God Before Mortgage

Here’s a news article written by Nick Carey that i read on Reuters. The title is, “For many U.S. Christians, it’s God before mortgage”. I have quoted and commented on certain portions of this news article below.

While millions may lose their homes during the worst housing slump since the Great Depression, some devout Christians among them will do so in part because they will not give up tithing. . .

you will find some people for whom obedience to God comes second to none, . . . For those people, a contract with God is worth more than their home

Milton Sharp, a home ownership specialist at NeighborWorks, an umbrella group of 230 nonprofits, said for many borrowers tithing is “mandatory and not a discretionary item that can be cut.

Granted, people have been poor stewards of their finances, and have made bad decisions to get into homes that was a risk for them to afford later on. But to say that your contract with God carries more spiritual weight than your contract on earth is ridiculous. Remember the context of the quote, “give unto Caesar’s what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s”? Here is the passage:

Luke 20
Then they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, we know that You say and teach rightly, and You do not show personal favoritism, but teach the way of God in truth: Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

But He perceived their craftiness, and said to them, “Why do you test Me? Show Me a denarius. Whose image and inscription does it have?”

They answered and said, “Caesar’s.”

And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

The answer is that giving to God is not more important than paying your taxes. Your purpose on earth is just as much pay your bills as it is to give to your church. People get mixed up when they think that God is asking for a denarius, or the dollar, or the yen or the euro. Sure, we give money to the poor, to our church, or to hurricane victims; but money is not what God is seeking. Unfortunately, thousands/millions of tithers are caught in the mindset that God is one big tax collecter sitting up in heaven counting the pennies that you owe Him. It makes me wonder about the order of wording in that passage. Notice Jesus says first, “render unto Caesar’s what is Caesar’s”. I don’t know. I’m not a greek buff, but if Jesus did state it in that order, i wonder if He had a reason to state “give to caeser” first.

“Often it’s the folks who can least afford it who tithe,” said Regina Grant of the Atlanta Cooperative Development Corp.

Isn’t this an interesting statistic. I don’t understand it really. These people are tithing and are expecting the windows of heaven to open. Obviously, the windows aren’t opening, but they are still tithing. I admire their faith, sincerity and boldness towards the promises of the tithe.

This reminds me of my tithing testimony. My parents had 8 children, and my father was basically the only one working. He had a blue collar job, and was sending all the kids to a private school. My parents were faithfully tithing every week, but let me tell you, the bills and credit cards were piling up. We were the least that could afford to tithe, but yet we were tithing. My parents believed in the promises and curses of the tithe. They were suckered into this mystical Old Testament curse, and did not adhere to basic stewardship principles. You cannot be in debt and afford to give. You cannot serve two masters. You cannot be a slave to debt and expect to serve other causes with your giving also.

“I made an agreement with the Lord 30 years ago and I have tithed ever since,” said the woman, who declined to give her name in an interview. “Nothing could persuade me to give that up. My relationship with God comes first.”

All these twisted lies of the tithe. I’ve heard many say that the tithe confirms our relationship with God. Somehow, by tithing we are declaring God over our lives. As if the tithe was the literal cross of the Christian life. I guess it is true, the tithe is the literal cross of many misled Christians. Unfortunately, we don’t think Jesus paid the price and fulfilled all the old laws, so we feel that we have continue carrying the burden of the old testament on our shoulders. There are burdens that we have to bear in the New Testament, but the tithe is not one of them. We are to take care of the needs, help the poor, and supply for the saints. Sacrificial giving is important and commanded, but 10% minimum requirement is not a command for the Spirit led Church.

People really believe that God will be happy if they tithe even though they can’t pay their bills. Why would God be happy that you defame his name through financial negligence? In one of Jesus’ parables in Matthew 25, He tells how God would despise the servant who gives 100% back, if we act upon poor stewardship principles. God will not reward you because you sacrificed your house. God is not smiling just because you are faithfully tithing. In fact he may punish you because of your poor stewardship.

