For all the encouraging tithing testimonies that I hear from readers, I occasionally get people emailing or commenting something like this:
- “Tithing didn’t work for me”
- “I tithed for a while, but didn’t see results”
- “I quit tithing because I didn’t notice any change”
I have wanted to write this article for a while addressing this, but I have been hesitant because there aren’t any one-size-fits-all answers.
And if there are, I definitely don’t know what they are. I have some thoughts and maybe some humble suggestions for you to take to the Lord and ask for clarity, but no solid answer.
I also want to say that this article is written with much prayer, humility, and love backing it.
I believe as you read this, the Lord will lead you to your answer even if there is not even a hint of it in the article below.
But I did my best to address some of the common reasons why some people don’t see results tithing and a few other thoughts as well that I will share below.
I am going to assume that you read our article Tithing in the New Testament & Old that explains why it is not a “have to” thing, but rather a “get to” thing and answers a whole lot of common questions about tithing.
Before we get to a few questions we can ask ourselves if we aren’t seeing results from tithing, I want share a little of our story of all the years when we were tithing and seemed to not really be getting anywhere.
My tithing challenge
I tend to be a pretty all-or-nothing type of guy, so when I first got ahold of Malachi 3:10 I dove right in and went for it.
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse … Test me in this, 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.”
Actually giving the 10% wasn’t as challenging for me as patiently waiting for the second half of that promise to be fulfilled.
You see Linda and I have always had a dream in our hearts to be greatly used by God to give lots of money to fund the Kingdom of God.
When we were dating, we would talk and dream of what it would be like to be able to buy cars for people in need, to simply write a check and feed thousands of starving kids, and use our money to support evangelistic work all over the world.
But the reality was that we were so financially strapped that it was difficult to find money to buy a gift for a friend’s birthday party.
After we got married, we joined forces and decided to pay off all our credit card debt, and then things got even tighter.
We decided to NOT stop tithing while we were paying off our debt. And then we felt like God was leading us to actually give more during that phase.
I talk more about this here:
At first I was arguing with God a bit. “Come on, we barely have 2 nickels to rub together, should we really give more?”
What I didn’t realize at the time was that He wasn’t trying to take money from me, but He was trying to help us get the debt paid off faster.
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” 2 Cor 9:6
Just like any farmer knows, the more seed you sow, the bigger your harvest will be.
In hindsight it is easy to see that’s what He was doing, but at the time I had no idea why He was calling us to give more while trying to pay off our mountain of debt.
Meanwhile at work…
I was beginning to realize that I had entered a low-paying career-path that had very little room for growth.
I had always been a hard worker and even though I hated my job I continued to work hard but always felt like a mediocre performer because it wasn’t suited for my giftings.
And then our company got bought and our entire department got notice that we were no longer needed.
If it hadn’t been so discouraging, it would have been laughable.
Starting a side-business
During this time I had started a home-based business (my blog) as a way to make a little extra money.
And like many new businesses, I didn’t see results right away. In my first 6 months I made a total of $110.
The earnings were increasing each month, but when I was officially laid off we were barely making $100/month from the blog.
And then I felt God leading me to NOT look for another job, but to work on the blog full-time.
I thought “Um God, you are joking right?”
I had spent a year working on the blog to only be earning $100/m – how in the world is this ever going to be able to support my family?
And then my faith got tested again…
Within weeks of getting laid off, I got a job offer paying 2x as much as my previous job doing work I would have loved.
I thought, “This is God’s breakthrough!! Finally, we are seeing some progress!”
As soon as I was about to accept the position, I could just sense God telling me that I was not supposed to take the job.
I wrestled with this for days.
After all the financial and career struggle we had been through, it almost seemed like a cruel trick to dangle that out in front of me.
And it was.
But it wasn’t God playing the trick.
The devil was tempting me at a critical crossroads in my life.
In Luke 4 Jesus was tempted by the devil, and he was trying to knock Jesus off the path of His calling by tempting him with lesser things.
In the moment I didn’t realize that taking that job would have derailed God’s plans for my life, but years later, it is clear as day that it would have.
It was so difficult to pass that job up, but I did and continued to do what God had asked, to work on the blog full-time.
Where was my breakthrough?
During all those years, we faithfully tithed and even looked for opportunities to give more whenever possible.
I struggled every day wondering where my breakthrough was. I wondered if I was doing something wrong or if i had missed God’s direction at some point.
But, looking back, the truth is I think I was right where i was supposed to be. God knew where I was and He wasn’t going to let me be forgotten.
Breakthrough came in unexpected packages
Part of my problem was that I was looking for the breakthrough to come via my job.
I was more or less assuming that the ONLY way God could provide was through a raise at work or a promotion.
Additionally, I assumed that Phil 4:19 would mean that He would provide money. But that’s not what the verse says.
“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:19
It says he would provide for our needs, and there are many other ways to do that OTHER than money.
In our case, even during the times when it looked like we weren’t seeing results tithing, He was providing AND in increasing measure.
These are just a few of the ways I can recall:
During those years I learned many great ways to save money that freed up many hundreds of dollars each month.
I could have gotten a raise at work that might have yielded an extra $100/m which would have been great, but instead we reduced expenses by probably $500-$700 month by making some simple changes.
The bottom line is that we had hundreds more in our pocket each month.
I call that God’s provision.
Unexpected sources of income
We did have some unexpected sources of income during that time.
Two big ones I can recall was the severance package that I got from my employer as well as the retention bonus for agreeing to work until the last day.
Getting debts paid off
We then used most of those funds from my employer to pay off many of our debts. This just reduced our monthly expenses even further.
I can’t even begin to list all the gifts and items that people gave to us during those years.
From wedding gifts, to couches, to tables, to lamps, everywhere we looked we saw God’s provision.
At one point we looked around our apartment and almost everything had been given to us.
During this time I hadn’t quite yet discovered our current strategy for traveling free, but God still provided some awesome vacations.
A super-generous family in our church had a beach house that they allowed us to use for free any time we wanted. We probably stayed there 7-8 times in those early years of our marriage.
All that travel would have cost us many thousands, but God provided it for us.
Then some of the bigger harvest began
As awesome as all that provision was, over the next few years we really began to see the fruit of all that tithing and giving.
By nothing other than the miracle working power of God, my blog began earning more than my old job in less than a year.
And over the next couple years, the business earnings and other provision just continued to grow until we felt like we were experiencing Luke 6:38:
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap…”
It was a little overwhelming at first.
I had never been in a position where I had more than enough. We decided to basically cap our standard of living and just keep sowing (giving) the rest.
This eventually led us to start giving our age as a percentage of our income.
And all these years later God has continued to provide all our needs.
I love this quote by RG LeTourneau:
“I shovel (money) out and God shovels it back, but God has a bigger shovel.”
A few questions to ask
If tithing doesn’t seem to be working for you, here are a few questions to honestly ask yourself.
Like I said at the beginning, I don’t have your answer, and there isn’t one answer to this question.
But my prayer is that as you ask yourself some of these questions and ask God to show you, you will get some revelation for your specific situation.
Are you viewing tithing as a turn-key system instead of an act of faith?
The act of Tithing is NOT a turn-key system or a money-machine where you simply put in a dollar and it spits out a dollar.
God (rightfully so) refuses to be reduced to a simple formula like this.
But, it is more of a general truth that requires faith in GOD and a trusting that what He says, He will do.
Matthew 6:33 (NASB) states that we should, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
It should be no surprise that God wants our hearts, and for us to simply “give to get” and view God as a divine ATM, is missing the mark.
If we truly understand how much we have been given we will find ourselves desiring to “Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce.” Pro 3:9 (NLT).
