Numbers 18:21 “Behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tithes in Israel as an inheritance in return for the work which they perform, the work of the tabernacle of meeting.
I really dread it when scripture brings me to discuss tithing and giving and I only talk about it when it comes up in scripture. This is one reason why I love teaching the Bible verse by verse and chapter by chapter, when we get to difficult topics, it’s not my fault! Our current study in Numbers 18 brings us to the topic of tithing. Before I talk about this, I want to make sure it’s understood that I have never looked at the churches bank account and decided to do a 12 part series on tithing. I believe that the Holy Spirit will take care of what we need to hear when we need to hear it, from the simple doctrines of scripture to the complex to the prickly, and tithing and giving certainly tend to be prickly subjects with the majority of Christians. In fact, I am sure that someone or perhaps several someone’s will unsubscribe from this devotion just because of the topic. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that the majority of Christians don’t want to hear about tithing. This makes sense, since current statistics have found that only 5 percent of the U.S. tithes, with 80 percent of Americans only giving 2 percent of their income. But I’m going to tell you something that you probably were not expecting me to say. I’m telling you not to tithe … that’s right, don’t tithe.
- Please don’t tithe if you are not a Christian. Seriously, it does you no good, and it may even serve to harden your heart, causing you to think you have earned salvation by your giving.
- Please don’t tithe if you cannot be joyful in it. Although, not being able to rejoice in being obedient to God who provides for you should cause alarms and red flags to go off in your conscience.
- Please don’t tithe if you are doing it to please a person. Your tithe or your un-tithe is between you and God. It’s important for you to be obedient to God because God is God and not because you want to please a pastor or anyone else.
“But tithing just buys pastors new cars and expensive homes!” If you say that then you watch too much television. I think when it comes to pastors who plant churches as opposed to those who take over already established mega churches or perhaps churches that are underwritten by denominational headquarters, there is a lack of understanding by the congregation regarding what happens if tithes go down. If tithes go down, the missions budget doesn’t go down, the utilities must still be paid, the rent must still get paid and staff is usually still paid, while the Pastor takes a pay cut. You see, we so often see the Pastors on television with thousand dollar suits and cashmere hankies and forget that for every one of them, there are thousands of small church Pastors or Missionaries who don’t know how they will feed their family at the end of the week. Like the priests of the Tabernacle who were always busy making sacrifices on behalf of the people, so also Pastors make sacrifices for the congregation they serve. But God does provide. God comes through and we don’t go hungry, we don’t go naked and we continue to focus on serving the Lord … or we learn to praise the Lord in all circumstances, even in hunger and starvation, according to God’s will. Even if we did go hungry or naked, that would not stop any Pastor worth his salt.
The bottom line here is this … and I’m going to quote another Pastor so that I can’t be blamed for what is said:
“May I put this in very plain terms for today? The people in the church are to pay their preacher. You are to pay the one who is bringing you spiritual food. The man who is spending his time doing that cannot be working on a farm or in a field or in an office. It is a tragic thing to see that many of God’s finest workmen, both here and in the mission fields, must take a secular job in order to survive. The ministry suffers, and the church suffers. God provided support for the Levites, and He expects the church to support its pastor.”