|Thoughts on Tithng and "Tithing UP!"||| Print ||
|Written by drk|
|Monday, 02 November 2009 01:21|
More Thoughts on Tithing and "Tithing UP!"
Dr. Kluane Spake
I heard this story about how George drove through a small country town. George was a top sharpshooter for the FBI. Everywhere he drove, he saw bull's eyes with bullet holes right in the center. As a championship marksman, this shooting was amazing to George. Every billboard, tree, wall, and fence was filled with centered bullet shots that hit the bull's eyes.
George asked to meet this amazing marksman. Surprisingly, the shooter turned out to be the "village simpleton."
"Your shooting is amazing - it's the best I have ever seen." said George. "How did you do that?"
"It weren't nothing," the simple man answered. "First, I shoot and then afterward, I draw the circles!"
Isn't that a lot like us? We build our Biblical doctrines first -- and then we look for isolated Scriptures that will support our views.
In the past, I have written many articles about tithing. Much has been misunderstood and misused. We must learn to accurately hit the bull's eye FIRST. FIRST we find accurate Biblical principles about subjects like tithing and "tithing up" and then develop our corresponding responsible responses.
The small country town seemed to support the myth that the simple minded fool perpetrated. They allowed the tourists who passed by to believe in the appearance of great marksmanship. Most of those who drove by vastly misunderstood. Most Christians have heard the stories about tithing and "tithing up" and they know the folklore and tradition that has been perpetrated. Now, they ignore the whole topic -- let's not talk about it anymore.
Be assured that the bull's eye of TRUTH is not about giving to promote a pyramid scheme or hierarchical domination. It's not about giving money to the manipulating charlatan trying to trick you.
THE ISSUE of TITHING:
It should not embarrass us or anger us to talk about proper giving. Jesus talked more about giving and stewardship than any other topic. As a matter of fact, Jesus talked more about giving money to God than He did about the Kingdom of Heaven
How much money does Jesus want from you and me? Let me share two options with you.
Option ONE: You can tithe. You can say, "If I give $11.42 as 10% and then I'm through with my giving because that is what I have to give and my obligation is satisfied. This giving is often thought to be mandatory, under the hard task-master of the Law and is often given without much joy.
1. While tithing is not emphasized (or taught) in the New Testament, it was assumed. The early church were Jewish believers who practiced Jewish customs (Acts 2:5, 21;20).
2. Tithing is not totally legalistic. It predates the Law and was the practice of Judiasm before and after Jesus. Tithing was a vow of Abraham and Jacob before the Law (Gen. 4:4; 14:20; 28:2022).
3. The tithe was a measuring stick or a starting point. Remember that is "Is the Lord's" and it was called "holy" (Lev 27:30).
4. We know that tithing an essential "part" of the Old Covenant Law, it provided the way for the priesthood to function. Clearly, the ordinance of tithing funded the Levitical priesthood. And... The Levitical priests did "tithe up" to the high priest.
However, we don't see Jesus extending the Levitical priesthood in the New Testament Church. He never appointed one single priest (we are all priests because of Him). The New Testament Church is not intended to be a Levitical system in any way. Therefore, the Levirate structure is not the intended way to run or to finance New Testament Church.
Option TWO: Ask the Holy Spirit what you should give.
There's a problem with step two. Oddly enough, people who choose this option of being "free from the Law" and personally "led" to give, often tight-fistedly stop giving! They say they are "not under the Law" and use this as an excuse to why they don't/won't support the church or ministers. Those who choose this option to take their money and give it away as they see fit, often leave much damage and sorrow to the Kingdom.
If you really do hear from the Holy Spirit and ask what to give, that number will generally be far more than 10%. It will support ministries and ministers. What being free from the Law should mean is that the TITHE IS THE LEAST WE CAN DO. Yes... it means you and I should now give MORE than the tithe.
I believe that we do great disservice when limiting our giving to a "tithe." Do I believe in tithing? Yes. It is the start of giving for when we are first Christians. The Law was the School Master to teach us what is right.
But, New Testament giving should not be out of "legalism" or "obligation." Nor should our giving be because of reward, or given out of fear of Divine retribution. Tithing should not be to "open the windows of heaven." Those windows are now open and never shut.
Limited mindsets can actually stunt our spiritual growth. The Law was satisfied in Christ and we don't need a School Master (tutor) when we are grown up. Together, we financially help build the Kingdom.
The focus of this article is giving to spiritual leaders and ministers. Of course we agree that ... there has been horrific misuse about money these days. And we have seen how these unethical manipulations have driven people away from Christianity.
Today we continue to hear those who promise that if you give to God [meaning "to them"], God will give you a what you want - it's the over-the-top opportunistic marketing mentality. I heard one guy say, "If you don't give to me, your prayers cannot be answered." Or how about, "Give to me and... expect your brand new car, your swimming pool, and your new gorgeous wife."