Even if your house and mortgage was a financial mistake, paying your mortgage is one of the most spiritual decisions you can ever make. There is no spiritual difference in writing a check to your church or writing a check to your bank. Just because your check goes to a church does not sanctify your poor stewardship.

In closing, Render unto Caesar’s what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s. In financial hardship, the easy way out is to simplify what Jesus said and exclude Caesar. But Jesus didn’t insert the clause, “in case of financial hardship, only give to God”.

Jared Bartholomew is the author of www.tithing.com. There are over 300 articles written on research and reviews about tithing information.

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17 comments on “God Before Mortgage
  1. Joel B says:

    It’s so sad what people will go through just so they can “pay” their tithe. A few months ago I shared a couple of stories of people who felt obliged to pay a tithe to their church. One of them said her problem was that she didn’t do it “joyfully.” So she was advised to follow a list of rules and principles in order to have more joy in her life. The second one was much worse… the woman said they couldn’t afford to pay their tithe, so they sold their house, taking a huge loss on it, and were now able to pay their tithe. If interested, the stories are here in “Joyful living and joyful giving” Part 1 and
    Part 2.

    It’s simply sad that people go through this all because of faulty teaching in the church today.

    And about people tithing, waiting for heaven to open up and pour out blessings… I’ve never heard of anyone who this actually happened to, and yet they keep on tithing, believing it will happen someday if they just stay faithful to their tithing. And the sad thing as well, is that many people share testimonies of “God providing for them,” such as getting a new refrigerator or car just when they needed it, and they say it’s all because they tithed. That doesn’t sound like the windows of heaven opening and blessing them with so much that they won’t have room to contain it all! It sounds like a God who provides for His children because they are His children. :)

  2. Stephen says:

    ‘Prove me now’ is a repeat of the ‘tempt’ in Exodus 17. After they tithed their manna into a pot they tempted God for water. God merely repeats the pattern in Malachi 3. Proving or tempting God is a sin. To think that you will get rain from heaven by giving enough money is wrong. To teach this is more wrong. Those who get their gain from tithe collecting miss the promise of Isaiah 33:15. The reward is the bread (manna, fruit of land) i.e. tithe.

  3. freewillgiver says:

    My brother lost his house and declared bancrupcy. I attempted to tell him that tithing was of the dead law. We argued. My twin brother who is also against tithing tried to tell my tithing younger brother to stop tithing but he continued. It is amazing how old traditions are hard to stop once they have been started. My parents had a similar story to yours. They were tithers they went bankrupt at least three times. They still contiued to tithe. My dad died finacially frustrated.

  4. jake says:

    Seems that common sense is in order.
    I have given happily to my church.
    However, everytime you give, there is a reason to give MORE. As others have mentioned, there are a list of reasons for why you weren’t blessed by tithing….i.e. you weren’t cheerful, God thinks your parted your hair on the wrong side today, your grandmother played with a Ouija board, ect.
    I go to a megachurch where I can’t get a phone call or an email returned, but i sure get those reminders on tithing.
    I keep hearing stories in other states about people who have lost jobs and are looking for temporary financial help, and their churches are turning them away.
    I’ve never asked for help but i wonder if it did, would i get it?

  5. Michelle says:

    I am feeling very discouraged with tithing. I recognize that I need to be a better steward and get my finances in order. I decided – yet another time – to tithe and give a small amount above the 10% that belongs to God. It is consistently a bad experience. I can’t make ends meet – and that miraculous provision by God and the subsequent trust in Him for provision that should result therefrom have NEVER happened. I end up not being able to pay bills if I tithe, checking account gets overdrawn, unexpected expenses arise (the need for a new tire, for example). I feel like giving up. It’s a catch 22 for me. I feel afraid not to tithe and, yet, after to go ahead and tithe from disastrous experiences associated with it. I am very discouraged. I don’t see the provision to make ends meet that God promises. After resuming tithing yet again, I feel like giving up after a month or two. WHAT SHOULD I DO? I feel like crying and giving up – God never seems to help me in this area.

