COMMENTARY: Tithing Is For Gullible Christians…Not Economic Christians
BY: Kwesi Tawiah-Benjamin, Ottawa
At a point, one of my best friends was a Buddhist. He had been an atheist for a long time until he resolveditwas timeto believe in something. He decided the Abrahamic religions were too arrogant and didn’t quite give room for dissent. He found that those who subscribedtotheir teachings were usually very gullible and vulnerable. They were those who found it sacrilegious to pry into the wherefores of the very things that underpin their beliefs. He satisfied himself that Buddhism allowed him to think outside the defined confines of the art of living. He passed away three years ago. His name was Jason Roberts, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom. May Buddha keep his soul.
Jason was right about the gullible part, and maybe the vulnerablebit,too. If today a trusted archaeologist discovers the bonesofJesus ina certaintomb, Christianity will be the biggest fraud ever cooked. It requires some amount of gullibility and indeed some vulnerability, to believe that a certain gentleman died some 2,000 years ago and rose again, so all mankind is saved if they believe. Prof Richard Dawkins will not buy that and I don’t blame him. He is too intelligent to settle for a story. Jason didn’t buy it, too.
Now, the real test of the gullibility:Work veryhard, so hardandsign away10% of your hard earnings to a church or a pastor, and pretend that you gave it to God. Suddenly,you will be so blessed that you willnot have room for your blessings, pressed down and shaken together, running over until your blessings pour onto your laps. (Luke 6: 38). If you don’t do this, you are stealing from God. You will also deny yourselfyour blessings. Do it and He who walks on the wings of the wind will open the Heavens on your account and rain material prosperity on you and your generation, until you are too blessed.
Keep the 90% for yourself.Do whatever you want with it but the 10% is your first fruit, which comes back to your source of provision–God.The principle behind tithing is that you are merely making an acknowledgment that you may have worked hardthrough the month toearn yourwages,butthe source of your enablement–that which made all Grace abound to you (2 Corinthians 9:8), to be able to work in the first place–deserves a little bite of what He gave you. And it is not that He needs your money; it is because you are privileged tobe able to give unto Him who first gave you.
My great-great spiritual grandfather, the Archbishop Nicholas Boye Duncan-Williams, has often asked: What is it that you have that you did not receive? It is not so much that the hardworking reaped more, or that the swift galloped a bigger distance, but time and chance happenedtothem all.Itis Godthat showeth mercy. And He would have mercyonwhomhe chooses to have mercy, and He would show compassion to those that He decides deserve compassion. That is why He is God. (Romans 9: 15).
If God would bless me anyhow, whether I tithe or steal from Him by not tithing, then why do I bother to tithe? Why don’t I keep my money and decide to commit the same amount I would have paid in tithes to sponsora needy neighbor’s education? Isn’t showing a needy person some kindness pleasing unto God than giving the money to a bling-bling pastor who is alreadyliving in luxury? Or look at this way: instead of making a monthly commitment of GH400 to a church or a pastor with a guy-name (that is if your monthly salary is GH4000), I could add up the GH400 for a year or two and contribute the lump-sum towards a development initiative ina poor village community. And for those who live abroad, many have wondered whether there is wisdom in paying your tithe to your local church in Ghana when you worship ina new church in Atlanta.
Whenever we talk about tithing, a certainpresupposition is immediately operative: Where is the money going go? Perhaps if we were in the days of old where the currency for commerce was foodstuff or some farm produce, we would not find it necessarytodiscuss the economic merits of tithing. True, parting with a tenth of GH100,000 is not exactly an easy effort, but those who have dared to remain faithful have had reason to count a thousand fold of the little seed they sent away to God. It is a biblical principle, not an economic decision or an academic exercise. There are no pros and cons here; there are only constants: Fill the tithe card every month andsendthe money away.
The thing about being a Christian is that you cannot be too much of a Christian to know more than the Bible. Itdoes not matterwhat interpretation you give to Malachi 3: 8-10, or Amos 4: 4. Those who question the instruction ontithing are not Christians. Tithing is not for discussion; it is just to be obeyed. And often times those who find reason not to pay, citing context and Israel and Levites, are usually those who have neveractually tried paying any tithe at all in their lives. The pastor’s Bentley or private jet should not prevent you from obeying God’s word. His wife’s shoes and headgear should not stand in your way. Yours is to do it in obedience and watch Him exceed His promise.
Presently showing on Americantelevision is ‘Preachers of LA’, a documentary that has received a lot of commentary around the world. What does a man of God need a Bentley or a private jet for? Well, what does a CEO of a company need a great car for? My pastor doesn’t have a Bentley ora jet,butifhe had one, I wouldn’t revisemytithe payingcommitments oroffering obligations.Any pastor who buys a jet may have given away several jets to many others. And a Bentley is just an expensive car whose value can be quantified. Youcouldn’t put a monetary value on your faith. It is by faith that you dispense a 10thof your earnings to God, and it is by faith that you would receive the blessings that were promised Abraham. Tithing is an expression of faith, not money.
Unless you do not identify as a Bible-believing Christian, you are obligatedto pay up your tithe every month,andpromptlytoo.Ifyourchurch is richand your pastor owns a Rolls Royce, still pay up. Tithing is consecration, a private consecration which will ultimately reveal the public manifestation of God’s glory on you (Bishop John Francis, Roach, London). Ooops it is that time of the month. Where is my tithe book?