“But Trebord, if people don’t tithe, how will God’s work be done on Earth? How will the church survive?”
God’s work on Earth is never held hostage to the generosity of man. God’s work on Earth is never held hostage to the willingness of man. God’s work on Earth was laid out before man existed and certainly before man created his wealth systems—which, by the way, are based on God’s other creations such as platinum, gold, silver, diamonds, oil, or even land itself.
Speaking through David in the Psalms, God tells us:
9 I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens,
10 for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.
11 I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine.
If this is truly the God we serve, he is wealthy beyond human measure as if such an attribute would be one He’d seek to have. There is no wealth that man holds that God does not ultimately own.
So why the issue over giving one tenth of our income back to the One who gave us all of it?
- Because God didn’t ask or tell us to do that.
- Because it is important to know what the Bible really says so that you are not deceived.
- Because the Bible is a dangerous tool in the hands of those who would interpret it to their own purposes and gain.
As a Sunday School teacher in a Southern Baptist church, I challenged my class to explore God’s word and to learn what it really says. The charter for my class, which I started five years ago, was to know what you believe and why—and to be able to back it up scripturally.
The surprising thing, looking back, is that as a member of this church, I even spoke from the platform about tithing! And I tithed (on gross, of course). I was privy to the leadership’s views on those who gave and those who did not. And I was there to here the comments on what should befall those who did not give. Looking back, I recall never being part of those conversations, but always on the outside—hearing, but not participating. Perhaps I should have spoken up then.
Well, after seven years of attending and being a member—serving in a variety of roles—I withdrew my membership over this issue. I should tell you that my pastor and others have always cited me for my generosity. It would be easy to list all the ways in which I’ve given to this body, but not necessarily appropriate. Trust me in this—I have been and remain a generous person.
I withdrew my membership as a statement of dissent with the company line. As a result, I have had to step down from teaching and I also had to resign from a state-level committee on which I served. But what is position or status at the cost of lies and misleading teachings? Having stayed silent so long, I resolved to stay silent no longer.
Remember: I do not advocate a scenario in which no money is given to the church to support the material needs it has in serving others, but I cannot condone the clergy’s use of God’s word to extort money from a trusting congregation.
God does not require your money.
If you want to know what God does require, read your Bible. Here’s a starting point:
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.