While having a trusted advisor proof this article, he left this comment and I thought it was just too good to leave out…
“…In our minds, the tithe/blessing graph normally has an x axis (give) and y axis (receive) and we see the relationship as cause and effect. But, I think there’s a third access that we could call “heart” that is indicative of what God is doing IN us during the journey. The heart axis adds a third dimension whose fruits are mysteriously intangible but so beautiful as God carries us across spiritual milestones in the path of our lives.
When we get hung up on why tithing isn’t working, we’ve probably missed the question of why we tithe in the first place. We’re not called to be obedient SO that we experience tangible blessing; we’re called to be obedient so that we experience heart-peace, and tangible blessing is icing on the cake. The beauty of the blessing that follows obedience is that heart-peace is achievable regardless of circumstance when we loosen our grip on our own perceived control of our lives and our expectation of what God’s timeline should be in those specific circumstances.”
Is it possible that God has provided in ways that you weren’t expecting?
Like in our story above, provision doesn’t necessarily mean money.
In my case a whole lot of God’s provision in the first few years of tithing wasn’t money, but Him providing for my needs nonetheless.
Are you actually giving the amount you think you are?
Just like with budgeting, if you don’t track it you don’t really know what is happening. And I don’t want to get too hung up on exact percentages, but I know in my own tithing experience when I found out that I wasn’t actually tithing when I thought I was – we decided to get exact with it.
And as soon as we did, we realized we didn’t have enough to cover our monthly expenses. But guess what, God came through for us. It was almost like he was looking for the opportunity to be tested.
Are you expecting results too quickly?
In the example above, we did see almost instantaneous results from making that change. But, over the years most of our breakthrough took a while.
Think about it, when you plant a seed, you don’t get to eat the fruit the next day – right?
It takes time for that seed to sprout, the seedling to grow into a plant, and then for fruit to develop and ripen before you can eat it.
Sowing into God’s Kingdom is no different. It takes time before we can reap the harvest.
And the length of time seems to be different for every tither you ask. I wish I knew why, but the bottom line is that these seeds we sow into His Kingdom will bear fruit, we just need to hang on to Galatians 6:9:
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Have you actually received financial increase and not noticed?
I don’t know about you, but before I began using a budget to control my spending I would get raises from work and never really feel any financial impact. I would just go about spending like normal and spend until the bank account ran out of money.
When you live like that you very well might not even notice the provision of the Lord. Without using a budget it is very difficult to feel a financial increase of 5% or even 10%. And for some people even a 50% increase could go unnoticed.
Are you giving cheerfully or out of compulsion?
You should not be giving because you feel pressured to. See my tithing article on this for more, but this is an opportunity that we have to trust God and watch Him move in our lives.
2 cor 9:7 says:
“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
If you are struggling with that cheerfulness with giving, ask God to help you with it – He will!
Are you obeying him as he is leading you?
God could be leading you to do something that would provide those blessings and provision. And if you don’t obey, you might be missing out!
Read this passage from 1 Kings 17 (during a famine).
Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: 3 “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. 4 You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.”
5 So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.
What if Elijah hadn’t obeyed God?
When God called me to step out in faith and work on the blog full-time, it didn’t make any sense. In the natural it looked like it would take years to even get back to what I was earning at my day job, but by His miraculous grace within a year the business was providing far more than my old day job.
If I hadn’t obeyed him in that area I would have missed out on those blessings.
It may just be that your blessing and provision is on the other side of obedience.
If you find yourself not seeing the results you expected from tithing, I would encourage you to pray and ask God to reveal to you why.
Walking something out in faith and not seeing results has been one of the toughest aspects of the Christian life for me.
I have been there so many times and I will say this: because I have seen this pattern play out over and over with God, it is getting a little easier to step out in faith.
But it still is hard.
As I write this I am dealing with a pretty big faith test that I will tell you about once I am on the other side of it, but in the meantime I will keep trusting God and wait (as patiently as I can) for my breakthrough.
Let’s do it together, shall we?
P.S. If you need more inspiration check out these Bible Verses about Giving.
Effie James says
Although my financial situation has deteriorated the last four years, I have continued to tithe. God has kept us. What could have taken us out did not succeed. I’ve gone from tithing on my net income to my gross income. I want His gross blessings! I have faith that just as He’s kept us during this financial storm, He will bless our finances.
Kevin Mercadante says
Hi Bob – Thanks for giving us yet another thoughtful article on tithing. It’s really a difficult subject because of the many different interpretations and positions. But I struggle with the whole concept of “seeing results from tithing”. It conjures up images of too many TV preachers who have made their ministries mostly about tithing, as though it’s some sort of reward system. I think that’s really the bigger picture issue here. Why should we be expecting “results” at all???
Two points I want to make from my own experience:
1) Tithing is first and foremost about trust and obedience, as you’ve written in the article. If it’s done with expectation of financial reward it’s done for the wrong reasons. God will bless us if he chooses, but we have to trust that he’ll take care of us either way.
2) We went through a time in life, with young children in tow, when we couldn’t afford to tithe. We could barely afford food. Honestly, when I look back, and from a human perspective, we should have been homeless. But we weren’t. God provided for us in miraculous ways, too many for me to remember. Again, we weren’t tithing, yet God was blessing us with provision at every turn. It was always just enough, and no more.
My point is, God has been blessing us the whole way, when we’ve tithed and when we haven’t. It may even be that trust is a greater burden when we don’t tithe. Yet still God is there for us.
This isn’t a call for others to abandon tithing. But more to say that God’s capacity to bless is neither restricted by or dependent on our tithing practices. It should be first and foremost an act of trust and obedience. We’re very familiar with God’s promise in Malachi 3, but that shouldn’t be the reason to tithe.
I suspect my thoughts on this are as controversial as the article itself. But as I said at the beginning, this is a difficult subject.
Kevin, I agree it is tough. I think the idea of “results” and the expectation of them is Biblical based on Malachi 3:10 and Proverbs 3:10 (and others), but I hate that just by saying that some will automatically lump me in with some preachers who have manipulated those verses. But, essentially, any verse can be used to manipulate, but that doesn’t invalidate it. There is no escaping what those verses say, regardless of our past experience with them.
All that to say, I really believe that God uses Father/child relationships to teach us about our relationship with Him. And as a Father, I want to bless my child, but if I got the sense that my child only paid attention to me just to get something from me, I would be hurt. But he responded with love but he knew that the by-product of obeying me was blessing, it would feel much different. I think most probably agree on those extremes, it is the gray middle of “expectations” and what that looks like for each person that is where it gets sticky.
God will meet His children’s every need according to His riches in Heaven through Christ Jesus not our tithing. He is faithful when we are not. I know this from life experience just as you said…when looking back God was taking care of me and my family even when I just believed in Him but did not know Him. I believe in giving but not the Malachi teaching. For Christ bore the curse for us. When you love people you want to help them anyway you can. Without love it is all for nothing.
Sis Nonyem says
Very well put and manifests balance and finess, the very character and image of our blessed Lord !!
I posted on this recently, about my dad and myself tithing on our gross income and how my dad saw it almost as a contract with God and that while he wasn’t a big earner he left an estate of almost $2 million to my brother and me. I also tithed and calculated that the present value of what my wife and I had given in tithes, offerings and charitable gifts was right at $2 million. I do not believe that tithing is a strict command or that it is a material algorithm that returns money directly to you multiplied but I do think it brings spiritual blessings and makes you the kind of person with the kind of values and outlook that will likely make you a higher earner. In my case I feel certain my earnings were more than $2 million higher than I could have reasonably expected and that tithing played a big part in that by giving me a positive and generous money mindset. I am curious, I’m slightly early retired now and still make a nice income with hobby side gigs so I tithe on those. But if I ever give up paid gigs, and I do not need the income, how is a wealthy but unemployed person supposed to calculate a tithe? Every penny I’ve got invested was already tithed on since I used our gross income as the amount to tithe on. I know it is based on the increase but I really do not know how you’d calculate that. My withdrawal rate is zero now but perhaps just tithing on what is withdrawn to spend when I start doing that is the way. Or perhaps tithing stops being a thing and you just give as you feel directed? I’ve never seen anyone address this and it feels “selfish” to ask but you obviously have given the topic much thought so I’m interested in what you think. Thanks!
