October 2, 2016
Thoughts on Tithing from a Book called 'Thinking?'
This was such a great read. It deals with 5 big questions we've all wondered about...
What is the Meaning of Life?
Does God Exist?
Do All Religions Lead to God?
Why is There Evil?
Is there Life After Death?
There were things in this book, I'd never thought of in the way it was presented and some truths that were explained that I had never understood before.
This isn't a light read. It will make you think. But it's also not a hard read. I didn't have any trouble understanding his points and really felt I learnt so much from reading this book.
I thought I'd share something from the book that I found profound for me. It's just a little snip-it of the book but it's one thing that stood out.
It deals with this passage of Scripture:
"Then they sent to Him some of the Pharisees and the Herodians, to catch Him in His words.
When they had come, they said to Him, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and care about no one; for You do not regard the person of men, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?
“Shall we pay, or shall we not pay?” But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, “Why do you test Me? Bring Me a denarius that I may see it.”
So they brought it. And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.”
And Jesus answered and said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at Him." Mark 12:13-17
I've always believed that Jesus was talking about tithing in this passage. That we should give Caesar what he asks for financially (taxes) and give God what He asks for financially (10%) of our wage.
This is what I was taught.
But recently, I have come to see that the law of 10% no longer applies to the New Testament believer, rather we are asked to give generously in the freedom of Christ. We are free to give all.
This is what Jesus was talking about. We give Caesar our taxes and give God our all.
Here is how the author, Andy Steiger, explains:
"The Bible records that those listening were amazed at His answer! What was so profound about it? It's not what Jesus said, but what He implied. The first is obvious: give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar - the coin; Jesus is telling people to pay their taxes.
The second implication is not as obvious to us in the twenty-first century, but to a first century Jew, it was powerfully clear. When Jesus said to give to God what is God's, it raised the question: 'What is God's?'
Well, just like the coin belonged to Caesar because it bore his image, so that which bears God's image belongs to God. The Jews understood that people bear the image of God! In Genesis 1:27, it says, 'So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him, male and female he created them.'
Jesus took their question and did more than address taxes. Instead, he challenged them to give to God what belongs to Him - their very lives - and to live for the purpose they were created for."
This was so refreshing to read. I can't tell you how the Old Testament concept of tithing 10% has keep me in bondage for so many years. It's even gotten us into debt in the past, because of the guilt I felt when we didn't tithe 10%. We tithed, even though we couldn't afford it.
But Jesus has set me free in this truth: that we are to give generously in every part of our lives because we are His image bearers. We are asked 'to give according to our ability' (2Cor. 8:3)...not a set percentage.
So thankful for this freedom in Christ.
I love how Pastor John MacArthur explains 2 Corinthians 8:3 about giving:
"Their giving was proportionate. That is they gave according to their dunamis, or dunamin in this case, according to their power, according to their ability, according to their capability, each gave as he or she was able. Notice down in verse 12, same chapter, “For if the readiness is present,” in other words, if there’s a readiness to give, “it is acceptable according to what a man has not according to what he doesn’t have.”
God does not expect you to give what you don’t have. He expects you to give what you have.
That’s all God asks is that you give according to your ability. Giving is to be proportionate.
This sets no fixed amount.
It sets no fixed percentage. It isn’t a tenth. It isn’t 15 percent. It isn’t 5 percent.
It indicates no fixed figure. It simply says they gave according to their ability. And everybody certainly was different. It says in 1 Corinthians 16:2 regarding the same giving for the very same purpose, the poor saints in Jerusalem which is being addressed in 2 Corinthians 8, “On the first day of the week, every week, let each one of you put aside in store as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come” Paul says you have to give out of your prosperity. In other words, according to your ability.
They gave whatever they were capable of giving. God doesn’t expect you to charge giving on your credit card and go further into debt. God expects you to give out of what you have. We aren’t supposed to give a fixed amount. That’s not what the Macedonians did. That’s not, as we shall see in a few moments, what God asks of us, or a fixed percent. We’re not supposed to worry on whether it’s set against the gross or the net. Those questions are not germane (relevant) to the discussion of Christian giving. The issue is you give as you are capable of giving. And they did that."
NOTE: This John MacArthur quote from his sermon: A Biblical Model For Giving
NOTE: I also found this helpful in understanding Old Testament tithing from the 'Grace to You' ministry: Does God require me to give a tithe of all I earn?
This book is not about tithing or giving. Though my post may make it seem that way! This is just one truth that stood out for me and I often find, when we see the truth of what God is teaching in his Word it makes other truths come to life.
This book shares many of God's truths, which enlightened me to understand more. This is the beauty of Godly counsel, it takes you deeper into God's truth.
I highly recommend this book!
Buy it HERE on Amazon