Friday, January 28, 2011


My daily devotional from Bayless Conley is on tithing. I'm going to re-post it here because not only do I firmly believe it's a very important part of our faith, it's something I fear far too many of us who follow Christ fail to do and do properly.


In Matthew 23:23, Jesus speaks about the issue of tithing in this way,

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone."

Jesus tells us, "These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone." Yes, they should tithe, but the things He lists are the most important issues.

While we will touch on these issues in later devotionals, I want to point out the fact that Jesus does say we should tithe.

The Living Bible paraphrase of this verse is helpful, "For you tithe down to the last mint leaf in your garden, and ignore the important things—justice and mercy and faith. Yes, you should tithe, but you shouldn't leave the more important things undone."

You should tithe. The first ten percent of your income, or the first ten percent of the increase that God brings to you, is called a tithe. The Bible says in the last chapter of Leviticus that the tithe is holy, and it belongs to the Lord.

So you should tithe. That is very important. In fact, I believe it is the first step in getting God involved in your finances, and an important step in you getting control of your finances.

If you are not tithing, I want to encourage you to open your heart to God's Word in this area and consider the possibilities that He sets before you.

When times are tough, as they are these days, many say they can't afford to tithe. But, I say to you, when times are tough, you cannot afford to keep God out of your finances.

Malachai 3:10 says it best:
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.

Angie and I are enduring tough times right now and in response, we've challenged ourselves to give an additional offering above and beyond our tithe. And, you know what, God has honored that. Yesterday he threw open the floodgates and blessed me with a great new writing job. We tested Him on it and he threw open the floodgates.

God is good, all the time. All He asks in return is that we honor Him faithfully, with our love, our time, our talents and our treasures... He gave them to us in the first place, seems silly to not give some back.


  1. Amen, My Love!! He continues to be faithful to us as we continue to be faithful to Him. Indeed, God is good ALL THE TIME!!

    I also truly believe that we cannot afford NOT to tithe. We NEED God in our finances and I gladly give it all back to Him, because He hasn't let us down once yet! :-)

  2. In Matthew 23:23 Jesus is speaking to the Scribes and Pharisees who were still under the Old Covenant Law. He wasn't speaking to Christians.

    NO ONE, absolutely NO ONE pays the Biblical tithe today.

    Leviticus 27:30-33, Numbers 18: The First Tithe - a tenth of crops and animals and commanded to take the tithe to the Levites.

    Deuteronomy 14:22-27: The Second Tithe aka The Festival Tithe - a tenth of crops, plus add to that the firstborn animals, and take for the yearly feast.

    Deuteronomy 14:28-29: The Third Tithe aka The Three-Year Tithe aka The Poor Tithe - a tenth of crops, kept at home, and invite the Levites, widows, orphans, stranger to eat.

    Now, tell me. Which of the above three tithes commanded by God does anyone follow today?

    The ONLY people in the Old Testament that were commanded to tithe were those who INHERITED THE PROMISED LAND WITH EVERYTHING ON IT. They got the land, house, animals, crops, etc. ALL FREE AND CLEAR. No mortgage payment or rent to pay. And THEY were commanded to tithe on the crops and animals and take it to the Levites who INHERITED the tithe INSTEAD OF the promised land with everything on it. No one else tithed. Wage earners did not tithe. Jesus didn’t tithe. Paul didn’t tithe. Peter didn’t tithe.


    There is no way to justify making some “principle” out of the Biblical facts and then apply it to Christians today. It is just flat out wrong and makes no sense at all.

  3. I would personally have to vehemently disagree with your very finite statement that no one pays the tithe when that is flat out wrong; I personally know lots of people who do.

    You may not pay the tithe, but many do and many are rewarded by God for doing so.

    There are many different interpretations of many things in the bible; all we can do is what we believe God wants us to do. If you don't feel that God wants you to tithe, then that is your choice and between you and God.

    The way I see it, maybe you're right. Maybe God doesn't require people like us to tithe. I'm certainly not going to claim that my interpretations of the Bible are the only way and anyone who disagrees is wrong. It would be foolish for any human to do that; we're not God.

    But if the possibility exists for your interpretation to be right, then the possibility exists for my interpretation to be right. I will always choose to err on the side of doing something to which God will say "Well done, my good and faithful servant."

