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:
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 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”.