Hey Stewark, I don’t know that answer, but what I would probably do is tithe off the amount withdrawn each month. But you find yourself in a unique situation and I would suggest going to God and seeing where He leads. But when all is said and done, I don’t think you can go wrong erring on the side of giving MORE rather than less.
NO WHERE, and I mean NO WHERE, are we commanded or expected in the NT to give a tenth of our income! That verse in Malachi is taken out of context, written TO the JEWS, and was a reference to grain! Paul wrote that we are simply to lay aside each week as God has given us. God is NOT the “Quid Pro Quo Bell Hop” in the sky. I “over gave” at one time in my life; in fact I gave enough that I could have bought a car with cash. Instead I “gave to the Lord,” cruising around in a powerchair, using buses for the disabled. I ended up heavily in debt, and had to file bankruptcy. I’m now buying a car at 15 percent interest thanks to the bankruptcy. God expects us to be good stewards, NOT presume on Him, that we supposedly “can’t out give” God. Oh yes, we CAN! People have given their life savings to Word Faith preachers and have had thrir homes foreclosed on. I will be struggling the rest of my life. But remember that Jesus said to lay up treasure in heaven, so if you’re expecting an earthly blessing. perhaps you’d best think again.
Barbara Binsfeld says
My bills were making my life tight with some stress, single income, raising two guys on my own, living paycheck to paycheck. But always Tithed on the gross. Sometimes it seemed crazy, but I still did it. I did notice small changes though, not where I thought they should be of course, but changes. Like my car insurance going down. I sure didn’t expect that! Try as I might I’m not a great coupon person, but I’d always manage to find great deals when shopping, pretty sure that was not on me, but the Holy Spirit, directing my path. Electric bill going down, when I was sure everything was the same as the month before. And I kept thanking God for my house, lived in an apt for years. Well He came through. After my guys were out on their own, but – it was a nice house very clean, and very, very reasonable.
We have to remember that it is ALL IN HIS TIMING, not ours. He’s also going to give us what we can handle. If I had gotten more money earlier when I didn’t know how to handle it, I would have spent on things we did not need, and not saved enough for the future.
Claudine Moses says
Hi Bob, first time commenting. Love your work and what God’s doing through the blog.
One thing I had to come to term with was stewardship as God blessed my tithing/giving. He was blessing but I was being not necessarily being a good /wise steward of the blessing. I think we have to throw that in the mix whenever we talk about results. Made a huge difference in my ‘measuring’ when I adjusted my perspective and responsibilities for the blessing.
Thanks again for the great content!
Jason Forward says
YEARS ago I went to a winter retreat where it was -20 degrees. I remember my breath crystalizing and then vanishing. It was cool, but VERY insignificant as far as the rest of my life is concerned. If God says our life is a vapor, here and gone in a moment, why are we so caught up with it and not focused on eternity? So many people tithe because they have been told bad theology, that they will get monetary blessings and become rich. Don’t you think that if God is concerned with eternity, those blessings just may be eternal? I have always tithed and there have been times where I was in tears because I couldn’t pay bills. Then after they were paid, I was in tears because the math didn’t add up no matter how many times I went over it. But, by Gods grace, there was somehow money to pay them. He truly did take care of all of my needs. Like Bob, I have found hundreds of dollars that I am spending frivolously and now will better allocate. Tithing can be out of obedience, an act of WORSHIP, done to bless others, but should never been done for selfish gain. He WILL take care of your needs and you WILL be blessed. But open your heart to that being something bigger than just having more money to spend.
Do your best to tithe, but God doesn’t expect your kids to go hungry so you can send Him ten percent. Also, if finances are really, really bad, tithe your time. Volunteer, help someone you know (the old woman down the street that can’t mow her own grass, the new parents that just need a break, or the family that’s losing everything and just needs someone to talk to). I started tithing around 1996. And while I got yearly raises that were good, I really didn’t feel “blessed” in any new or different way. Fast forward to 2013, in a year and a half time period, I lost, right at, half my family. They died one by one through various illnesses. To say I was devastated doesn’t begin to cover it.
People that I didn’t even really consider friends were there for me. Money came in for funerals. So much support…support that I really needed. I became like an emotional wreck during this time, so much so, that everything became too much. Events that I’d normally glide right through became so overwhelming that I couldn’t deal with it. So God gave me an out. Literally, I was able to quit my job and focus on me. I’m not rich, and people keep asking me how I can do this, but Got has provided. And he keeps providing. I fully believe this is because of my years of tithing. You may not always get cash in hand, but rest assured, that God will provide when you need it most. And in the most miraculous ways!
Right. I was SO OFFENDED that the people “in ministry,” to whom I’d given enough to buy a car. while I was cruising around in a powerchair using buses for the disabled, had no room for me at their Christmas gathering (I’m serious. I was told it wasn’t feasible for me to come, but they had a gift coming for me. I waited all day Christmas for a gift that never came, then at 11 PM an email came in. With tears streaming down my face I watched my “Christmas gift”–a video of their gigantic family gathered around the piano, singing ‘”Silent Night” to me. Oh, and at the end they wished me a merry Christmas. Lol). At any rate. not only was I financially ruined by this (I ended up filing bankruptcy), but I realized WHY would God want a tenth of my MONEY. but not ME, not my company and my service to Him? A lot of greedy pastors/people in ministry are using that verse in Malachi for their OWN GAIN, pure and simple. From now on I will lay aside weekly as Paul said–HE never said to tithe money (and that verse in Malachi is regarding grain anyway).
Michael Harris says
Tithing has always been a choice for my wife and family and we don’t think a lot about it. God’s word speaks about tithing and gives beautiful illustrations of it as well. But in my study, I believe those tithers had a choice as to whether or not tithe. But it is also interesting that in the book of Acts we see an illustration of people who decided to hold back on God and we see the end result. And lastly for us, tithing is a lifestyle that we have taught our family and it is a blessing to see our sons joy in the fact that they decided to tithe. not so much because they read it in the word themselves, but because of the teachings and lifestyle my wife and I live. We just trust God and give according to how He leads us and blesses us, wholistically. Our tithing is more than just money but in everything we do. I believe we need more writers who touch on subjects like this because in many churches it is not taught or even suggested.
Meghan Mercado says
Hi Bob! I must say I was hesitant to read your article. I was afraid I would disagree. But gladly I don’t! Thank you for sharing your experiences and encouraging your readers in giving. I recently read/heard less than 5% of regular church goers tithe. What a sad, disobedient group we are.
Bev M. says
Thank you Bob for the article and thank you Kevin for your comments. I agree with Kevin. God is more concerned with our heart and our intention rather than grudgingly obeying his statutes. We must give with a glad heart, absolutely, and rejoice in doing so. I believe we should be giving of our time and money to care for all his people (that is christian or not), not with an expectation of getting rewards back – our reward is in heaven. Having said that, a good and faithful servant who uses his provision wisely I think can reasonably expect to be provisioned with more of whatever it is, to use for His purposes, not ours. Time, money, love for others, skills/talents …..
