Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Tithing Experiment

Photo by Alvin K
A Book Experiment Challenges American Christianity

Various members and small groups in our church have been reading through the book Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From The American Dream by David Platt. If haven't read it, yet, I would encourage you to do so. This book has really begun to alter my thinking in a number of different areas, especially when it comes to missions and making disciples of all nations.

In the final chapter of his book, David Platt encourages his readers to embark on an experimental challenge. This challenge is composed of five distinct parts:
  1. I will pray for the entire world.
  2. I will read through the entire Word.
  3. I will sacrifice my money for a specific purpose.
  4. I will spend my time in another context.
  5. I will commit my life to a multiplying community.
David encourages believers to take on the five parts of this challenge for just one year. His contention, though, is that after a year's time, you will be radically transformed by the experiment and you will never live the American Christian life the same way, again. I think this is an awesome, incredible challenge, and I encourage all of us who name the name of Christ to take on this challenge. This isn't exactly the point of this post, though.

Experiment With Tithing

I mention the Radical Experiment, because I like the concept of trying stuff out in life, even in our Christian walk. In fact, this is the premise of this blog as mentioned in the subtitle, "Experiments in stewardship." The posts on this blog are mostly the result of my life experience of just working through stewardship problems and trying various approaches, primarily those approaches based on God's Word.

You know, I think even God understands that we as human beings are kind of wired this way. When it comes to the area of giving a tithe (ten percent) back to Him, He said this to Jewish people through the prophet Malachi,
“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. 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 there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the LORD Almighty. “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty (Malachi 3:8-12).
God says to Israel, "Test me in this…and see…" He tells them to try this tithe thing out and see how much you will be blessed as a result.

Some Christians want to argue that the tithe was Old Testament Law and that the Church is now under a state of grace. While that may be true, I could make the point though, through various Scripture passages, that A) Christ never abolished the tithe and B) the giving demonstrated by the New Testament Church was far beyond the tithe! In my humble opinion, I think the tithe with its corresponding blessings is a universal principle that He established from the foundations of the world. It stands as a universal truth outside of the confines of Old Testament Law and New Testament grace. On principle, God will bless anyone who gives a tenth of their income back to Him.

Tithe Or Die

So where are you at on this whole tithe deal? Do you think it is just a legal requirement of Mosaic Law that the Church does not need to practice? Do you think in this Age of Grace, we are free to give a much smaller amount as the Spirit moves and call it good?

Are you even a tither? Or, maybe you give beyond the tithe?!

Wherever you're at on this hot button issue, what if you were to take the Malachi 3:10 challenge for an entire year as a grand experiment, kind of like David Platt's Radical Challenge? I can tell you from first hand knowledge and experience that there are incredible spiritual, emotional, physical, and financial blessings that come through living a life of generous giving. Try it for a year and see what happens. I know that once you have taken that challenge for a full year, there's no going back to the old way ever again. It's that awesome. Try it for yourself and see.

Also, check out these related posts:

No comments:

Post a Comment