Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Must we Tithe our way to blessings?

6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. Hebrews 8:6 NKJV

Send it down. Send the rain of blessings. A shower of financial blessings. Intrigued? Are you desiring this to manifest in your life? If you heartily agree, then there is just one step you must take. You need to take a tenth of all you earn and give it to a local church or donate to a television ministry. 

 You may say well I've been doing this since my youth. Great! Now continue in this practice. Well, you may say I've been giving this much and more and don't seem to have these showers of blessings you speak of. You just need to keep on Tithing faithfully. No matter what it appears like, just keep giving.

 Does any of this discourse sound familiar to you? Has this scenario ever occurred in your Christian experience? What are some characteristics of this dialogue? Promised, unforetold wealth and abundance. A life living above circumstance. All of this contingent upon your willing financial exchange. 

 This is the proverbial fine print. Your blessing resting upon all you can do. My earlier words may convey a flippant tone to some. I may come across in a facetious manner but this is not the intent. I say all these things to bring wisdom and truth to an often mistaught and distorted subject.

 Many believers are on the receiving end of this endless performance rooted financial program. Christian giving is being redirected toward this giving in order to get or receive mindset. This type of giving is a compulsory, pressure induced, fear based standard.

 Take note on how the Apostle Paul received an offering, (here). One can note, no pull or pressure. No promises that if you are consistently giving God will pay off your mortgage. The motive of the heart is clear as well as the amount.

 Paul's standard of giving is to give as the Lord has increased you. This standard isn't a one size fits all. This is yet another proof that the practice of Tithing isn't a New Covenant standard for giving. Certainly this does away with the erroneous gimmicks concerning Tithing. Leaders offer the challenge, give to God ten percent regularly and in three months see how blessed you are. This is an obvious gimmick. Who is going to actually confront the leadership of a church and say this didn't work for me? They'd respond by saying either it did work but you just haven't seen it yet, or your "heart motive" was wrong.

Faith in a formula or Faith in the Finished Work?

 I've stated in the past if you're trusting the Lord for healing or any other need to be met, don't look at circumstance but look to the Finished Work. Have faith in His Faith and Finished Work. Certainly, no one has the answer this side of Heaven as to why some don't always see the answer to their prayers. We should not accuse and find fault with other believers regarding this issue.

 That stated if we are given a formula we then can certainly judge its validity by its "fruit" and success. Preachers of tradition are teaching that if people give ten percent of their income all these blessings will overtake them. Their possessions will be protected from damage. Their challenges will be overcome.

 We can look at the lives of those who have acted upon this appeal. They're not abiding in realms of untold riches. There are single moms who can't make ends meet yet their church elders are still demanding she continues giving at least ten percent. I viewed a TV minister during a Q&A respond to a tithe question. 

 In this interaction, it was revealed that the son was now responsible for his ailing elderly parent's finances. They had Tithed much of their lifetime. They had to cease from Tithing due to the medical bills. Their son, now in the custodial care of his parents, was in charge over their finances. He wanted to know if he should Tithe off this money now. The preacher was adamant. Of course, he should Tithe on their money. By Tithing, their healing and wholeness could come to pass. 

 My question to the minister would be, what about all those years they Tithed? Did God not count that? Why did they get so ill in the first place? They Tithed didn't they? The reality is we live in a fallen and fractured creation. Promises made by men that if you donate a certain amount that you will never have trouble, are just that the promises of a mere man!

 Salvation comes from the Finished Work. Our part is simply to respond in simple trust. Healing and blessings and redemption originate from the Cross. Yet when it comes to receiving wisdom, insight, favor, blessings or healing tradition teaches your performance, your faithfulness, your level of faith, your commitment, and how much you give or whether or not you Tithe is the added requirement to receive.

 Man made traditions exalt performance and formulas over the Finished Work of Christ. If the foretold promises of abundant return on your giving don't seem to manifest these teachers are quick to point at your performance as to why you fail to receive what they promised. It's time to be free from this bondage.

 All favor and blessing are found in His Finished Work. Paul declared we are already blessed in Him. 
How we praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every blessing in heaven because we belong to Christ. Ephesians 1:3 TLB
 We are the blessed because we are in Christ, not because we give some set amount of money. 

 Pause and reflect on your salvation in Christ. What did you do to receive it? You simply placed your trust in Christ to do what you couldn't do. You trusted enough in His once for all sacrifice to allow Him into your life. He then made all things new and gave you perfect acceptance and His righteousness. You didn't do anything to merit this or achieve it. Yet when it comes to blessings or any other promise from God we have added stipulations.

 Imagine if we did this when it came to salvation? Can you picture the words of men used in the context of your salvation?

"You asked Jesus into your life, but you worry too much, so He didn't save you."
"You sought the Lord for the forgiveness of all your sins, but you haven't been giving ten percent of your income, so when you begin giving ten percent faithfully, then He will forgive you."
"You asked to receive His righteousness but you haven't maintained proper speech, this and your lack of faithfulness makes your request void."

 In this New Covenant, we rest in His Finished Work and work of redemption. Once in Christ, you are redeemed from the curse. No matter how much you give or how faithful you are. You are redeemed, period. God our Father isn't the great extortioner. He isn't demanding a certain amount of money from you before He answers your prayers.

 New Covenant Tithing? No! New Covenant giving, directed by the Spirit and from a heart of gratitude for His generosity towards us. Don't be attached to a pressure filled standard of giving. Don't give based on necessity. Don't give out of fear or superstition, the delusion that if you don't give some catastrophe awaits. Give from a heart transformed by His amazing Grace.


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