I also think that not everyone is equipped to deal with a lot at the same time. Maybe God knows that what is best for some people is gradual increase and even then maybe only to just what we need, not more than we need. Money is blessing but it can also be a curse, depending on the person and the situation.
God does provide by reducing expenses. We called around a few months ago to find a cheaper car insurance policy, and couldn’t find any for less than we were paying. About a month ago, we got a letter out of the blue from our insurance company that they were lowering our rate!
When tax time came, we were looking at having to pay in almost $700. I prayed for God to provide for us. Every day I got the mail waiting for some sort of check to cover the amount we owed. No check ever came. Finally on April 14th we decided we would just file our taxes and see about a payment plan. When we opened up our tax information, we found out that the penalty we were expecting had been waived. We didn’t owe anything! God is so good!
Thanks for the article! The question I am going to ask is one I’ve asked many times (to many different people) but never get an answer, I’m hoping you can help. I am on disability, I receive $800 a month. I have 10,000$ debt )mostly student loans. I’ve been tithing for years. Is my tithe actually not benefiting the charities I give to because this money isn’t from work with my own hands? Should I not be giving until I start making my own money ( something I am frustrated over because all I have is time but I don’t know what opportunities there are to earn from home). Basically, is my giving not able to help ? -I’ve never reaped anything from it for years and I was thinking this is the reason. Thank You!
Rowan Lewis says
Bob, thanks for a very humble yet brave article. And thanks to everyone else who has commented. I can testify to the blessing of God to his children in all seasons of life. God’s covenant with us is based on his character rather than ours. It is a matter of the heart. However, Bob’s point that if we are more intentional about being obedient to tithe, while tracking our acts of obedience (faithfulness), has great merit. It can empower our testimony, and deeply nurture our faith. The fruit is seldom directly financial.
My experiences have taught me that:
Tithing puts us in a position of vulnerability and dependence on the Lord. Then, within that dependence, the seed of faith (that trust element in our personal relationship with God) gets nurtured. I believe that God’s intention here is to make trusting him more personal for us; to step us out of mechanical ritual for reward, into deeper dependence on our Father as his child; to help nudge us from an intellectual mind relationship to connect with our emotional, vulnerable heart; from self-dependence, to dependence on- and obedient submission to our Lord as a matter of our CHOICE!. “Many are called, but few are chosen,” (Matt. 22:14). God chose us! Being the chosen object of God’s love is our privilege and gain. Tithing is one way we can express our choice to love (and trust) God in return.
Heartbroken and Broken says
I guess I’ll be the bad guy and say that this article just like the good Lord has failed to deliver. There is always a catch that’s our fault that can explain away God’s responsibility in all this. People reading this can call me out on my lack of faith, my anger, frustration, and disappointment. That’s fine. I’ll accept that. I’m tired of my memory recalling the “teacher” of God’s word implanting his lies on me with promise after promise of how easy it is to give and how many blessings I’m promised only to see nothing of the sort come to fruition decades later. Then read excuse after excuse of people forcing “things” into the situation that clearly was not said in the Bible. He didn’t say anywhere in the Bible to give and he will help you budget. Budgeting is your problem. He said clearly to give and it be given to you. But once again The Christisnese speakers will spin his words out of context so he is off the hook. Are you afraid his word holds no value? The only thing I’ve learned is that givers attract takers. People and churches in God’s name will shame you for not giving until you are hungry, take your money and you get nothing in return but regret.
Financially wise I’ve given one third of all the money I’ve ever had and I have no blessings to show for it. Who gives an abundance and expects mediocrity? I jump up and down and run around the church because my life is the same,but I’m in debt from giving? So I read an article that once again sticks up for a god who refuses to honor his word. I No church or god should make anyone choose between food, debt or some stupid sound system for a mega church that has the money already. Why does the church depend on mans money and we depend on god? Shouldn’t the church wait for God like we have to? Why do these mega churches who claim to run like a business never return the profits to the shareholders? Oh because it’s a business only when it’s convenient. 40 years and counting and still no blessing. You all are assuming I want a return in the form of money. Nope I prayed for an opportunity to work my passion, and this God of Abraham has failed me. I prayed for my passion to reap what I showed. I showed up and sowed up until I cried. Nope. Failure after failure. No answer or direction. Just a liar who brainwashed me in my youth and left me when I needed him the most. Challenge me on this and I’ll prove you he’s a failure. It’s a damn shame to know someone is being born that will be blessed with the opportunity i prayed for and all the tithing praying and faith can get shut down with Gods plan. Nope just gotta sit back and watch someone on tv tell me that them and god did this and for me to keep believing. I prayed, did the due diligence to prepare for what I asked for, went above and beyond to help other people, tithed to church and gave to other people, stood when all I could do was stand, and nothing. The only thing that multiplied was time. I can’t get my youth back and I have no chance physically to do the things I once did to get me back to where I was to do the passion I once had. You can stick up for him all you want, but Gods plan broke my heart and drove me away from him.
The sad part is someone is going to try to throw some damn scripture at me at how I used God as a vending machine, or cosmic butler. Ok fine but I only took in faith what I was taught. What is faith then? I didn’t know the creator of everything would be so hurt that I asked him for something especially when he said, “Is there anything too hard for the Lord?” The dude stretches from alpha to omega? Give the damn ant what he wants! My point in all this is simply if he didn’t want me to ask for anything or if would be so hurt about requests why even brag about that or even write it down?
I’m sorry to vent but my anger rises like a volcano. I’m not looking for an answer at this point because an answer is useless. Unless Mr Too Hard for Lord can make a time machine I’m done with him and his son.
Victor T. Stephens says
This message is for “Heartbroken and Broken”;
I encourage you not to allow proponents of tithing to hinder your faith in God and His Son. Factually, tithing is false doctrine … tradition at best, and outright theft by deception at worst. God never commanded the new covenant church to pay monetary tithes. Today’s version of “church tithing” bears little to no resemblance to the actual biblical tithe; and thus is a reinvented version designed by man.
I also encourage you to seek out a biblically sound, non-tithing church. Admittedly, they may be difficult to find, but it is worth the effort. In the meantime, I recommend that you follow the Berean model (Acts 17:11) and search the scriptures for yourself; pray and ask God for the wisdom and skills to interpret the Word of God in proper context (2 Tim. 2:15).
And lastly, 2 Corinthians 8:12-14 says:
“For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have. For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack—that there may be equality.”
2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”
It is interesting how many professing church leaders read into the latter passage what it does not say. What is does say is that each person “PURPOSES IN HIS HEART” how much to give. This verse says nothing about tithing as a minimum standard.
There are many false doctrines … such as tithing being promoted in today’s modern churches. So, please be aware and use biblical discernment and test everything by the Word of God in context.
Ann Waller says
To Heartbroken and Broken,
I know how you feel, my husband and I are going through our own financial crisis and I have felt much like you. I think about the Bible and how contrary the scriptures can be from one to another and how manipulative it can be as far as being written in such a way that it holds fault and excuse in every situation as though it is written to cover it’s own butt if it doesn’t work. After all, the Bible was written by men, not God Himself, but said to be inspired by God. Then again, the Bible can just be one big metaphor of a life source that is not at all personable, but rather its power is attracted by our own expectations from a life-giving perspective.
Regardless, there is a Life-giving power that exceeds our sicknesses that I have been healed by several times. Some things I managed to bring healing to, and some I did not. Each time was through the “Spirit of Healing.” Maybe we should think differently who God really is and focus more on attracting the spirit of life in a life-giving way rather than trusting in God as a being/father. That by attracting the Creator life-Source as a power only, we will take more responsibility in how we go about attracting and receiving from it.
