Why pay tithes?
One topic that is sure to stir up debate is the subject of paying of tithes. It is a subject that engenders confusion and mistrust, but should it be this complicated? Is there a straightforward answer that can bring clarity to this debate? Why do people not want to pay tithes, or want to discourage others from paying tithes?
The purpose of a church is to have a place where believers can gather to be fed and inspired spiritually, to be prepared for service to their families, neighbors and communities and to be a beacon of hope to those in need – both physically and spiritually. To do this a church needs to be able to pay its staff, pay its bills and to have resources available to help those in need. Where does this money come from?
It comes from members who recognize the need and who believe that God has instructed them to take care of his house and his people from all walks of life, beginning with members of the local church and extending to those outside the local church who are in need.
The paying of tithes ensures that the church has the resources it needs to fulfill its mandate. The Bible explains the purpose of tithes very clearly in Malachi 3:10 New King James Version (NKJV) – “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.”
The purpose of tithes is so there would be “food” or resources available to cover expenses and have more available for those in need. The scripture emphasizes that God is speaking and saying to his people to “try” him or put this principle to the test. God is saying if you bless my house, I will bless your house. The simple premise is that if you love God paying tithes would never be a burden because you know he commanded it and you understand the purpose of the command.
What many persons have done is look at churches who have squandered, misused or misappropriated funds and applied it to all churches therefore excusing themselves from following a clearly stated biblical principle. Some people have taken the view that because they have seen abuse in some churches the principle of tithing should not be adhered to.
This is an extremely flawed perspective because if there are churches that are knowingly misusing or misappropriating funds then the affected people should not give to that specific church rather than ignore the scriptural admonition from the God you say you serve, to find a church that is obeying the word of God and operating as a true resource center for believers and non-believers alike.
Should all churches suffer for the sins of a few? The truth is that most churches that I am aware of do not waste money, most do not have enough resources to take care of their members and the community. Additionally, most churches are suffering because of the misapplication of a very specific and universal command from God himself as evidenced by the scripture.
Tithing is actually a beautiful principle and a genius way of operating that ensures economic success for a church and the community it serves. People will give to whatever they believe in, and if you believe in God and believe his word you are operating in rebellion and insulting God if you do not do what he clearly said to do. People who do not go to church tithe also, even if they do not call it a tithe. People give massive amounts to political parties, to entertainment and entertainers well beyond 10 percent of their income. Wherever our heart is, your money will follow.
You pay tithes to what you believe in. Everybody does it even if they don’t realize they are doing it. The man who says he does not pay tithes to the church pays 10 percent or more to the dope spot, the liquor store, the strip club, the number’s house, the casino and from it no poor people are fed – there is no spiritual upliftment, counselling does not take place and people are not cared for. The tithes that should have gone to a good cause have been consumed for personal pleasure and lust and has no net benefit to the community.
We should not pay tithes to a church that misrepresents God, a church where the pastor takes the money and uses it for personal benefit, or spends it on lavish cars or homes or things that God did not intend for the tithes to be used for. But if there is a church that is doing what God said, it should do and is producing tangible results, we should run and not walk to give our tithes to such a church.
In the first instance we would be obeying what God has clearly said, and in the second instance we would be ensuring that good is being done in our community. We should pay tithes because when we do we are ensuring that the young man who needs a mentor receives mentoring; the young woman who is considering suicide can receive counselling and comfort; the woman who has no food to feed her children can be fed; the man who has no hope can be inspired to live a righteous life and take care of his family. We should pay tithes because it is the very right thing to do.
Ever since I came into the kingdom of God paying tithes was an automatic part of my life, because I knew how I wasted money in the past and my money did not benefit anyone other than me and my selfish interests. I have seen my tithes cause life-changing experiences for many. I have seen poor people fed, people’s bills paid and the good news of the Gospel preached.
We should pay tithes because it is the right thing to do according to God, and God said “If you love me you will do what I say, and you will keep my commands.”
• Pastor Dave Burrows is senior pastor at Bahamas Faith Ministries International. Feel free to email comments, whether you agree or disagree, to firstname.lastname@example.org. I appreciate your input and dialogue. We become better when we discuss, examine and exchange.