Yes, I’ve said it many times before but not in such a permanent forum like this blog (cough).
I’m feeling bold, perhaps, because more people agree with me. In fact, a recent survey of evangelical leaders found the majority of them agree: Tithing is not a requirement for Christians.
This makes some people very angry, of course, and they’ll accuse me, and them, of an assault on scripture, or some kind of liberalism. But it’s neither. I’ll go all Dwight Shrute on you. FACT: you simply can’t find Christians “tithing” (giving 10%) in the Bible. It’s not there. I know, because I looked it up in your Bible and mine and it wasn’t there, and I kept looking it up, and it still wasn’t there, and still didn’t see it today.
So, here’s the good news. God doesn’t own ten percent of your money, and leave you with only 90 percent!
He owns 100%. All of it. And leaves you with zero that belongs to you.
Now we’re cooking with fire.
Of course, I don’t think we’re under the O.T. law at all anymore. I should explain that, because while the New Testament is chockfull of explanations that we’re no longer under law, many American Christians disagree. They believe we’re still under O.T. law. Paul believed we are not under the law, which is probably why he wrote that we “are not under the law.” (Galatians 5:18)
If you’re led by the Spirit, you aren’t under the law.
All this freedom of being led by the Spirit can be kinda scary, though. Also kinda dangerous. In a good way. And I feel kinda cool typing that. Prisons are hard, too, but some people want to stay there. They tell you what to do, how much to do it, and when. There’s something in us that likes that. It’s just not the best part of us.
Freedom isn’t easy, either. It’s definitely more fun, but it’s not easy. So now NONE of my money is, like, “my” money? I’m to give freely? I’m called to RADICAL, promiscious generosity? Yikes!
But now, I’m telling you, my love for God, expressed through money, has become a relationship thing. And an everyday thing, too. I find myself asking God, “Please show me what you want me to do with this,” and boy, has He ever.
It’s pretty simple. Here’s what’s happens when I realize I’m free:
First, I’m thankful.
God shows me, in scripture, His heart for the poor.
I ask God for direction today with my money.
I see a need.
I thank Him.
I love Him more.
I see how He takes care of me.
I’m thankful again.
And I rinse and repeat for maximum pleasure. When I do this, something funny happens: My desire increases. And now, we’re talking about an adventure. Life becomes about playing a role in the Kingdom of God. I get to play the sidekick (just with slightly less spandex). A lot of other scriptures and stories start to click. Now, I’m thinking, all the time: What about the fatherless? What about the widow? What about the rejected, the alien, the stranger, the homeless and sick , etc?
People like me who no longer believe we are bound to tithing are not arguing for less giving. Oh no. We’re arguing for more. Much more.
But understand, you are truly free. Free indeed. Freedom makes you dangerous, and folks will get angry, and not just the people who are afraid you’ll start giving less. Some are afraid you’ll start giving more.
And, strangely, freedom will not only make you dangerous to them, it’ll make you dangerous to you, too. It will also reveal who you are, and to Whom you belong. You’re freely choosing where to put your money, and that’ll tell YOU, if you’re honest, what you really value.
Certainly not safe, this whole living on the edge of the miraculous.
But so, so rewarding.