I am also having my doubts about Jesus that he was actually born from a virgin by God’s intervention, and that he died for our sins along with the rules we won’t go to heaven without believing, being baptized, etc. It has never resonated with me as true, but it can be “used” and it can work due to what faith can produce one way or the other. That Jesus was also written as a metaphor in means of helping one overcome ones self-condemnation so they could be effective from their own faith with that life-giving source. I have taken many things into consideration due to what has produced and what hasn’t throughout my faith walk.
No doubt, the Bible does produce faith that can move mountains, but it metaphorically speaks.
And yes, it is easy for a preacher to preach on tithing and giving if all they have to do is sit back and preach and take in money from it. Then they write books about the same things to bring in more wealth. I was going to a large church and find that the musicians get way too much attention, more than the source of our true deliverance, healing, financial blessing, etc. People go to church for the entertainment and preacher-humor. Of course, the Divine life-giving source can use it regardless to motivate faith in the way of true blessing just by making ones life more positive and expecting. It can motivate us to make us more caring and responsible in good ways. What really gets me is how they will call people to go up for prayer with a line of prayer givers in front of the platform of music so loud you cannot even tell the prayer giver what you want prayer for. I don’t bother going up anymore.
At one time in my life when I left the church to explore other “good” spiritual ways of life and healing, I met allot of loving caring people in them too. One time my adult daughter had a migraine and I hated that the migraine was steeling her of having a nice day. I was driving and she was on passenger side. I told her I was going to pray over her, not in the name of God or Jesus, but just to believe that we already had that life-giving power (dominion over our lives) in us, so I put my hand out over her head and I said, “I command you headache to go, you do not belong in Suzy and you have to go now! for she is created healthy and whole and therefore she is!” Suzy told me she felt something like a bubble come out of her head and the headache was gone. This told us both that we did not have to exercise the Bible as written, but to take in account that a life-giving power already exists within us to give from in life-giving ways. To never think we should have better than anyone else, but that we all should believe and live in goodness for all. That this beautiful divine source of life is and always will be living within us to give from and to expect from for living good. That it is not something distant, but something we already possess, and for good life-giving purposes.
We have basically made the wisdom of the Bible more-so religious than an actual guidance of love and true life-giving source/purpose.
Victor T. Stephens says
In Genesis 14:18-20 … although Abram gave Melchizedek a tithe before the Law of Moses, God never commanded it. A close and careful examination of Scripture will confirm that tithing prior to the Mosaic Law has its origins exclusively rooted in traditional pagan practice. The reason that tithing became incorporated into the Mosaic Law was on account of Jacob’s covenant tithing vow. (Genesis 28:20-22)
This is an abbreviated explanation. Please feel free to respond if there are questions.
Heartbroken and broken says
Thank you for your kind words, a light of hope in a dark cloudy sky. . I have vented and if I helped anyone especially while they are young to question their god then I can rest on this. I will not waste anymore space with my grief. Someone else had to hold this because I couldn’t carry this burden anymore. I feel ripped off.
Linda S says
Thank you, Bob! I was literally at wit’s end trying to figure out where we “missed it” on tithing and giving. I lost my job in May of 2018 and have been using our savings to partly help us. We have not stopped tithing and giving. I have been wondering and asking God why we haven’t seen a breakthrough. Finally, tonight I Googled those words basically and found your blog. My goodness!! It opened something up…I asked God again why we have not seen our finances increase to cover our bills. Suddenly, I started remembering things I should have tithed on…a shelf for sale that was given to us, other gifts we’d received in money and things, too! Then, reading all of the comments blessed me further. I thank and praise you Lord for this man’s faithfulness and his readers, as well! Please bless them real good in return!
Omar Williams says
I’m a bail bondsman. I’ve been paying my tithes faithfully since 2003. even down to any monetary gifts that I get I pay my tithes on that too. this year I had to pay 500,000 out @ one time. the scriptures says it would protect me. I’m so devastated. I had to pay that money for someone God could have just had arrested & protected me from having to pay out 500,000!! I know my tithes are the reason for me even having that money but why give it & take it away
Ann Waller says
Sorry to hear that Mr. Williams,
The Bible does say not to be a surety for strangers Prov. 11:15. We don’t have to be a surety for anyone, not even our family members. If we can and are able to, that is your choice out of love for them, but otherwise, their problem is their problem between them and God.
I pray God gives you back plus more.
When we get into circumstances like that, by just trying to do our job and believing God will back us up, unfortunately, I have learned too that it does not always work that way.
I always have to remind myself of the things God did do for me, and that was heal me a few times when I was sick. Instant deliverances on two occasions and 1 the next day following that according to my faith it would be unto me, and so I did and I was healed by morning. We wonder why some things happen and some things don’t. We don’t always get what we want, but He truly does want us well. So no matter what you face, just trust Him.
There are also things He has not healed me from. Maybe because it does not cause me pain and therefore I am not believing like if I were in pain. Wish I had all the answers. Just have to keep trusting God no matter what and search ourselves for what we can do to better ourselves and care for the souls of others.
Love & Prayers
Googled this subject this morning “started tithing and my finances got worse” and got your article. I’m not sure why I went to the internet for answers, but I am a little frustrated this morning I guess. I noticed in your article that you and your advisor list a lot of stipulations on Malachi 3:10 which, if you read the verse, God does not put ANY stipulations or requirements on His promise other than to “bring”…the action word…”the Whole Tithe” into His house. If God required his people to have all their ducks in a row, or the reasons you listed, before He would bless the Tithe, there would be no more Tithe because we are ALL Earth bound and imperfect, flawed, and subject to all kinds of faulty thinking. You may be right on with your attitude toward giving, but fail God’s standards in other areas of your walk. Bottom line do we trust God at his word….rarely does He say in the scriptures to “Test Me and see.”. So I guess I answered my own self today. God will keep His word, not because I do all the things you and your advisor added to Malachi 3:10, but because God gave me His word. Thank You Father God for your word. I am a sinner, but you are perfect. I fail all the time, but you are the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Dave, I am not sure I am understanding what you disagree with in the article?
