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The Heart of a Tither

God doesn’t need your money, but He wants your heart.

We believe that God has a master plan for your financial success, and that tithing is part of that plan. God says that the tithe belongs to Him, that it supports the work of the ministry, and that He will bless those who are faithful to tithe. But here’s the secret to it all: God wants to tithe because tithing unites your heart to His.

Our last post in this series answered objections to the tithe that have been raised by some readers. That article dealt with a lot of biblical teachings about tithing, examining Old Testament and New Testament passages in detail. There’s a debate still raging in the comments section that gets even further into the minutiae of Old Testament law. But we feel that it’s important to follow up that sort of discussion with a look inside ourselves. Because the letter of the law is not nearly as important as the change that obedience produces in our hearts.

We believe that above all else, the chief thing that God wants from the tithe is the heart of the tither. After all, He doesn’t really need our money — He already owns everything, according to Psalm 24:1:

The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it.

So although God uses the money that we give in our tithes, He doesn’t exactly need it. God is sovereign and infinite, and commands all of the world’s resources. Why, then, does He want us to give and tithe?

Because our gifts and tithes come with our hearts attached. Luke 12:34 states it pretty plainly:

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The important thing about our money is that it is linked to our hearts. God doesn’t need our money, but He desperately desires our hearts. And giving a portion of our money to God is a guaranteed way to give him access to our hearts.

Where our treasure is, there our hearts will be also. When we give to God, we’re uniting our hearts with His heart. Our finances go to support and expand His work on the earth. We become tangibly invested in His kingdom. We are no longer people who show up at church on Sunday and sit in a pew hoping to be entertained. Rather, we are active participants in the Kingdom of God. We invest our hearts into His work when we also invest our money.

Critics of the tithe like to argue that the law of the Old Testament isn’t binding to the New Testament church. In a sense, they’re right — because of the work of Jesus on the cross, the law has lost its power to condemn us. But even though the curse of the law has been dismantled, the principles, promises and wisdom behind the Old Testament tithes remain. Among those are the principle that God owns everything to begin with, and the promise that He blesses those who faithfully tithe to them. And Deut. 14:23 also tells us that tithing helps us “learn to revere the Lord” — joining our hearts more closely with His.

The more we grow in our relationships with God — the more our hearts become intertwined with His — the more this reality will show up in our financial lives. Tithing isn’t the finish line in Christian financial management; rather, it’s the starting line. God wants us not only to tithe, but also to give generously, both to His ministries and to the people around us who are in need. He gives us tithing as a baseline. We may first begin tithing as a matter of obedience. But as we go along obeying, God changes us, working generosity into our hearts. Faithful tithing builds up the giving muscle, so that as we grow, we turn into people who have generous hearts. Tithing teaches us to be united in heart with the Kingdom of God, and it grows us into greater givers.

In the end, people that really don’t want to tithe will come up with plenty of reasons why they don’t have to. And they’re right — they don’t have to tithe. But they miss out on a lot of blessings. They miss out on the abundant blessing that God promises to tithers in Malachi 3:10. They miss out on the greater blessing that come from being a greater giver, because it’s more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).  They also miss the blessing of having their hearts knit together with God’s through obedience and the giving of their finances — and that might be the greatest loss of all.

So we’ll wrap up the whole discussion with this thought: We tithe because we love God, because we want to obey Him, because we want to support His work, because we want to share in His promises, and because we want to unite our hearts with His.

If you take issue with our theology, that’s okay. As for us, though, we’d rather steer too close to the law in our generosity than to steer too far from grace in our stinginess. How about you?

Photo via Flickr, by user Q Thomas Bower. Used under Creative Commons License.

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Comments

  1. tithing in the old testament was never about money.

    grace causes us to give..

    indeed grace has cause you to give… you just call it tithe. but grace does give beyond tithing..

    grace and peace

  2. bnjewell,

    I would encourage you to read and consider this article that I have written and hopefully you will begin to understand the things I have been trying to convey concerning giving in the church: http://spiritofdiscernment.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/giving-to-god-in-the-new-testament-age/

  3. Amos 3:3 asks the question, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”.

    An interesting question indeed. A question today could be asked why so many who claim to be walking with God disagree with His Word? Are they truly walking with God?

