Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Freed from Tithing, Free to Give - Part 10

In Christ we are fully God's. The blood of Jesus has brought us near to Him (Eph 2:13), and we are in Him (1 Cor 1:30), He is in us (Col 1:27) and He is our life (Col 3:4)! The Apostle Paul said, "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else... 'For in Him we live and move and have our being.'" (Acts 17:24-25, 28). We don't give because God needs us to give or compels us to give. We give because God has freely given us all things and because we are wholly His.

When it comes to giving, I like to consider the life of the Apostle Paul, who is easily nominated as one of the hardest gospel workers of all time. He didn't preach that the people should provide for him! At various times people willingly took up collections for him and even gave sacrificially, but it was never because he preached "the principle of giving." It was simply because they wanted to. In 2 Cor 12:14 he was talking about coming to visit them in Corinth and he said, "I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions, but you. After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children."

Paul's words to the Philippians were of the same spirit. In Philippians 4 he was commending them for how they had provided for him unlike any other church had done. And here's what he said, "Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account." He was happy about the things they had sent him (it's not bad that they gave to him!), but what he was really happy about was that their gift to him was "a sweet-smelling aroma, and acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God." It was selfless, and not given under compulsion but out of love, from their hearts. Paul adds, "And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Why will God do that? In return for their giving to Paul? NO! It's simply because that's who God is! He makes all grace abound toward people, that they, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

It seems that almost all of the teachings I've heard in my life in the church have been based on a "duty" or "obligation" to be a generous giver. But true, generous Christian giving is done from a heart of love. You can't force or oblige love to do something. True love does everything freely. The bottom line for me is that we give by grace, just as we live the whole of our lives in Christ by grace! "Tithing" and "grace-giving" are very different things. In Christ, we are grace-givers. He doesn't want our "tithes." Giving by grace, as with the entirety of our lives being lived by grace, involves trusting in a Father who is full of grace and provision, who is never lacking in anything and who cares tremendously for us and loves us with a never-ending love!

Part 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10


  1. It seems that we spend so much time talking about the grace and freedom given through Christ, except when it comes to giving. Is the "legalistic" urge to tithe simply a fear that many have that if we don't preach this, there won't be enough giving to fill the needs of the church???

    A couple of quotes from Galatians 3 (TMSG)

    Doing things for God is the opposite of entering into what God does for you.


    Rule-keeping does not naturally evolve into living by faith, but only perpetuates itself in more and more rule-keeping.

  2. I like that you mentioned that Paul was hard working - even as a tent maker to earn his keep. He wasn't a free loading cleric type (where is my bros The very Rev J. Slick anyways).

    In fact, I think modern day 'tent makers' are much more free to do His work as opposed to a bunch of administrator types sitting on a church board holding the pastor's paycheck on ransom.

    I have been in and out of this post - was what one has experienced by means of His Spirit been reflected. Meaning - I have had times when His Spirit has told me to do things especially outside the church building - with no receipt and unwitnessed.

    I find I like to support building true kingdom and not OREC. Each to their own flavor I guess...

    I find giving is also walking in obedience with Him. I find it hard to say no to Him who is my life.

  3. Spherical,

    In my experience, although I'm obviously not able to truly get into the actual hearts of people who teach the tithe, it's really appeared to me as if they teach it hard and they teach it often because they need the "needs" of the church's finances to be met.

    Rather than trusting the grace of God in people, and in fact His very life in them, to lead them to will and to do according to HIS good pleasure, it seems to be a matter of, "let's figure out how we can get people to give."

    Those verses from the Message are spot-on. The more they try to keep rules-giving, the more they have to keep on teaching rules.

  4. WC,

    I think Slick is off somewhere trying to snooker people out of their hard earned monay for the sake of his ministray...

    Great words from your head and heart of wisdom. Truly, truly, I'd bet that the most true Christian giving has nothing to do with when the plate is passed around, but in all those other situations that nobody sees or knows about.

    And yes, obedience. So many make that into a legalistic word (and it definitely is most often used legalistically), but in reality when we know that it's in Him that we live and move and have our being, obedience becomes a natural part of that life, and not a "teeth pulling experience."

  5. Good, in-depth series on tithing. What could i add more? Keep up the work and thanks for all the time you put into that.

    -Jared B.

  6. Thanks Jared. Hey I checked out your blog... very interesting. I like the one about the top verses that televangelists won't preach, and I also like The Tithe Test. :) Those twenty questions cover so much more that I also wanted to include in this series. Great stuff.

  7. I'm exploring grace and just read through all your posts on tithing. My question is this; how is this way of giving to God working out for you? Do you see a greater measure of blessings, both material and non-material, as opposed to when you were tithing? And is this the same for everyone else who live according to this non-tithing principle in your vicinity? In other words - aside from what the Bible may say or not say on the issue, how is it working practically? Is there evidence that this is the way to go judging from the fruit?

  8. Hi Titti @ Shoestring Pavilion,

    Your question brings up something very important in all of this, and I think it's very worthwhile to address it honestly and candidly.

    The truth is that this way of giving isn't working out for me. :) I'll explain what I mean by that.

    Giving isn't about me. I don't give for the purpose of benefiting myself. I give for the purpose of benefiting the person or group that I'm giving to. A true giver doesn't think about what he or she can get out of it, but rather is solely concerned about what the recipient gets out of it.

    Even with tithing, it wasn't about giving to get. It wasn't about giving so that God would bless them. Abraham didn't give his one-time tithe in order to be blessed by God. The eleven tribes of Israel that tithed, under the Old Covenant, didn't give tithes in order to be blessed by God. They tithed because they were commanded to tithe. They were commanded to tithe because God hadn't provided a way for the twelfth tribe, the Levites, to work for their own food. He wanted them to focus on the duties that He had given them, and so He told them not to work in the fields or raise animals, and instead the other 11 tribes would provide for them through the tithes.

    That's what the tithes were about. It had nothing to do with giving in order to be blessed by God. By the time we get to Malachi, which was years and years after the tithing laws had been given, the 11 tribes had forsaken their duty to tithe in order to provide for the Levites. God told them to test Him in the tithes. This was so that He could show them that they never had to worry about Him providing for them. They could safely give their tithes, and they would see that He would faithfully open the windows of heaven (He would make it rain). The point, again, was that they never had to worry about Him providing for them. It was never, ever, ever about them giving in order to blessed for their giving, but rather to show them that God faithfully provides abundantly for them, so they need not hold back what He had commanded them to give.

    And now, under the New Covenant way of giving, which again has nothing to do with giving in order to be blessed by God, but has everything to do with giving in order to benefit the recipients, we can be assured that we need not hold back in helping those in need - not so that God will bless us for giving, but so that the recipients will be blessed by what we give and God can show us that He never leaves us nor forsakes us, and always provides us with all we need.

  9. Hi Joel

    Just to say you have done an awesome job on this site......

    I think many 'tithers' will be challenged to examine their motives....and to see the truth of our freedom in Christ.

    Giving comes from a realisation about how much God loves us ...and what He has given to bring us into a relationship with Himself.

    We are transformed by the indwelling spirit ....and become "our Father's children' ....and from then on it is just a matter of letting His love flow through us to others


  10. Amen, Chris, and thank you for the comment! Indeed, our motive to give comes from the love of the Father, and how He has shown us great love and given so much to us. As you say, we simply let that love flow through us to others. No motive but love. :)