I grew up in a Pentecostal, Charismatic Christian church and have attended these churches my entire life. In these churches I was taught what a gross tithe was before I could even read. I have heard Malachi 3:10 more times the last 60 years than I wish to remember. Since I was 20 I have tithed 10% of my gross salary and more in offerings every month even though some months I could barely scrape by. I regarded myself as a cheerful giver because I felt that I was being obedient to God. I did not give because I thought that God was going to turn me into a millionaire, I gave because I wanted to be obedient to God. At the age of 27 I got married to a Christian woman that also strongly believed in the tithing principle. Together we paid our tithes and offerings on our gross income every single month. For the last 20 years we felt led by the Lord to give 11% of our gross income and more in offerings every month(I now wonder if we were really led by the Lord or brainwashed by Charismatic preachers that preach every Sunday that you need to give generously and more than your best). Over the years we lived a very modest lifestyle because every spare cent we had went to the church. Yes, we did not lack anything. We had the basics; roof over our head, food on the table, clothes, and transport, but it did sometimes feel that the only people who were really prospering financially were the pastors with their “non-profit” ministries who preached tithing. These pastors were almost the only ones in the church who drove new luxury cars, lived in a mansion and went on overseas holidays. My entire life, my wife and I had to live very frugally with the income we had left after taxes, tithes on our gross income and offerings and donations to the local animal and homeless shelter. We have lived in the same house in the same run down middle income residential neighbourhood for the last 30 years, we have ridden in the same old cars that we have owned for the last 20 years, we have never gone on any holidays. Even though the income of my wife and I looks high on paper, after almost 50% of our income is deducted for state and federal taxes there is not really that much left. Deduct another 11% gross tithes(which is what we have been giving that last 20 years) and another 4% of our gross income for offerings and contributions to charities that really do need the income. The total deduction of our income is 65%. After all deductions have been made we as a family over the years have been left with only 35% of our original income per month. With this 35% income per month we had to make sure that all the basic bills are paid and still try to save up a nest egg for rainy days and retirement. Tithing 11% of our gross income and more in offerings was certainly tough as we had to live extra frugally in our household, but I always reckoned that things could be worse if we were not tithing so I continued handing large chunks of money over to my local Charismatic congregation every month. A few years back, at the Charismatic congregation that we attended, the pastors daughter needed an expensive eye operation to save her sight that was not covered by medical insurance. This was a pastor that lived in an expensive house, drove expensive cars and went on expensive holidays a few times every year-all things that I could not afford, yet he could not afford to pay for his daughters operation. I felt led to pay $8000 dollars of my hard-earned savings for this operation(this was in addition to all my tithes and offerings) and the pastor barely said thank-you. For the last 6 years we attended another smaller Charismatic congregation(about 200 people) as I had grown tired of the large Charismatic Mega Churches that spends more time preaching tithe and offering sermons than the actual sermon itself. This new church was in the school hall of the local High School and this pastor did not come across as being too greedy so my wife and I joined this church. Last year new information came to light in the form of highly confidential documents my wife and I had come across by accident at how the pastor of this church had enriched himself through his “non-profit” ministry. The only directors of his”non-profit” ministry is his children, children in-law, him and his wife. They have not paid any taxes on their income because the legislation regarding “non-profit” ministries enable them to “legally” enrich themselves with other hard-working peoples money. The pastor and his family all drove luxury cars and went on holiday once a month. It also came to light that the pastor also owns a lakefront vacation home worth $ 2million. He know claims that his wealth is from money he inherited from his dad, but some people that knew his dad say that the pastors dad was not a wealthy man. My wife and I have now left the church and are not interested in attending another church ever again. I have made my calculations-over the 40 year period that my wife and I have tithed, I have paid around $2,5 million in tithes and offerings(that is without compound interest). I feel so ripped off! I have now stopped paying tithes to a church. I could have been very well off financially today if I had just saved this money. Even my young adult son deeply resents me for paying all this money to the church instead of spending some of it on him for a few nice things over the years. Over the years we taught our son that God’s work comes first and that means that we have to do without luxuries in life and also do without a vacation every now and then. With all the money I have given to the church I could have afforded more than a few luxuries, I can tell you that. My son has refused to put a foot in a church for the last 15 years. The only church that my son has seen is the Charismatic church where most of the congregation are poor and where the Charismatic pastors uses the Gifts Of The Spirit to enrich themselves. Unfortunately, I feel that I have realised this too late as my wife and I were too brainwashed by the rhetoric of Charismatic pastors. At this moment I still give about 5% of my income to a homeless shelter, an animal shelter and a missionary, but I feel that I have given away so much in my life already that I want to stop these payments as well. I feel that it is time that my wife and I start putting our needs/wants and the needs of my adult son first for once in our lives. It is so ironic that the very pastors that preach and tell people to be honest when completing their tax returns are the very ones that don’t pay any taxes at all due to their profitable “non-profit” ministries. There are people that tell me I will go to hell because I have stopped tithing after 40 years of tithing. They tell me that I need to be obedient to God and give and that whatever happens to the money that I give away is of no concern to me. They tell me that if the pastors steal and mismanage money that they(the pastors) will one day need to give account of their actions. The Charismatic church has even prophesied clothes off our bodies where my wife had to drive back home in her jalopy wearing only her underwear when a female prophet prophesied that my wife had to donate her dress to a certain poor woman in the congregation. Why didn’t the female prophet or the pastors wife give the expensive outfits that they were wearing to the poor lady? Why did they prophecy that my wife who is already giving away a very large portion of her income to the church should give her dress away to the poor lady? We have really given until it hurts, but now we have become tired of the church hurting us. Every person should decide for himself/herself whether the Lord leads them to tithe, but as for me and my house we are DONE!
debra morgan says
You are doing the right thing and NO! you will not go to hell. take this time to relax and enjoy your life while you can. do the things that you have missed and buy the things for yourself and your son that you have been cheated of all these many many years. Don’t forget that God loves you very much and will understand this decision. Stop your tithing and enjoy your life…you’ve done more than your share….let it go, now is the time to breathe and laugh, travel and enjoy. God Bless you and your family
Confused with being obedient vs. paying bills & feeding the family ~
Ken Petty says
It is literally impossible to pay a tithe.
1) The tithe was never money. It was crops and livestock. (Some claim that crops and livestock were used because there was no money in those time. If that were true, then why did God say to convert the Festival tithe to money if the distance to travel to the Festival was too far? The money then was used to buy whatever the tither wanted for THEMSELVES to consume. Look it up!
2) The Levitical tithe belonged to the Levites and the Poor tithe belonged to the poor.
3) There were in FACT three separate tithes.
4) The tithe was part of the Levitical Law. If you want to keep the law of tithing, then according to Paul in Galatians, you are required to keep the whole Law, thus denying the Christ and putting yourself under a curse if you do not keep the whole law.
5) Those that teach tithing twist Malachi 3 twist it in order to gain money from you. That verse was intended for Levites, not the church.
6) Jesus never tithed nor received tithes. The apostles never tithed, taught tithing nor received tithes. The story of Ananias and Sophira was not a lesson on tithing. They were putting out that they were giving the entire purchase price of the land that they sold. They wanted to look good, have others admire them, whatever. The money was theirs to do with as they pleased, but lied about the intent instead. The lying was what led to their demise.
Shame on those of you who teach tithing and shame on you who buy into the tithing lie. Be a Berean.
Lance Marchetti says
I agree completely. Tithing was nailed to the cross with Christ, and is therefore no longer required in the New Covenant. Hebrews 7 explains this clearly. I am saddened when I hear Christians still ignoring this Truth.
Ann Waller says
Thank you Bob for such a good article. It inspired me since I have been using Biblical principles with my own tithing and giving and have seen no increase that we so desperately need at this time in our lives. For now, I have taken another route since this one has not blessed me, but your article has given me peace, patience and hope.
Hello there Bob,
Thank you for your blog. I live in rural Zimbabwe, southern africa & iam a devoted Christian. Our place is so remote, we dont have electricity, roads are bad & dusty yet i continue tithing. I have read, prayed, fasted and meditated on the issue of Tithing. At some point in life, i stopped tithing as i was not getting any physical results. Years later, my life became so bad and i ended up not affording food and fees for my kids. Why this now? I asked my self and went into prayer. God instructed me to start tithing, immediately after, my whole life was restored. My kids are in school, we have enough in our stocks. In most cases the rewards of tithing can manifest in our kids, family members and lastly God can give us Spiritual gifts by being obedient to His word which we cant see by our physical eyes.
Tithing has opened great doors in my life.
Jay McKinley says
Our net worth is over 170K net income60K plus lifetime pension21K too young for SS. We have tithed over15% for numerous years past. DEBT 000$. I have felt to become a dumpster diver. Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes and then told them to gather the leftover fragments that nothing be lost John 6:12. I would take only unopened often unexpired packages, clean and refrigerate them immediately, then later use them as needed. Is it only pride not to?