    So either way, I'm certainly covered. If we really are commanded to tithe, as I believe, then I'll be rewarded. If not, as you believe, well, I'm quite certain I'll still be rewarded for giving to the local church in His name. :-)

    This makes me wonder, though, if different interpretations of God's living word aren't intentional. After all, His plan is perfect. Since we're all here for a different purpose and we're all gifted differently, maybe our interpretations drive what God wants from us personally. Just a thought I haven't really chewed on before... although it does remind me of the Widow's Mite.

  4. I did give scripture to back my interpretation. I don't see any scripture to support the interpretation that tithing is valid today, or even that the Biblical tithe can be on income.

    But don't misunderstand me. I am NOT against being a generous giver.

    The New Testament teaches generous, sacrificial giving, from the heart, according to our means. For some, $1 might be a sacrifice, while for others, even giving 50% of their income might not induce a sacrifice. In the Old Testament, ONLY the farmers tithed, and it was equal percentage (a tenth). The New Testament teaches the principle of equal sacrifice instead of equal percentage. Equal sacrifice is much harder to achieve, if not impossible, than giving ten percent.

    Being Spirit led, I find myself giving far more than a mere tenth of my income. Many believe that as long as they tithe their income, the other 90% is theirs to do as they please. It ALL belongs to God, and we should be good stewards of 100% of what He gives to us.

  5. Hi Gary,
    Thanks for adding your interesting views to the conversation. It’s nice to know someone other than my immediate friends and family read my ramblings.

    While I don’t agree with your interpretation, as my lovely wife said, maybe we’re all meant to interpret it slightly differently.

    However, I do have a question for you. How is the local church to survive if God didn’t provide for it by mandating a tithe? By our very nature, we humans aren’t generous or unselfish, so just as God commands husbands to love their wives, knowing it’s not something that men do naturally, why would he also not command us to tithe in order to support the church? Aren’t the Levites the original “Church staff”? Isn’t God’s Living Word translatable from those days to these? Wouldn’t handling your affairs then ( livestock, crops, etc) correlate with handling your affairs today (paying mortgages, car payments, insurance, groceries, etc.)?

    I’m glad to read of your generosity and I do agree that for some giving 10% is certainly no sacrifice, but I’m having a hard time grappling with the inference that God’s vague and imprecise in his command of how His work is funded…

  6. Mr. Mike,

    You asked a good question.

    First, not all denominations teach tithing and they seem to be doing well. In fact, just for an example, not all Baptist pastors teach tithing. Most do, but some don't, and they also do just fine.

    IF God is really a part of your local Church, then God will take care of the finances by putting it in the hearts of the members to be generous givers. Many pastors teach tithing because they lack faith that God will take care of the finances.

    A study of the history of tithing in the Christian Church shows that NO Christian Church taught tithing on one's income until around 1870, and then it was to bring in more funds not because it was God's plan.

    There is no teaching of tithing in the Bible after Calvary. What is being taught today in so many protestant churches is a man-made doctrine.

    There just is no scripture to support tithing today. IF pastors taught good financial stewardship correctly, I believe that more money would be given to the church. Unfortunately, few pastors have the knowledge to teach good financial stewardship. In fact, few church leaders show good financial stewardship with the funds collected at their church.

  7. Not to nit-pick your comments, but I don't think all churches are doing fine. In fact, most aren't based on the statistics I've seen lately, and news stories such as this one:

    We've "grown up" in non-denominational churches and all the ones we've been part of teach tithing and are all doing well fiscally.

    Unfortunately (for the sake of this debate), you're biblical knowledge appears to be far superior to mine, so I can't really debate your every point on this. However, I do know what I've learned from my father, from men such as Bill Hybels, Ken Wetzell, Craig Groeshel and Greg Rohlinger and others who all have that knowledge and all support tithing. I'm sorry to say I can't recall every detail they told me that convinced me of my current way of thinking.

    I can, however, tell you emphatically that when we began tithing the 10%, God honored it. When we went above it, God honored that as well. We tested Him, and he opened the floodgates. That isn't to say we're rich by human standards, as the fact of the matter is we've skirted the edge of poverty (as seen in America at least) in recent years, but never once has God not met our needs, even when it seemed it would take a miracle to do so.

  8. God knows your heart. You are doing what you believe is right and God has blessed you.

    Unfortunately, many who have tithed all their lives are still having financial problems. Yet many atheists are wealthy. Tithing is not the reason one prospers or not.

    Being a Money & Financial Minister myself, I see these problems nearly every day.

    The Biblical tithe had nothing to do with giving. Jesus called it a payment in Matthew 23:23.