    God said in Leviticus 27:30-33 that His holy tithe is agricultural. Are you in agreement with God? Are you walking with Him? or are you following a god who says the commanded tithe is money?

    God said in Numbers 18:21,24,26,28 that He gave His tithe to the Levitic tribe of the children of Israel. Are you in agreement with God? Are you walking with Him? or are you following a god who says you are to tithe to people who are not of the Levitic tribe?

    God said in Deuteronomy 6:1-3 & Deuteronomy 12:10-11 that one was not to start tithing until one crossed Jordan and entered Canaan. Are you in agreement with God? Are you walking with Him? or are you following a god that requires tithing on Gentile soil?

    God said in Deuteronomy 14:22-27 that a second tithe was to be taken to a Jewish Feast and eaten by the tither before the LORD God. Are you in agreement with God? Are you walking with Him? or are you following a god that says we must tithe to our Church and nowhere else?

    God said in Deuteronomy 14:28-29 that a third tithe was to be given every three years to feed the widows, the orphans, the Levites and foreigners in Israel. Are you in agreement with God? Are you walking with Him? or are you following a god that says the tithe must go to your Church?

    God said in Nehemiah 10:37-38 that the firstfruits were to be taken to the Temple storehouse in Jerusalem, and the tithes were to be taken to the Levites. Are you in agreement with God? Are you walking with Him? or are you following a god that says tithes are to go to pastors on Gentile soil?

    God said in Psalm 147:19-20 that His statutes and judgments were given to Israel and Israel alone. Are you in agreement with God? Are you walking with Him? or are you following a god that says the Mosaic Law is to be obeyed by all people of every nation?

    God’s Word tells us in Acts 15:5,10,19-20,24,28-29 that Gentile Believers are not to be required to keep the Mosaic Law. Are you in agreement with God? Are you walking with Him? or are you following a god that demands Gentile Believers obey the Mosaic Law?

    In the last chapter that tithing is mentioned in God’s Holy Word, (Hebrews 7:5-8 ) we are told that the commanded tithe is the same agricultural tithe commanded in the Pentateuch more than 1500 years earlier. Are you in agreement with God? Are you walking with Him? or are you following a god that says the commanded tithe is money?

    Are you in agreement and walking with God? or have you rejected His decree and chosen your own path?

    There is not one Scripture in the entire Bible where God amended His tithe command to extend to the New Testament Church. Nor is there an amendment in His Word to make the tithe a monetary tithe instead of an agricultural one.

    If God didn’t amend the tithe in His Word, how can we, who are supposed to walk in the Truth as it is written in His Holy Word, say He requires tithes of money? There is absolutely no justification for such an action.

    Proverbs 30:6 tells us we are not to add to God’s Word. For that reason, we cannot change the tithe that He said was to be agricultural into a monetary tithe. we cannot, in good conscience, bring a tithe that was meant for Israel alone to observe to another geographical location.

    You see, you cannot just focus on the fact that God commanded a tenth, and then totally ignore what that tenth was to consist of, where it was to be taken to, to whom it was to be given, and when it was to be given. You are picking and choosing that a tithe is required, yet dismissing all other aspects concerning God’s holy tithe.

    Those who teach contrary to the written Word of God are not in agreement with God and therefore, can not be walking with God.

Trackbacks

  1. […] that God has freely given to us, we freely give back to Him and to others. A proper attitude toward tithing comes from thankfulness, and a thankful heart will soon become a generous heart as […]

  2. […] lives that God has called us to. Far too many Christians find themselves unable to do things like tithe, give or build an inheritance for future generations because of the financial habits that they have […]

  3. […] the things that we do with our money help to determine the state of our hearts, tithing is a way of uniting our hearts with the heart of God. And God also promises that if we’re faithful to tithe, He will be faithful to bless us with […]

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Copyright Brian Jewell, 2011-2013

All of the contents of this site and its posts are copyright of Brian and Laura Jewell. Any redistribution or duplication of this material, without the consent of the authors, is strictly prohibited. Instead, please feel free to link to us. Thanks!

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All content on this site is given on a general basis and is intended for informational use only. The content does not reflect any professional legal, investing, accounting or tax advice, and should not be used as the sole basis for making financial decisions. Always consult a certified financial professional before investing.
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