Bob, good morning! Just been assessing my life, and seeing what is happening to me I must say I come from a Christian background but my parents never taught us about tithing. In my early years I tried tithing although not strictly on the 10%, I gave what I afforded, I then reached a point where I made a standing order from my bank for my finances to be transferred to my church I also gave generously towards church projects and those in need. People I have helped have prospered, I have held good jobs,my relationship with God is great but I must say I have been struggling with obedience in some areas of my life but I have repented. My problem is I was layed off . I tried starting a business but it has not worked, whenever I tried to invest something happened and it collapse until I have felt like a Jonah, recently I put $8,800 in a friend’s business that was doing well It collapsed. I lost other money in mysterious ways, now I can hardly afford my rent I am 3 months behind. Although all this time I have experienced God supernatural provision I am anxious on what will happen because it seems nothing is forthcoming. I cannot afford to tithe now. I need Divine favor
Ronnie Alvarez says
The problem isn’t god it’s the church isn’t spending wisely or not using for his glory and they manipulate people for more wealth in their pockets. I don’t tithe to churches that don’t honor him or not providing teachings about him. They use the Bible to oppress the poor because we can’t give that much because our jobs we barley work to survive. Giving money to the church is good, but what if they don’t do what god commanded them. They misuse our tithings and keep it for themselves. We tithe because we need to keep the church to fuction to give teachings all over the world. God provide us all we need why do we need more blessings, we don’t need more blessings because he already provided us all we need. This is why people dislikes christians due to misuse of our tithes or forcing us to give.
Steven Cotten says
One thing that is not mentioned in the article is that whom you are giving to is just as important as how much you are giving. No one where in scripture is it told to give a tithe to the church. Scriptures mentions giving to the widows, orphans and the poor. If you want to give outside of your tithe to the church that is good.
I have heard plenty of false teacher say that the storehouse in Malachi is the church. That is a lie. Storehouse in the Old testament was literally a place where they stored the tithe (food).
Bob, you made a comment in another article that I 100% disagree with. You said that we should not worry about if the pastor does wrong with the tithe that he was receiving as long as we do our part. If we are to be good stewards over tithe we absolutely should be concerned with where our tithes is going.
So before anyone says tithing did not work for them, start giving to the poor and then watch God work.
I don’t even know what to say. All of this is so confusing. I want to say that God said Malachi 3:10 so why should we not believe exactly what it says? Different people here are saying don’t believe it or don’t expect it, and in the article “don’t think of a God as a vending machine.” I am a human being and I need help which God also says he will help me. “Test me in this…..” if God did not want us to do this why would he say it? Sometimes I feel like I do what God says and it hurts me. My mother used to always say “it’s better to marry than to burn.” I was so young and I believed my mother. Why should I have to suffer for that, but I am. I am not perfect but I try to do what God says and it bites me You know where. I just don’t know. He also says “I came so that you could have life to fullest, in abundance, until it overflows…” what does that mean? Cause I don’t know if I see it. I wish that life was good, not just for me but I know others that suffer, good people.
God has done some very good things in my life , but I am so confused and I guess I am not as they say “a mature” Christian. There’s so much I do not know. I keep tithing and praying but I still do not have the answers. Sometimes I feel like I get answers but sometimes I do not. I don’t know.
One other thing…. all of the other comments that are contrary to what the word of God says, I am going to choose to believe those comments are from the enemy and I am going to choose to believe what the word of God says, that “He will pour me out such a blessing that I will not have room enough to receive it.” I believe!!
From my recent experience (recent meaning within the last 12 months) … I spent too much to start my business and learned from that lesson. Then I hoarded too much–didn’t want to spend a dime that wasn’t necessary. Everyday I looked at my bank accounts and Excel spreadsheets watching my money grow. That wasn’t a good thing to do either. Long story short, God brought me opportunities to spend that money and this morning I “kicked” myself for what I thought was reckless spending. But guess what? God revealed to me all those moments/those services/those items I spent on is for the benefit of me and my business. I expanded my network and made real connections with people that are helping not only my business grow …but me also.
Michelle Smiley says
I have read many articles that say tithing in the NT church is unnecessary. That may be so.
However, I KNOW when I don’t tithe I shall face lack and it will take me a very long time to get out of it. This is in my personal experience
I agree with you Bob that there is no one answer and each of us should seek direction from God. And, I thank you for the reminder, it is not so much give and receive as the relationship – to look at the Giver and not the gift.
I grew up in a household where my parents were firm believers in tithing 10% of their gross monthly income and more in offerings and donations to the “charitable” work that the church was supposedly doing. Looking back…we did not experience any lack…we had food, a roof over our head and transport(2 very old cars), but my parents consistent tithing(they NEVER skipped one month) meant decades of very tight finances and missed opportunities for me and my siblings. I am not saying that you should not give to the church, but the church places a lot of focus on old scripture and interpret those scriptures out of context. For eg: Abraham only tithed ONCE in his entire life, Malachi 3:10 was meant for a very specific group of people in a very specific time in history. I think before you give away so much of your money first think whether it’s guilt because of the stereotypical Christian faith you have grown up in or is it really God telling you to give.
Miguel Lopez says
Great article. I love the dialogue and the openness that we can talk about real issues. Here are my thoughts. I have been saved since I was 20 years old, and I am now 33 years old. I began tithing the right away, never had a problem with it and still don’t. I spent most of my saved years broke and I tithed and stepped out in pledges for the church and when preachers would come and say, “God told me, if you give, he will provide the miracle you are seeking,” I stepped out and never saw the miracle. Now I never questioned God but rather I analyzed my situation.
God permits financial hardship. There is no way around it. He allows it to build character and trust.
God said, He gives us the power to produce wealth. Which means, it’s up to use to understand the economy. I stopped wishing for a miracle and went to school, got different licenses and worked different jobs to be skilled in various ways.
It’s our job to save and manage our resources. Downsize, create multiple avenues of income, create a budget.
I just think that churches should teach the full counsel of finances in church. Not just tithe and God will bless you. The word bless is too vague.
Churches should teach about careers, income, savings, debt, hardship, retirement.
I know this might sound bad, but you don’t need God to be successful. The word clearly says that wicked people are wealthy.
I enjoy talking about finances and I am currently writing a book about it.
Gary Thompson says
It doesn’t matter if you give cheerfully or not. The Bible says God ‘loves’ a cheerful giver, but God honors faithfulness. Rather you’re cheerful about it or not doesn’t mean anything. I’ve given faithfully since I was a teenager and still give faithfully to this day, and nothing has ever came from it. No, I’m not going to stop giving. But I really don’t think about it. I was raised that you tithe, the money isn’t yours to keep. It’s kind of like breathing to me. But in my 42 years I have never seen the window gates of heaven open up on me, my father, or my grandfather. We all live for God, my grandfather was a preacher, I am a preacher. I don’t preach on the blessings that come from tithing because I’ve just never seen it. I just preach to obey the Lord, and that is why I tithe.