    • Brod Jon says:

      Michele, you are tithing in a wrong way. You tithe out of fear. You should first decide in your heart to give not reluctantly or under compulsion. Then give cheerfully and not fearfully for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7). And God is able to give you more than you need …(2 Corinthians 9:8).

  6. Michelle,
    Stop tithing. That’s it. Just stop tithing.

    - jared

    tithe’s last blog post..History of Passing the Offering Plate

  7. Joel B says:

    Michelle, I agree with Jared. Stop tithing. The verses in Malachi were a rebuke from God to the people of Israel for not following specific laws that He had set up for them under that Old Covenant. If you go back and read those original tithing laws and instructions in Deuteronomy, Numbers, 2 Chronicles, Nehemiah, etc, it’s pretty clear that they had specific Old Covenant purposes, and they don’t fit at all in the New Covenant.

    The New Covenant life in Christ is so very simple: Abide in Christ; trust His life in you. All the blessings of God are in Him, not in what you do or don’t do. Give cheerfully whatever your heart decides to give. And rest peacefully in Christ. :)

    Joel B’s last blog post..Ruth Part 2 – Unconditional Friendship

  8. Tish H says:

    OMG! I dont understand how you people can say all of these outrageous comments about God. When you say that tithing doesnt work….you are saying that God is a liar! Wrong answer! God will not be mocked so for that I do pray that ALL of you come to the understanding and knowledge that tithing is not a choice. If it wasnt for the Good Lord you wouldnt have the 10% to give more and further more the other 90%. Who can you be in business with, that would say you can have the 90 and they will take the 10. NOONE…….but God! It’s not ours anyway. My money serves me, I dont serve my money. I dont give to get a return. God said that if we believe that he would supply all of our needs. Dont blame my Lord and Savior for your bad stewardship!

  9. Joel B says:

    I, for one, am not saying God is a liar. I am saying (if you see my earlier comments) that God set up the tithe for Israel, for a specific time and purpose in Israel’s history. It was part of how the Old Covenant worked. There were 12 tribes of Israel. God set apart one of the tribes – the Levites – to perform specific duties under that Covenant. He didn’t provide an “inheritance” for them as He did for the other 11 tribes, so He had those 11 tribes provide for the Levites through tithes of food. That is what the tithes were all about.

    Those who are lying today are actually those who teach that these tithing practices have carried on into the New Covenant! It’s a very rotten mistreating of scriptures. Giving is taught as something we should do cheerfully and willingly, as our hears decide to give, but tithing is not part of the New Covenant! If anyone teaches that “the local church” is now the “storehouse,” they are twisting and manipulating the scriptures.

    Again, none of this is against God. This is about God’s two covenants, the first one of which we (Christians) are not a part of! If the practices of the Old Covenant, such as tithing, have continued today in the church, then why aren’t people promoting circumcision in the church, and animal sacrifices, and food offerings, and keeping the Sabbath, and tithing of crops and animals, and not wholly reaping the corners of fields or gathering the gleanings of our harvest. Etc, etc, etc.

    Why is tithing to be continued in the New Covenant, but all these other valid OC practices aren’t?

    • Brod Jon says:

      Joel, the old ceremonial laws are abolished. But tithing is to be continued. Jesus said that it should still be practiced (Luke 11:42). We are commanded to love and giving is an act of love. Jesus praised the widow who even in her poverty, gave all her two small coins (Mark 12:41-44). She gave not 10% but 100%. Paul taught that we should give what we have decided in our hearts and not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7). And God is able to give us more than we need …(2 Corinthians 9:8)

      • Joel B says:

        Luke 11:42… “But woe to you PHARISEES…” This passage isn’t a Christian teaching. Rather it’s a lawful teaching, to those who were under the law (in this case, the Pharisees), who were living hypocritical lives by telling people to follow the whole law, and adding many more laws and rules on top of it all, and then not even following it all themselves. Jesus wasn’t teaching “us” (Christians) to tithe. He was teaching those under the law to actually follow the law that they said they were following!

