Jesus Doesn’t Need Our Tithe—We Do

                You heard it here, folks—Jesus Christ, the Son of God, does NOT need our tithe.  The Way, the Truth, and the Life has no need for our crisp or weathered green paper.  Jesus Christ will continue to be self-sustaining without our money…because He’s GOD.

                The tithe was not some diabolical cure that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit cooked up to save themselves from ceasing to exist.  Without our tithe, God will continue to exist, grass will continue to grow, and that annoying mutt next door will continue to yip (unfortunately).  So, let’s go ahead and pocket our tithe this week!  God doesn’t need it!  And before all the church finance directors, pastors, board members and more in all of Christendom decide to put me on a hit list, let me explain.

                We need our tithe—we truly do.  We all need to have a roof over our head, water, food, electricity, internet, furniture, cars, lawnmowers, insurance, savings, phones, gas, and more.  Also, there are bills from doctors, counselors, and advisors.  Did I forget to mention the occasional stranger who asks for gas money?  We Christians really need our tithe money because we’ve got more than twice as many things to pay for as everyone else in the world!

                It sounds like a lot, I know!  But, there’s a really simple solution to paying all of those bills!  We just take 10% of what we earn, pool it with our fellow Christians, pay off the second set of financial responsibilities together and reap the benefits collectively.  It’s genius!  Even better than a timeshare!  We call it “Caring, Holy, Unified, and Redeemed Christians Helping Expenses,” or C.H.U.R.C.H.E. for short.  Within our membership, we cover restrooms, coffee and muffins, extra Communion bread, a parking spot, a handcrafted wood seat, childcare, benevolent donations to others, access to biblical education classes, and free consultations from our spiritual doctors, spiritual counselors, and spiritual advisors (which may all be the same person).

                If you’ve endured reading this far, you probably see the angle I’m shooting at here.  God doesn’t need a tithe, but his people need to tithe.  In Scripture, when God’s people were called to tithe it was never about God needing it—it was about His people needing Him.  Tithing, in its simplest expression, is all about two things:  obedience and sustenance.  The people needed to submit themselves continually to the Lord’s will (obedience) and maintain the place where they met and grew with God (sustenance).

                There are many things in the Bible that we feel led to do but are not explicitly prescribed. There is not a verse in the New Testament where God requires Christians to specifically give 10% of their increase to the local church.  Though, we do see Jesus still encouraging the Pharisees to tithe (Matt. 23:23) and Paul encouraging the Corinthians to weekly set aside a sum of their income for collections (1 Cor. 16:2).

                Let’s take a moment and think about other things that Christians do but are not prescribed in the Bible…explicitly.  American Christians generally believe in reading the Bible daily, praying before every meal, attending Church every Sunday, celebrating Jesus’s birth every year on December 25th, and more.  Does the fact that these practices lack explicit biblical prescription keep us from thinking that we should do them?  Would we say that those ideas aren’t biblical?  Would we say that God doesn’t desire for us to do those things just because the Bible isn’t explicit about them?

                And so we tithe.  Christians tithe.  It’s just what we do.  Paul never said, “And all of us shall put 10% of our income in the offering plate each week in order to keep our church’s lights on.”  The people of our church (that’s you and me) need our tithe so that we can keep the lights on.  So that we can provide those who spiritually lead us with a livelihood.  So that we have a place to come and worship with our local brothers and sisters in Christ.

                ¶465 of The Discipline of the Wesleyan Church says, “Storehouse tithing is a scriptural and practical performance of faithfully and regularly placing the tithe into that church to which the member belongs. Therefore, the financing of the church shall be based on the plan of storehouse tithing, and The Wesleyan Church shall be regarded by all its people as the storehouse. All who are a part of The Wesleyan Church are urged to contribute faithfully one-tenth of all their increase as a minimum financial obligation to the Lord and freewill offerings in addition as God has prospered them.”[i]

                At its most selfish level, our tithe is really for us.  It’s so that we can keep worshiping God and loving the world with fellow Christians.  At its most selfless level, it’s so that the others around us can do those things as well.  Our tithing efforts, while a spiritual discipline, aren’t supernatural.  We’ve got to keep the lights on, in Jesus’ name, for others and for the sake of Christ’s gospel being spread. 

                When we surrender ourselves to Jesus Christ, it’s not as if we are handing over only the spiritual part of our lives to Him.  Full surrender to Christ is holistic—it involves our thoughts, feelings, behaviors, possessions, relationships, and everything elseThis post isn’t motivated by a desire for more fiscal power, but it is motivated in shaping wholesome followers of Jesus Christ.  And, if our hands cling tighter to anything other than Christ (pocketbooks included), we’ll be impeding on our own spiritual growth.

                Whoever lays down their life for the sake of Christ and His Gospel will surely find it (Mark 8:35).  And whoever lays down their finances for the sake of Christ may also find unsuspected blessing in the midst of surrender (Prov. 3:9-10).  So, yes, this post is encouraging us to tithe, but not for God’s sake—for our sake and the sake of our brothers and sisters out of obedience to the one who has granted us the financial blessing we possess.

Jared Webb, Assistant Pastor