Don Paul says
I was tithing as a young christian. I was eager to tithe because I loved God and wanted to do his will and show that he provides for his children. I was hurting financially with a wife and 3 children. As time went on, my house payment went unpaid, but I continued to tithe. I asked the church I was going to for help. I was asked if I tithed and how much. I was told the AMOUNT was low, and it shouldn’t be effecting my ability to pay. I asked my boos for a loan and he denied me. I could not pay for heating oil and my furnace quit. I was heating the house with my stove, and a fan to blow the heat to my child’s room. The water pipe broke and flooded. I was still tithing and trusting God. My wife left me and Took the kids. I got remaried. Still tithing. My new wife was a REAL christian, but had a hard time with my tigthing. I convinced her that God would meet our needs if we continue. She did. I lost my house and car. I asked my pastor what I should do. He asked if was tithing. I answered yes, and he advised that I tithe 20%, and tat God does not fail. Still I was financially strapped., so I asked the pastor and he advised I tithe 30% because he did and God will come through. I did and wound up living in my mother-in-laws basement. I was at that time very burned out, I could not work or even think. I was late on my child support, and became so discouraged that I quit tithing and was in a state of defeat and confusion as to why its it that I love God, worked hard, tithed above 10% and now this? A that time the flood gates opened and the money came in after sooo many years of failing in jobs, marriage etc. My then X-wife told me that the divorce was all her fault. That she just didn’t want the marriage any more. OK, my finances are OK, my X-wife was sorry for the divorce, I am financially OK, and I stopped tithing at the exact same time. I was very confused. 15 years of slowly losing it all, and suddenly things turn at the same time I stopped tithing!!! For years I was confused and hated to hear about tithing as I also saw sooo many others in the same situation I was in before. I would say “So how is tithing working for you?” The answer “I am trusting God”. That would get me sooo angry with the ministers who had more than enough that they would still listening to. I felt sooo sorry for them, that I could almost bend with inner pain. I was not mad, but did have a true and legitimate anger for this whole tithing thing that preachers were “In my mind” heartlessly preaching. I prayed and pleaded for God to show me what was wrong with all this and I would tithe again, but need to understand it. Years went by and all continued to be OK. THEN ONE DAY I GOT IT!!! I was reading the word of God and a scripture leaped from the pages at me. If God so fed the sparrow that neither sowed nor reaped, how much more will he feed you, oh ye of little faith! I Got it! I was tithing to please him, because I loved him and new he would meet my need because I am obedient and tithed. WRONG!! He will meet my need. PERIOD!! Tithe or no tithe! I was sooo freed up words could not justify the feeling. I now tithe knowing he meets my need and that tithing must be done with a giving heart of faith, and not of necessity. Giving out of necessity is being preached still today, but if you want to be free, just know that he will meet your need because he is God and promised that he will because of grace through faith, and tithing is a privilege and an act of faith towards the Lord, not necessity!
This is an amazing post. I have stumbled here from Google. I’m a single mom and I’m barely making it through. 3 years ago I was separated from God for a very long time. Then things change when I had my baby. I almost commited suicide with my baby because I was such in a dark place. But God reached out for me and I decided to humble myself and to come back to Him. I don’t remember the first time I started tithing but ever since I got back to God, His blessings and miracles are just keep flowing. You are right, His blessings not only come through money form, but sometimes through other things too. Like apartment, furnitures, clothes, etc. Currently, I get financial help from the government but as you know, it’s barely enough. But praise God because I never run out of food on my table. In 3 months, this financial help I’m getting, will be over soon. And I’m a little worried. I know I need to get back out there and get a job, I would really like that. But the only job I know is being a waitress or being a receptionist in a hotel. And these jobs require me to be flexible with my hours which I can’t because of my 2 year old kid. If I get someone to baby sit him, I’ll be just working to pay this person. It’s that expensive. Right now, I’m trying to enroll to a course (programming) to be able to get a 9-5 job, coz I think that’s what suites me right now. But honestly this job I’m trying to aim is not something I’m very passionate about. I chose it because it’s what hires right now. But deep down in my heart, like if the sky is the limit? I want to be a photographer. I want to shoot interior stuff for magazines, or food stuff for recipe books and some outdoor/travel stuff for travel magazines. This is what I want to do. The thing is I’m not sure if this is what God wants for me to do. That’s my problem, I’m not sure. Yes I have asked Him many times. I have some confirmations from a friend and from a “sermon” but I don’t know if I’m hearing it right. I try to ignore it but it keeps bothering my thoughts. But if I do this then my child and I will be starving, wait no, scratch that, coz God won’t let that happen. Now I’m speaking to myself though this comment box lol. I’m not sure if I’m confusing myself or it’s the enemy whose trying to confuse me. Anyway, I’m glad to have read your post. You have given me some things to ponder. I’ll come back again to read some more and if I’ll get enough cash, I’ll buy one of your books as I like to read and collect books about money management. God bless you and your family!
I’ve been trying to wrap my head (and heart) around the idea of tithing for quite some time. The following quote you shared in the comments helped me warm up to the idea better than anything I’ve read:
“All that to say, I really believe that God uses Father/child relationships to teach us about our relationship with Him. And as a Father, I want to bless my child, but if I got the sense that my child only paid attention to me just to get something from me, I would be hurt.”
Thanks for putting together multiple blogs on the topic and presenting various viewpoints!
Bob Lotich says
I love hearing that Matt. So glad it has been helpful. And feel free to DM me on Instagram to continue our convo – i’d love to hear about your giving journey!
Some people tithe their entire lives as faithfully and as cheerfully as you, and aren’t blessed back as you were.
God chooses who to bless according to his will, and it has nothing to do with how much you tithe, how cheerfully you tithe, or even whether you tithe.
I must presume it’s very easy for you to give away a million bucks when you’re financially secure, and post about it on the internet saying your wealth is the result of your own faithfulness toward God. It isn’t. Because if it was, God would be unfair to millions of givers who still struggle and who may struggle until their last day on this Earth.
God doesn’t bless everyone who tithe, I repeat, and not every faithful cheerful christian tither will die rich.
God wills, and that is all. There is no other answer, there is no formula to ensure God will follow through with Malachi 3:10.
When he doesn’t, we have two choices, submit to his will or rebel, but rebellion will lead to hell.
And that is the end of it, God is not a magic lamp you can rub then make 3 wishes.
Malachi 3:10 was a promise made locally to people living in that point in time, and is generally, grossly misinterpreted by most.
God’s will is sovereign and he owes us nothing.
Matthew Thompson says
Very good article my brother. I do agree on somethings but when you use Malachi 3:10 you are taking it out of context to meet your own thought or to say “Western Culture perspective”. Our country (USA) is pretty much individualism not collectivism. I see you use the words like “i” or “you” meaning singular. This country is all about (me, myself and I) But the Hebrew culture was (us, we and them). Let’s go back to Malachi 3:10. The word YOU is a Hebrew preposition, second person masculine PLURAL. You will not find this in the Strong’s concordance because it does not use or show prepositions but go to the original Masoretic Text. So the YOU of the text was not for me but for us as God’s people. Let’s talk about the word “increase” and “income” which is two totally different things. Income is man’s earned payment of his works or let’s say contract and INCREASE is from God’s labor. God was specific about what he wanted to tithe and it was never money. Was there money back then? YES, Malachi 3:5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his WAGES, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts. Look at the word WAGES ( שָׂכָר ) which means fare, fee, passage-money. The root word is שָׂכַר means (Hithpael form) to earn wages. His was based on a contract (man’s labor) He was not to tithe wages (money). So we can say based on tithe which really means 10% of Gods increase not man’s income. Why? Because man will not get any glory for what he achieves. That is a big problem in churches today. (BOASTING) The deep spiritual meaning of the word “increase” is God’s Grace. Why? Because God created (work) the tithe items in the beginning before man was formed. Man did not earn God’s blessing, it was his “Unmerited favor” (Grace). All through the old testament Israel failed over and over and over but God still bless them. I am not saying we should not give to the church or the body of Christ, WE SHOULD but I will go to the new testament when Paul said in 2 Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. This was in your article and I agree, beautiful. Please give, give and give. I like what Jesus said in Acts 20:35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE. Paul also said in Philippians 4:11-12 11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. Paul didn’t care about stuff but only that the word was going forward about the TRUE SEED, the Gospel. Remember atheist has the same practices that a lot of Christians have and that is a lot of money and materialism. The seed that needs to be sowed is the word of God. period!!! There is nothing wrong with enjoying the fruits of your labor. But when it comes to the Word it’s all about the Gospel. Sorry so long but I would love to hear back from you. Have a blessed day brother. Sincerely Brother Matt