My website receives thousands of visitors every month, so naturally, I get emails from people who have been struggling with giving and need a question answered. If the typical question was about seeking the basic facts, I wouldn’t be as frustrated in responding as I typically am. But the typical question usually has to do with a quandary that makes an individual choose between tithing and debt, or tithing and paying bills, or tithing and giving to other ministries.
The Tithing Dilemma
I would say that many of these people know already what they should do, but their conscience has been deceived about tithing for so long that their guilt becomes a stumbling block for doing the obvious thing. On one end, they have tithing. On the other, there’s common sense, which wants to avoid debt, pay bills, or provide for one’s family. On some occasions, a desire to give to other ministries outside of their church contradicts the teaching that a tithe must go to your local church.
So I asked myself the question, why do so many people not know what they should do? I don’t know if this is the answer but I believe the main reason why I receive these questions is that their giving abilities have been trained on tithing, but not Spirit-led giving. Being guided by the spontaneous characteristics of Spirit-led giving is foreign to most, or at the least bit, still in its immature stage. Giving 10% of your gross income seems cut and dry, but when a unique circumstance comes up, tithers freeze and do not know what they should do. Questions, such as, “should I tithe on their retirement money”, or “can I give to a charity”, are just a few questions that many ask. The thought of hearing and listening to a personal God about spontaneous instructions on their giving is foreign to them, because they’ve been spoon-fed about what they should do with their money for so long. Tithing has turned many believers into a tamed lion that forgot about their natural instincts.
Tithing has made us into baby Christians, which is antithetical to the philosophy that it trains us into mature Christians. Children, who are initially trained through Spirit led in their giving, don’t freeze up with difficult questions. Those who are led by tithing, are examples of wild animals caged up and tamed and have developed no survivable instincts outside of their little cage. Tithing believers have lost their natural, Spirit-led instincts. They are being tamed by a giving instructor that dictates their move, and it satisfies them because of the security and consistency it brings in their life. Assuming, with tithing, there seems to be no doubt or questions about what you are doing until a bizarre situation comes up.
Unfortunately, many believe that tithing is commanded for the New Testament Church. New Testament children are born again to be free, and not caged up like a circus lion. The Spirit of God is meant to be our guide – not tithing. Our spiritual instincts naturally guide us when we are in the wild because we are naturally free and wild creatures. God didn’t give us spiritual instincts so that the tithing tamer could control us. Break free from your bondage. Get out into the wild, and let the Spirit be your guide.
We have created a huge dilemma. We want to build Christians who eventually will be free to be Spirit led with offerings above the tithe, and yet our training is performed in a cage? How does all this make sense? Why do we train our children how to tithe when their destination is to give with Spirit-led offerings?
Training is a crucial experience in a believers life. For so long, we’ve been brainwashed into thinking that tithing is the “training wheels” or the “baby steps” in regards to stewardship and giving. But when we are thrown out into the wild, which requires us to be at the peak of our instincts, we don’t know how to feed ourselves and survive on our instincts. We have not been trained to be Spirit-led, we’ve been trained by tithing.
Most of us, when we figure out offerings above the tithe, we automatically begin calculating, and it sounds something like this, “1 or 2 % sounds like a pretty reasonable offering to give”. So, is Spirit-led offerings much like throwing darts? Is this is what tithing exercises helped us figure out?
For so long we’ve been told to tithe, and it’s been fairly simple to figure out what to do with it. Once we get our paycheck, just cut out 10% for God. As far as the offering is concerned, I would dare say that most add 1% or 2% and place our gift in the same offering plate every week. Some of us might go out on a limb and actually take the liberty to checkmark the offering envelopes to designate if our offering should go towards the mission, building, or benevolence fund. If checking a box would be the biggest spiritually financial decision we would have to make, then we have seriously failed in our training.
Many of us have heard the pun that our wallet is usually the last thing to get saved or be baptized. Well, i agree in a different way. Most Christians recognize our new birth in Spirit-led living, but when it comes to giving, we are still attracted to the old life under the law. For some reason we are attracted to the way, Abraham, Jacob, & Israel gave. On top of that, the old covenant curses and blessings on the tithing law attract our attention even more. We have been baptized out of this system into a new system. It’s time to start living and giving like it.
It first begins with training ourselves to be Spirit-led. To clarify, being Spirit-led is not about neglecting the Word of God, nor is it following your emotional whim. Most people are afraid that their emotions will get in the way, and that’s why they calculate their giving every week. Not to say that creating goals, or a set amount for our giving is bad, but unless the Holy Spirit is really setting a consistent standard for you, then that’s not Spirit-led giving.
Figuring out Spirit-led giving is much like deciding where you should live, where your children should attend school, who to marry, what job should you take . . . etc. Are there direct commands in the bible that tell you where to live, or attend school? Well, yes, but no. I’m sure you can find commands intended for Israel to live in a certain place, or who to marry, but how are these commands practical to us today? If I were to disregard these old testament commands intended for Israel and make my marriage a Spirit-led decision, most would agree with why I am free to do this. Yes, we know about these Old Testament commands, and we know there’s nothing wrong with living our life by some of them. The problem is when we’ve incorporated these laws into New Covenant dogma, and discourage all other viewpoints.
Once again, why are tithing questions frustrating? I think it’s the realization that we shouldn’t be struggling with these questions anymore. I guess the next frustrating thing is that tithing is enforced by those who say it’s supposed train you make the right decisions, but all it’s done is create us not know how to make any Spirit-led decisions.
Although i am tired of baby Christian questions, I will still answer them. So, keep em’ coming.