    You use "open the floodgates" that comes directly from Malachi 3. Here's the problem:

    Let’s look at Malachi 3. First, who is God speaking to – the priests or the people?
    We need to study the entire Book of Malachi rather than take a few verses out of context.

    By the time we get to verse 6 in chapter 1, we see it is the priests that are being addressed at that point.

    In both chapters 1 and 2 of Malachi there is a conversation going on between God and the priests. Every time the word "you" is used, it is referring to the priests. Chapter 3 continues with this conversation. In verse 5 God says "And I will come near to you to judgment….." In the Old Testament, during this period of time and generally speaking, only the priests could get near to God. It is only in the New Testament that born again believers, you and I, can get close to God. So up to chapter 3 verse 5, God is speaking to the priests. The word "you" is still referring to the priests. There is nothing in the scripture to indicate this changes when you get to verse 8. But that's not all.

    Read Numbers 18:29-30 and then read Malachi 1:14. Those verses explain robbing God of the offerings. The PRIESTS, not the people, robbed God of the offering by giving to God the worst instead of the best.

    In Nehemiah 13 we are told that the priests stole the Levites portion of the tithe; therefore, they had no food to eat at the temple, and they went back to their own fields.

    Therefore, taking the Levites portion of the tithe is the robbing God of the tithe. Or to put it another way, THE LEVITES WERE ROBBED. God said He was robbed because the tithe was not taken where God directed.

    Next, in Malachi 3:10 God says to bring all the tithes to the storehouse. The people took the tithes to the Levites who lived in the Levitical cities, not to the temple. The Levites took the required tithe of the tithe to the temple. (See Nehemiah 10:37-38) Only those tithes ever made it to the temple. The priests then took those tithes to the storehouse. It only makes sense if God is speaking to the priests in this verse.

    Since in Numbers 18 God makes it perfectly clear that the tithe belongs to Him, and He gave it to the Levites, anyone who takes God’s tithe to their local church must also be robbing God since the Levites are not the ones getting it.

    I see no way around this. Either the tithe ended per Hebrews 7:18, OR those who take God’s tithe to their local church must be robbing God since God gave clear instructions where to take His tithe. There is nothing in God’s Word to show that God ever changed those instructions. Therefore, the only conclusion I can reach is that taking a tithe to your local church is NOT paying the tithe to God. It is giving it to man. Nowhere in God’s Word does He give permission for the Christian Church to receive His tithe.

    Therefore, IT IS A SIN AGAINST GOD to take God’s tithe to your local church. IT IS A SIN for any pastor to accept God’s tithe.

    But again, God knows your heart.

  9. Hi Gary,
    Just to clarify, I'm not tossing out some "Pay God and buy Prosperity" nonsense. From a worldy viewpoint, we were doing much better before we began tithing, but our real needs weren't being met, just covered over with material possessions. And, maybe the blessings we've experienced since are more from God seeing our hearts, only He knows. But, I think we're going to have to agree to disagree on this topic. Since God doesn't take direct deposit, we'll just keeping tithing to our Church(s).

    Thanks for all the interesting information and insight into how you, as a Financial Minister interpret it.

    I look forward to reading more of your thoughts on this and other postings in the coming days and years.

    God bless,

  10. God Bless you and your family, Mike.

    Let me end with this: Study the subject of tithing in your Bible. Then compare what you read with what the pastors says. You should find the following:

    1 - Tithing was NEVER the first tenth of anything. God defined His tithe to be a tenth of crops (not the first tenth) and every tenth animal (the LAST ONE out of every ten, not the first.)
    2 - The Lord's Tithe ALWAYS came from God's miraculous increase of crops and animals and never from man's income.
    3 - The Lord's Tithe was ONLY paid by those who inherited the promised land.
    4 - The Lord's Tithe was taken ONLY to those who inherited the tithe instead of the promised land.
    5 - The Lord's Tithe could NEVER be on money even though the Israelite farmers did have income (MONEY) from the sale of their crops and animals.

    Never just accept what is taught in church. Always check it with the scriptures.

    Thanks for giving me the opportunity to state my interpretation.

  11. Thank you, Gary. I do indeed try my best to check what I learn instead of taking someone at their word blindly, but as you know, sometimes pulling things from a 2000 page book isn't always easy.

    I would be very interested to see you and Pastor Conley debate this, though. I'll post his next devo on tithing for you to read.

    God bless you and your family as well.


  12. Malachi 3 is about the ending of monetary tithes.