A Touchy Subject

It’s a touchy subject in churches all over the country. It actually keeps many from attending at all. But it needn’t be that way. It’s like lots of other good things. Someone or some group comes along, misuses something or takes advantage of something that should have been a good thing, and makes it no longer palatable for most folks. Mistrust or doubt settles in where only good was intended. It’s somehow become almost a “dirty” word to many.
Okay, enough buildup. I’m talking about the tithe here. I recently touched on the political, so I thought it only fair that one touch on the religious. And, well, one kind of led me to the other- except there’s really nothing religious about the tithe. At least there was never supposed to be.
What I have to say on the subject is neither Protestant nor Catholic, evangelical nor fundamental. Actually, it’s Wilma.
I’m going to get to Wilma in a little bit. The entire country is still up in arms over the passage of the healthcare bill. I suppose we’ll be up in arms for quite a while to come. At least until something else comes along to alarm us. Remember, 2012 is coming and those Mayans did mention something about a planetary catastrophe… But let’s worry about that later, shall we? Instead, I would like to put out there, that had the tithe been observed by believers we’d have no need for this present healthcare law, social security, welfare, etc.
May I preface this next part by saying that I am not a numbers person. I totally swiped these stats from someone else who is. But even a non-numbers person like me had to say, “No way!” to these.
It has been estimated that only twenty-seven percent of all Christians tithe.
A tithe is ten percent of your yearly income. (If you have to ask pretax or after taxes, then you have issues.) Less than one third of Christians follow this practice. One in four Christians give nothing. Yep. Zilch, zero, nada. Nothing.
American Christians, as a group, earn an annual salary of $2.5 trillion dollars. That’s “trillion”, with a “T”. If everyone gave a tithe, (after taxes even- for those aforementioned issue havers), there would be $46 billion dollars to further the Kingdom, help the poor, and provide enough health care for everyone. Some suggest that number could easily double. I’m not much on facts or figures, but that’s a lot of moolah.
I’ve heard all the arguments against the tithe.
Many say we are no longer under the law that was given to the early chosen people. Okay. Fine. I love a good pulled pork sandwich as much as anyone. As Christians, we are to be about giving more than getting. The New Testament states that the early Christians gave all that they had when needed, so that no one went without. They gave ALL. So the early Christian example blows the tithe out of the water.
Early on, I mentioned Wilma. Wilma was my grandmother, and she taught me the best lesson I ever heard on the subject of tithing. Wilma tithed her whole Christian life. Wilma was not a wealthy woman, still, her lesson on tithing was this:
God will do more with ninety percent of a person’s income than they can do themselves with a hundred percent of it.
Wilma never missed a meal, never had to sleep outside, or go naked because she gave. But she probably would have been willing to if that was what was necessary for her to continue to give. My point is she didn’t. Her gift was meager in the eyes of many, but in the eyes of God it was great, and because she gave it cheerfully it was blessed and so was she blessed.
Many argue that they wish they could give yet they just can’t afford it.
Wilma would argue that they can’t afford not to. In not giving, you are missing out on the blessing that obedience to God brings. So really, tithing is not a financial issue. It’s a heart issue. We turn it into a “you go first” game we play with God. We tell him, “You go first, God. You give me more money, and then I’ll give.” But God knows better. So His response in the game is, “You give first, then I will bless you”. And you know what? He always does.
Our oldest son recently started working and earning a paycheck, and he’s already giving his tithe. Hopefully it will just be something he always does. Not out of any kind of religious mandate, but out of an obedient, cheerful heart. Then he can stand back, and watch the blessings pour down from heaven.
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this, says the LORD Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” Malachi 3:10 

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