May 6, 2013

Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you! (Malachi 3:8,9)

There are certain laws that cannot be violated. Well, they can, but violators will pay the price. Tithing is a spiritual law that can influence political power, personal freedom and well-being. Yet, we rarely think of this practice in these ways.

Tithing is far more than simply an act of godly obedience. We tend to limit our thinking to this one aspect. I submit that this view of tithing is flawed, restricted, and incorrect. Allow me to make my case.

My next door neighbor is a skydiver with over 3,000 jumps. He has a great respect for the laws that relate to his can-be-dangerous hobby. This is a key reason as to why he hasn’t gotten injured or been killed. Some of his friends have.

He is more aware of the laws of nature and aerodynamics than some of his peers. He won’t jump when others do. He understands that laws can work for you or against you. This is a fact, one we too often ignore.

For example, through my neighbor, I learned of a skydiver photographer who jumped out of a plane adorned in proper outerwear and with his camera helmet snugly in place. He was to film another’s first skydive experience. The problem was, believe this or not, he left the plane without his parachute. He died. His last words were “oh no!” Apparently, he just forgot, but ignorance is no excuse under law. The law of gravity has no mercy.

Once this man left the plane it didn’t matter whether he believed in gravity or not. This last fatal jump confirmed the validity of this law beyond debate. It is a law we all must respect.

Therefore, the law of gravity cannot be ignored. Spiritual laws are no different. They are equally real and can bring devastating consequences to those who violate them. Believers are rewarded for obedience to them and violators suffer if they ignore them.

The Malachi Scripture quoted above is familiar to most churchgoers. In most cases, when a pastor preaches on Malachi, chapter 3, there is usually an appeal for more money that quickly follows the sermon. This Bible chapter is one of the strongest verses in the Bible on the topic of tithing or giving 1/10 of our increase to God.

My purpose here is not to argue whether we still should tithe today. Personally, I think we should. I actually believe it is the minimum amount we should give, but each person should prayerfully make his or her own decision.

Does God need money? Yeah, about like He needs a Starship (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier). Of course He doesn’t.

Tithing isn’t totally about money or obedience. Our view on tithing is an indication of our priorities and where God fits into them. Our checkbooks tell a lot about our spiritual life. But, I digress.

Tithing is a tool and a weapon, a tool and weapon we don’t use very effectively. There are two good books that expound on this very premise. One is titled; Tithing and Dominion by R.J. Rushdoony and the other is Tithing in the Church by Dr. Gary North.

I believe one major reason we are losing our country is because Americans give God about 2% of their incomes and not 10%. He, not me, clearly says we are robbing Him. Malachi, Chapter 3, presents us with two promises that apparently we don’t believe. If we did believe them, we would be climbing over each other to get to the offering plate. I’m waiting to see this.

The first promise is that He, God, will open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing we cannot contain. I’m open to that.

Then, He promises to rebuke the devourer (The Devil). I wouldn’t mind that either. This is the only place in Scripture where God actually urges us to test Him. He wants us to prove Him. I’ve tithed my entire Christian life of about forty-three years. I’ve seen the benefits of believing and acting on these promises. God has been totally faithful.

Now what about the political implications I mentioned at the beginning? Now, this is critical. We know that God asks us to give Him 10% of our increase or incomes. He also indicates in I: Samuel, Chapter 8, that when His people demand a King or more government, other than Himself it will demand much more of us than He does. This passage tells us that a government that takes even 10% from us can enslave us.

Civil government as designed in Scripture should take no more than 10% of our incomes. It should be highly decentralized, small, and very limited in power. Our Constitution basically contains these same ideas, but both God and our Constitution have been totally ignored in 2013 America. And, we now suffer and our children are going to suffer more. Now, stay with me here.

We have to ask: What is wrong with Christian giving? According to a 2008 Barna Research Report, only a mere 5% of Americans tithe Do the math. 95% don’t.

Another figure I read reported that, overall, persons who claimed to be Christians give God an average of about 1.8% of their income. But, they give Uncle Sam 30, 40, even 50%. This ain’t right.

Here is the key to understanding all of this. I offer for your consideration this idea. I am convinced that because we rob God, he shuts up the windows of Heaven, withdraws His blessings, and allows the Devil to ransack us. His judgment is still tempered with mercy, but as we continue in our ways, He will eventually completely turn us over to destructive forces. God doesn’t need a Star Ship and He doesn’t need America. Let’s not forget that.

Here is my point. God designed the Church to operate on 10%. The Church cannot do all that God has called it to do with less. Much of what the churches should be doing government now does.

This is what is so frustrating. We have to pay Uncle Sam $5.00 in order to get a $1.00 of benefit to those who need it. A local church could do it for probably $1.25. Plus, a church that is local to the need can offer help and make those who receive help accountable. Throwing money at something or someone never works. I think we all know this.

On the other side of the balance sheet government should be limited to 10% of our incomes or less. Can I get an “Amen”? Government should be limited to basically protecting its citizens from enemies foreign and domestic plus a few other responsibilities. The rest of societal responsibilities should be left to the people, families, churches, and private organizations.

Government should not be, as it is today, involved in promoting art, offering retirement, welfare, disability, unemployment, and a million other benefits. With these comes loss of freedom, the opposite of what government should do.

To sum up, if Christians would begin to tithe as a minimum commitment of giving into the Kingdom of God, things would change for the better in our earthly kingdom. Our freedoms would increase and the government’s power would decrease. This is guaranteed.

I must end with a caveat. Should we become tithers again the desired effect would be accomplished only if churches used the increase in funds as God directs. This may not be to build more family life centers, gymnasiums, swimming pools, and bigger buildings. This is not what the church is supposed to be about.

Some years ago, I preached at a church in Wichita, Kansas on this topic. I learned afterward that the income to the church doubled. However, because there was no follow up teaching on biblical stewardship, the church went into more debt. They missed the point. We must all be good stewards of what God gives us. This includes our country.

So, if you want to change our nation back to a godly culture begin to tithe. Then get ready to receive all those blessings that God promises to pour out on you.

The purpose of tithing is to secure not the tithe but the tither, not the gift but the giver, not the possession but the possessor, not your money but you for God.

We believe that the Constitution of the United States speaks for itself. There is no need to rewrite, change or reinterpret it to suit the fancies of special interest groups or protected classes.