        Indeed, the widow gave 100%. I don’t know anyone else who has ever done that, and so when people bring this up, I ask them if that’s what they do themselves. If not, then don’t bring it up, as if it’s a principle that other Christians should follow, because you don’t even do it yourself. :)

        Other than that, indeed we are encouraged to give cheerfully and generously. That will mean so many different things to so many different people, as they seek the Lord and trust Him to live His life in and through them as they give of themselves in many ways, not just money.

  10. C.J. says:

    Michelle, don’t give up, look up tithing on http://www.andrewwomack.com, there is a wonderful series that he has called Financial Stewardship. Like many other things in life because they might be confusing doesn’t mean that we should give up. Stay encouraged!

  11. Jen says:

    I talked about this in another thread.  My ex-husband faithfully tithed every week, but didn’t pay child support for our daughter for years.  He also had numerous credit card debts and was very much in debt.  We would also work “cash in hand” so he didn’t have to pay much child support and less taxes, he was dishonest with the government and made sure he paid at least 10% of everything he earned.  He went to a church were there were lots of wealthy people who would give him money, even a car once.  He would then say “I’ve been blessed”.  He’s an able body person and that money would have been better going to more worthy people who were in genuine hardship.  Anyway, this is my two cents worth.

  12. Rhon says:

    @ Tisha H (N every1 else),

    God’s law on tithing was only that of corn, oil, wheat grain produce from the ground/livestock. God had them 2tithe BC it was for the Levites,they did not have an inheritance in the promise land. BC they were separated/holy unto the Lord. so N? order for them to live they got 10% of all farmers crops and livestock. Deu12:11-13 Their is no levitcal order today, Jesus is from the tribe of Judah ur blood is not levite But Judah through adoption so no born agian believer being from Judah has aright to receive tithes and there are no levities to collect it. This is why Jesus himself couldn’t tale it no the apostles.

    Abraham gave Melchizedek Hbr 7:4 Now consider how great this man [was], unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the (spoils). The word spoils in the Greek:akrothinion:
    1) top? of the heap, the first fruits
    a) best of the spoils or crops
    2) the Greeks customarily selected from the topmost part of the heaps and offered this to the gods. (It was only crops u can only tithe crops) Look @ Deu 14:22-29 Money is mentioned but 4a diff reason God never said money but he wanted crops. And there was money in the bible and no one gave it as tithes, why not? http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy%2014:23-29&version=AMP
    God bless u for ur time.

  13. Rhon says:

    Only time money and tihes are mentioned V.25 and u get to eat ur tithes and give it away.

    Deuteronomy 14: (AMP)

    23 And you shall eat before the Lord your God in the place in which He will cause His Name [and Presence] to dwell the tithe (tenth) of your grain, your new wine, your oil, and the firstlings of your herd and your flock, that you may learn [reverently] to fear the Lord your God always.

    24 And if the distance is too long for you to carry your tithe, or the place where the Lord your God chooses to set His Name [and Presence] is too far away for you, when the Lord your God has blessed you,

    25 Then you shall turn it into money, and bind up the money in your hand, and shall go to the place [of worship] which the Lord your God has chosen.

    26 And you may spend that money for whatever your appetite craves, for oxen, or sheep, or new wine or strong[er] drink, or whatever you desire; and you shall eat there before the Lord your God and you shall rejoice, you and your household.

    27 And you shall not forsake or neglect the Levite [God’s minister] in your towns, for he has been given no share or inheritance with you.

    28 At the end of every three years you shall bring forth all the tithe of your increase the same year and lay it up within your towns.

    29 And the Levite [because he has no part or inheritance with you] and the stranger or temporary resident, and the fatherless and the widow who are in your towns shall come and eat and be satisfied, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands that you do.

  14. M.R. says:

    Tithing is a big crock. God doesn’t need money. What’s he going to do with it? He doesn’t pay a mortgage or need to feed and educate himself and his family. The church surely isn’t using your tithed money to help support the needy. All this tithed money is going to the greedy church leaders who live in nice houses, drive luxury cars and wear gold Rolexes while you tithers can barely afford your homes and food on the table. When will you suckers wake up? Religion is merely a way for the rich to keep the poor from rising up.

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