Why do Christian leaders tell people that they should tithe? I don’t have the definitive answer but I do believe that I know something true about tithing. Tithing is not for the generous but for the stingy. Generous people need only hear of the need and they will meet it. They do not need a minimum compulsory amount. Church leaders feel the need to teach on tithing because they are leading a group of selfish people. Take the selfishness one step further and tell the “givers” that God will return even more to them if they do tithe.
There was a time for tithing. God assumed selfishness in the unredeemed people of Israel and made provision for it. For those who have been implanted with the love of God, tithing has become obsolete. The saddest aspect of tithing teaching is when we presume selfishness from the redeemed, they begin to be selfish.
Here’s what Paul said about a general legalistic approach, which would include tithing.
The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm. We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious… (1 Timothy 1:5-9a)
photo credit: competeinnovator.com
Church leaders can spend a lot of time attempting to keep people from leaving their congregations. We actually talk about ways to “close the back door” to our churches.
It occurred to me in the car today, though, that for a church on mission it’s always a good thing when people leave. Either they leave disgruntled because their attempts to derail the mission have been ignored or the mission drags them right on out the door into new fields of kingdom growth – win, win!
So, maybe instead of trying to close the back door we should knock out the back wall and put axle grease on the floor.