is a matter of the law. It is the law of Moses, the very thing that Christ freed us from.
Many people would almost die defending the doctrine of tithing, because they lack the ability to put their beliefs aside for a bit to see if perhaps there is something greater. But tithing at its very core has a few huge issues.
Law versus Grace
Tithing is clearly different than grace. Grace says “This is a free gift that you did not earn.” But tithing says “Give me 10% of your money to earn God’s blessing.” We receive by faith versus receiving by our works. These are clearly two contrary concepts. We cannot live under the law and flourish under grace. We get one or the other. There are many people who have limited success stories about tithing, except most of them are still in debt! They are trading what Christ teaches for that which Christ never taught. If you could read the gospels for the first time with absolutely no church doctrine knowledge at all, you would have no idea about tithing or what it was. And there is a reason for this.
Imagine being intimate with your wife, and then pulling out your wallet and saying “Ok babe, how much was that?” I imagine that is how God feels every time you say “Jesus wasn’t enough, here’s a few hundred bucks to add to the cross.”
Repetitive tithing of income as the church does is NEVER taught EVER in the Bible. Ever. Not once. And then you are quoted all of two or three scriptures, and you fall for it, hook, line, and sinker. Malachi is the most common scripture quoted for this.
This is a system that the Catholics implemented, and Martin Luther brought it with him during his reformation. But it cannot come into the new Reformation.
How much Jesus Requires You to Give
“So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.” Luke 14:33
You have likely heard a teaching on tithing if you have ever been to a church before. The idea that God requires you to give 10% of your ongoing income back to God. This idea is actually contrary to the teachings of Jesus.
At a basic understanding, Christ requires us to give 100% of everything to Him. Tithing teaches that 10% belongs to God and 90% belongs to us. Tithing teaches materialism. Jesus teaches letting go of materialism. Jesus teaches that we are temporary possessors of His stuff. That we are to let go of the concept of ownership in our hearts. Do you recall in the book of Acts, when the disciples and apostles gave everything to the cause? They had all things in common. They were one giant family.
Tithing is a Legalism
When we try to add to the cross, it is a legalism. It is the same as saying the work of Christ at the cross wasn’t enough. It prevents the supernatural from flowing regularly in this area.
What the church calls tithing is an issue that is deep rooted in many hearts, despite having no support in the Bible for it. These are just some questions to ponder. I do not have the space here to educate everyone on one of the larger subjects in the scripture, but I will put a link to a great resource on this.
Where does the Bible define tithing?
Where does the Bible teach repetitive tithing?
What mandatory givings “tithes” are required? Did you know that there are three of them in the Old Covenant?
What is Malachi talking about? Did you know the storehouse referred to in Malachi is NOT the church? The Bible actually tells us what the storehouse is…
Who all is required to tithe under the law of Moses? Did you know that most of the people in the Bible would have never been required to tithe?
WHAT actual thing was tithed? Did you know that people were penalized for paying money to the priests?
If you want to learn the in depth understanding of stewardship and tithing as the Bible teaches, check out the PAID IN FULL Series by Dr. Roger Sapp. It is an in-depth study of all of the teachings of Christ on this issue.
Is Tithing Really Bad?
I want you to do something for a bit. I want you to pretend that YOU are God the Father. Put yourself in His shoes. Now imagine, here are the humans you created. You sacrificed your Son, Jesus Christ. Your only beloved son. He died to redeem these humans. Your Son gave His life for the humans. Was your Son’s life enough of a sacrifice, or do the humans need to throw you some dollars too?
Can’t you see the Jesus was enough? He was almost too much! Father literally gave His own Son for YOU. He doesn’t want your dollars – He wants YOU. He wants you to have a relationship with Him, and it is not a relationship where you have to pay money for it.
People don’t understand why the concept of tithing is so bad. It is just giving money to a charitable organization. Is that really so evil?
What if the very system that you support is the very system that is at war with the fulness of God? It is. And this is the problem with tithing. If the churches are restructured to be less authoritarian and more family-oriented, we will no longer have to oppress God’s people with a false doctrine. This oppression occurs because our pastor is usually solely responsible for all of the financial liabilities. But when we change from authoritarian to family, now we can all be free spirited to give and receive as the Spirit leads.
Giving (in life in general) IS a concept supported by Jesus. But when we are led by the Spirit, we do as the Spirit guides us to do. We do not track a record of our giving to achieve some standard that was never set by God. We do not even start out with 10% to a church as our beginning point. We start out with the mentality that 100% belongs to God. And then God guides us on what to do with HIS stuff. If we do things with it that He is not telling us to do, is that good or bad stewardship? And God may have us give to individuals, or organizations. It could be money, time, or stuff that He has us give.
The Family Business
As you reform your church, you can start dreaming bigger. With every church having a dream team of fivefold ministers, there should be great success. You can seek God together and come up with business ideas. The church family can start a business (or multiple businesses) together. Everyone can assist with it. You can grow it enough that the income supports all of the church overhead and more. The excess money can be used to bless the family members, pay off their debts and bills. The people that hear God can seek Him for ideas on enhancing the business and making sure it succeeds.