What the Bible Teaches on Tithing - Part 1

A discussion on tithing seems like it should begin with money. After all, that’s what critics think it’s about. Some see it the preachers’ clever way to enrich themselves while stealing ten percent of their unwary congregants’ hard-earned money.

But a discussion on tithing must begin with God, not money. The Bible begins with the phrase “In the beginning God…” (Genesis 1:1a). So, as you take this journey with me to discover what the Bible teaches about tithing, let us begin with the One who is the Source of all life and all resources – God. Be prayerful. What I shall write in this series will be based on the Scriptures.

God is Our Creator

The Apostle Paul says in Colossians 1:16-17, “For by Him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him: And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.

He is the source of EVERYTHING. Psalm 33:6 says, “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.” Verse 9 continues, “For He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.”

Paul points out in Colossians 1:17 that not only were all things created by God, and not only does God hold all things together, but Paul also points out that all things were created FOR Him.

In our parlance, He is saying that everything we have, God gave. If it came into your possession, God gets the credit. Furthermore, if we still have it, it's because God is keeping it. Therefore, we ought to know that we are stewards of stuff we didn't create and can't sustain and ought we ought to use whatever it is for Him.

We belong to God. This concept is almost lost, even in the Christian church. Psalm 100:3 says, “… we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.” Our bodies belong to Him because we were bought with a price. (1 Cor. 6:19-20). What price? you ask. The precious blood of Jesus is the price! Our means and possessions belong to Him.

Humans are Stewards

We are simply stewards of God’s stuff. Yes, He entrusts it to us, but everything belongs to Him. Therefore, we ought to glory Him with our whole being – heart, mind, body and strength. “All things were created by Him and for Him.”

Psalms 8:6 says, “Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands: thou hast put all things under his feet.” God put us in charge, but it’s still His stuff!

Lest you think this is Old Testament stuff I’m talking, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 4:1 that he and Apollos were mere servants of Christ who have been put in charge of explaining God’s mysteries. And in verse 2 he goes on to explain that a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful.

Any good manager is aligned with the company's goals and objectives. The manager acts, but her or his actions must be in the interests of the company. (Some of us are engaged in a spiritual conflict-of-interest. We signed up to be stewards of God's stuff, but we're really working for another "employer.")

Our Boss, the true Owner, God, has something He is trying to accomplish in the earth in these last days. He wants the unsaved to get saved. He wants the backslider to return home. That’s what He wants. He wants sinners to turn from iniquity and to walk in victory through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

If that’s what God wants and we are stewards/managers put in charge of God’s stuff, what should be our priorities? Romans 12:1-2 tells us to present our bodies to God. And the succeeding verses speak in very practical terms of us engaging and using our spiritual gifts. God wants people to draw close to Him and He wants His stewards to do His bidding. That’s why you’re still alive – to honor Him and bless your fellow brother or sister. That’s why you’re in health (and why you ought to care for yourself and stay in shape), so you can go about doing good and rightly representing Him.

The same is true of our money. It’s ALL His!

Now the crazy thing is that folk who have been in churches a long time start to think that the money they put in the plate is theirs. Mistake! Mistake! Thou needest a radical paradigm shift! NONE of the money in “our” bank accounts, purses, wallets, billfolds (or wherever you keep your money) is yours. It ALL belongs to the Lord.

Later in this series I’ll get to dealing with the tithe (the tenth) and its biblical purpose, but before we go deep, we’ve got to get this preliminary point straight in our minds. The prerequisite to a meaningful discussion on tithe is an understanding that ALL of who we are and what we own is NOT ours. We belong to God. Our minds belong to God. Our families belong to God. That space you dwell in called a house or a hut, a condo or an apartment, a room OR A BED belongs to God. The car you drive, or the bus pass you use, or the sneakers you walk in, belongs to God. Our clothes ... you got it ... belong to God. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G was created by Him and FOR Him.

If we embraced this truth, it would radically change how we spend money, treat our brothers and sisters, care for our bodies and this planet. The truth is that I have been named a trustee of God’s stuff; nothing belongs to me.

We would not waste all of God’s money on things that make us temporarily happy and then have precious little (if anything at all) to give to the things God cares about (getting the unsaved saved and reclaiming the backslider) if we realized that NONE of it belongs to me. It all belongs to God. He made everything. He sustains everything. And everything, says Colossians 1:17, is FOR Him.

Chew on that, my steward friend. And I’ll be back with Part 2 soon. God bless. I pray that you will embrace your privileged position as a trustee of heaven’s treasure, as a steward over God’s stuff, as a manager of the matchless riches of the Master of the Universe.


Popular Posts