November 14, 2011

Is NOT tithing realistic?

My Twitter friend @PeteThePlanner just dropped a great post on tithing that you should check out here before reading some of my thoughts below.


Tithing can be such a touchy subject, mostly because it deals with our money. Generally, we like our money and work hard to get it. We also don't typically like other people telling us how to spend our money let alone spend it. Tithing is hard and can seem overwhelming, as Pete mentioned but I wonder, as a Christian, is it realistic not to tithe?

Jesus talks about money a lot but he doesn't talk about tithing specifically much at all. He calls the Pharisees out for focusing on the percentage but neglecting the people. Jesus says that's not cool.

One of the fascinating things to me about Jesus is his ability to address issues and make them heart issues, which he does with money. When he says things like, "where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:19-21) and later, "we can't serve two masters," (Matthew 6:24) he's making our pocketbook a matter of the heart. I don't think the focus is as much on a percentage as it is a heart willing to serve, which means some of us may be called to give more than 10% and for others the sacrifice might be less. That's what makes it such an important heart issue.

Giving (tithing) to the Church is a way to establish priorities, grow in faith, and be used by God. It is a practical way to live out our discipleship, which I'm not sure is real without it.

What do you think? Feel free to add your questions or thoughts to the conversation. I look forward to hearing from you.


Gary Arnold said...

You have it right. 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 equal percentage (a tenth). The New Testament teaches the principle of equal sacrifice instead of equal percentage. Equal sacrifice is much harder to achieve, if not impossible, than giving ten percent.

Matt Lipan said...

Gary Arnold: thanks for the read and comment!

thanks for being willing to share your thoughts. i think you make a good point about even 50% not being enough for some. it really is a matter of the heart.