As I look into the world, there some things I see that I want to talk about… Can I talk about them?
I think I have had enough talk about tithes and offerings and this is the way I see it. The pastors are always reading from the book of Malachi 3:8 – 10 –
“Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me.
“But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’
“In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me. 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 you will not have room enough for it.
But I have taken sometime to go and do a research myself on this issue of tithe because the passage above normally is used to put Christians on a guilt trip, and black mail, often times when it comes to tithes and offerings. What is God’s will on this?? What instructions did he give concerning this issue of Tithes and offerings??
Let’s look at the book of Deuteronomy 14:22 – 28
Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year. Eat the tithe of your grain, new wine and oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks in the presence of the LORD your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name, so that you may learn to revere the LORD your God always. But if that place is too distant and you have been blessed by the LORD your God and cannot carry your tithe (because the place where the LORD will choose to put his Name is so far away), then exchange your tithe for silver, and take the silver with you and go to the place the LORD your God will choose. Use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of the LORD your God and rejoice. And do not neglect the Levites living in your towns, for they have no allotment or inheritance of their own. At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year’s produce and store it in your towns, so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.
Now I see here that God is specific about giving a tenth of all that you have… land, Produce, etc. But it’s very interesting here that he says EAT the tithe of your grain in the presence of the Lord your God at the Place HE WILL CHOOSE as a dwelling for His name, so that YOU MAY LEARN TO REVERE the Lord your God always. I want to focus on this statement for a while.
EAT the tithe?? You may ask?? It’s not me who says this but the Lord, that the tithe is actually for us to benefit and not Him. Why would God need to have a tenth of everything? Why would God need money in the first place?? So when we are told that we are robbing from God how do we do it?? All churches today have made this affair of tithe a business venture because the tithe is actually meant to benefit you, your family, the destitute, the homeless, the widows and the Levites who do not have an allocation of their own, as we will see subsequently!!
This will teach you to revere the Lord, respect Him in other words and thank Him for His goodness and mercy for having provided for you to spend whatever it is that He has given to you. And note that this is to be shared amongst others, not just you and your family… the Greatest commandment says…
Matthew 22:36 – 38
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
Love your neighbor as yourself. Why are people so important to God?? Because in these times we are in, God does not dwell in buildings that we call church.
Matthew 25:31 – 46 gives us a reason why God regards people so much…
The Sheep and the Goats
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
This is as I see it one of the criteria of entry into Heaven apart from living a righteous life. Whatever you do to anyone… you did it to God. Do we feed the hungry? Do we clothe the Naked? Do we house the homeless? Then I suggest to you that this is How we are Robbing God if we are to eat the offering with these people.
You may ask again that how are we supposed to pay the workers in church? The church now has adopted many ways of the world and as we will see from the book of
Acts 6:1 – 7.
In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.
Everything is upside down the way we do things in the church today. We select church elders and workers based on their educational qualifications, things that they did and achieved on their own strength. We see that even in the book of Timothy we are to select leaders, they need to be married and running a home so they can be able to run a church, because churches operate in the same dynamics. But is this so?? Not from what I see happening.
Lets go to the other worker according to Acts 6. Since when did God need an eductionally qualified person to accomplish a job that He had for them to do?? Never in history. In fact all the people that God used had failed in one way or another in their personal lives Abraham was a liar, but is recognized for his great faith, Moses was a murderer but God used him by giving him the laws, Jacob was a con artist but God allowed him to give birth to the twelve sons who later became the major tribes of Israel… and on and on it goes.
Man looks at the outward appearance and the human ability, but God looks at the heart, and he not only looks at it now but the effect it will have in eternity. Where am I going with this?? We have failed to select those who work in the church in terms of, “Men Full of Faith and the Holy spirit”. What effect do you think this would have on the church today if our leaders and workers were full of faith and the Holy Spirit?? I will leave that to your imagination.
Now where did everything start going wayward this way?? Let me draw your attention to the book of Revelation 2 where God is speaking to the churches, specifically the church in pergamos…
Revelation 2:12 – 17
“To the angel of the church in Pergamum write:
These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives. Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality. Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.
The churchs being spoken about here in this part of the bible was specifically linked to the times in history in direct relation to the church. The word pergamos is a Greek word, when broken down means the following…
The Greek Prefix “per”, seen in words like Pervert, means opposition. The suffix “gamos”, seen in words like monogamy or bigamy means marriage. Pergamos therefore means objectionable marriage – a fitting description to the phase the church was facing in history and still goes on today…
In the year 312 A.D. the last Roman empire who had persecuted the church was dead. The young hopeful empire then prepared to engage in a huge battle and according to Legend and what is known, he saw a cross in the heavens and heard a voice saying “With this sign conquer, ” and as a result, young Constantine fell on his knees and became a born again believer.
According to History however, what really happened was Constantine was outnumbered and noticed that Christians were not enlisting in anyone’s army. So realizing this, he saw that if he converted to Christianity, he would have access to a potential infusion of new troops, so he became a Christian, and the Christians responded by siding with him.
But this would turn out to be a very severe disaster. As a result of Constantine’s “Edict of Toleration,” which forbade persecution of Christians, Christianity became the official religion of Rome. In fact, soon all Roman babies would be legally required to be baptized into the Christian faith. Understanding the political expediency of concession, Constantine compromised with the Pagan priests and traditions that permeated Rome at the time. What this means is Constantine approached the Christians and told them… “I feel your pain so let’s find a common ground, let’s meet halfway.” So in essence a marriage took place which was clearly illustrated by the coin issued shortly thereafter. Christian symbols were stamped on one side of the coin and pagan symbols on the other.
From 313 A.D to 600 A.D church and state worked together as a political power – and as a result the church begun a downward spiral from which she is yet to recover. If you don’t know this, the wedding vows we use in the church and the attorney general’s chambers has only one difference, in the church we say “…till death do us part”, and the chambers we say “until we find reason for separation or divorce!”
Before we veer off the main issue let me go on with what we were discussing about tithe.
Deuteronomy 14:28 – 29
“At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year’s produce and store it in your towns, so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands”.
In the world now, we are going through an economic recession because of poor management of funds and the resources that God gave us. Here the word says every third year, collect all the tithe and put in the store house so that the Levites and all those who have no allotment of their own can benefit. If we practiced this then there is no way we would have street kids going hungry and homeless people in the streets. Everyone would be sorted out and at the end of the day God WILL BLESS YOU IN ALL THE WORK OF YOUR HANDS. Imagine if every third year we collected all the taxes and kept it in central bank and took care of the country’s problems like the floods that occur every year, the hunger we keep having after so many years… no one would complain and in fact we would have enough to feed other neighboring countries.
This is the same principal that Joseph used during the drought in Egypt, and at the time Egypt was able to feed even the neighboring countries… not just itself. So I ask again… who is fooling who? Is God fooling us or are we fooling ourselves? Have you tried living like this and seen that God has not been faithful to His word?
Jesus comes into the scene and asks us to make this a lifestyle, for he came to fulfill the law and not to do away with it. Just imagine if every Christian household gave ten percent of their earnings every month towards taking care of the needy, why would people need to depend on the government’s taxes? Why should we pay taxes anyway yet we don’t see what it does? One of the main reasons Christians were being persecuted was because they were not paying taxes, they didn’t need to because they were sorted and organized amongst themselves. That is how far we have fallen and strayed from the decrees of God.
I ask you to research keenly and see what I am trying to put across here and ask God to open your eyes and see what we are supposed to do. I ask for you to feel free to add comments objections and thoughts towards this insight.