They say: tithe to me and become my son, be protected, and get a blessing. Many leaders claim that their "Spiritual covering" or "Apostolic oversight" demands a payment. They quote practices from the Levitical system (Numb. 18:21-30). It is true, tithing did support the Levites (Num. 18:24, 1 Tim. 5:17). But, as we saw earlier, that this system is no longer in force.
The 1th century Johann Tetzel came up with the idea of priests issuing "indulgences" to those who gave. This money was thought to cancel all divine punishment. Manipulation for money is nothing new and indulgences was one of the big reasons for the Protestant Reformation.
Since our focus here is about giving to your spiritual leader, we'll use the term "tithing up" because that is the most familiar phrase used today. Truth is:
1. We can't "tithe up" in order to get or maintain true relationship - or to become a "son." Godly associations are formed regardless of financial transactions. Money doesn't MAKE the parent/son relationship.
2. "Tithing up" doesn't "give us a blessing." We are already fully blessed because of the cross.
3. "Tithing up" does not protect us or is it the way we satisfy our spiritual parental obligation.
Ø Philippians 4:16-18 says that apostles were supported by freewill offerings and also by those to whom they ministered (Gal. 6:6).
Ø Ministers' needs were met by those they preached to (1 Cor 9:4-15) and they lived by means of preaching the Gospel.
Ø Apostles did not charge anyone for ministry (Tit. 1:11, 2 Pet. 2:1-3, 15, Jude 1:11).
Ø Paul sometimes worked to provide for himself (Acts 20:33-35, 1 Cor. 9:12).
Ø Money was thrown at the apostle's feet for distribution to needs (Act. 4:35).
No more criticizing those current Johann Tetzels type preachers—there is a strong new message of truth, love, honor, and generosity that will trump all man-made and phony frauds.
No matter what your experience has been or what your theology is, the PRINCIPLE remains -- we are supposed to support ministers. Your giving of your money reflects who you are, your relationship with God, and those who have loved and cared for you.
What we're really talking about here is not only liberal giving, but also GIVNG TO THOSE WHO MENTOR and HELP US. We must find the truth about spiritual sonship.
1. There are real genuine leaders who care for you. They mentor, counsel, and train you out of passionate desire to serve God through you.
Everyone needs accountability relationships. You need to find those you trust. You do need mentors and those who truly care. If you have someone, do you appreciate their value? Is the time they spend worth something to you? Does their work in your behalf matter?
Who knows if Jesus would use the WORD "tithe" to teach how to give to ministry leaders today. He does teach giving principles of thanksgiving and generosity!
2. Many of those who oppose "tithing up" say that spiritual parents should support their children. They insist that you shouldn't have to financially care for your parents, because parents are supposed to care for YOU. Well that's true when you are an infant! How about when you are a grown up? I don't know about you, but I financially and emotionally cared for and provided for my parents most all of my adult life.
Ø Obviously, if you quit giving and supporting ministry, then you are not grown up and still need the Law as a School Master!
Jesus commanded that we honor our fathers and mothers (Matt. 15:3-7). Paul added, "Honor your father and mother," which is the first commandment with promise: "that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth" (Eph. 6:1-3). The word "honor" means to place a value on something, to give money, to consider it a prized possession. In the original Hebrew, as found in Exodus 20:12, the word "honor" has very interesting roots. It comes from a Hebrew word which means "to be heavy" as in heavy with wealth. Notice this description of Samuel (I Sam. 9:6), "And he said to him, "Look now, there is ... a man of God, and he is an honorable man; all that he says surely comes to pass."
3.Honor them and who they are in the Lord to you (Heb. 13:7 and 17).
I remember flying to the states and visiting an old famous prophet who had come to Guam. He lived in a one room shabby motel. Every day he put on his dress suit and tie and waited in that hot little motel. He sat at the old chrome table with his Bible in his hand. Every day he sat there all dressed up -- just waiting for the phone to ring. Just one more place to preach. Just one more life to change. Just a small way to pay his rent.
We have neglected many older ministers who have helped this generation succeed have never been given honor or thanks. Many live in great poverty and loneliness - without comfort or thanks. We forgot how they have poured out their lives for the Church and for us (1 Tim. 5:8).
Who helps you? Can you let them know what they mean to you? Can you tell them how much you care? NOW, before it is too late? Can you be thankful for how they have encouraged and contributed to your success? Have you noticed how they are always there (Prov. 23:22)? Love should be expressed beyond just a obligatory meager “monthly seed.”
4. Give according to the Melchizedek Principle.
We see the establishment of priority with Abraham tithing to Melchizedek. The "lesser" gives to the greater. The priest king Melchizedek certainly didn't NEED money. Jesus, our Melchizedek, gives us this priesthood and the way to give "UP" (Heb. 7:2-7, 11-12). This giving continues...
5. Give according to the Stewardship Command.
"Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down... for with the same measure that ye mete withal, it shall be measured to you again" (Luke 6:38). Clearly, giving positions your ability to receive. Consider their needs, and be generous (Phil 2:25, Jam. 2:16).
|Last Updated on Sunday, 12 February 2012 11:24|