While King Jesus was here on earth He never instructed His followers to pay tithes. He did state to give to the poor. Notice what He stated to the rich young ruler. Someone came to Jesus with this question: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?”
“Why ask Me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. But to answer your question—if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.”
“Which ones?” the man asked.
And Jesus replied: “‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“I’ve obeyed all these commandments,” the young man replied. “What else must I do?”
Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.”
But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Matthew 19:16-22 Notice that not one time did Jesus mention to the rich young man to pay tithes (a tenth of his wealth). What He did state was to sell his possessions and give to the poor.
The story of the rich young man was also recorded in Mark: Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” He told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.”
At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!” This amazed them. But Jesus said again, “Dear children, it is very hard to enter the Kingdom of God. In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” Mark 10:21-25
If you have the Governor—Holy Spirit—residing in you, He will lead and guide you as to your giving. Teaching tithing in the church has become vital to their survival. Churches need their bills and salaries paid. They raise building funds to build bigger buildings. These churches begin to have a great resemblance to the rich man building bigger barns. Then Jesus said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”
Then He told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’
“Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” Luke 12:15-21
We are all to be good stewards of what we are given. This is just as true for the church as the people. Is there lack in the people? How are the offerings being used? Is the church's overhead so much that they must choose between paying their own expenses or helping those who come to them with genuine needs? In many cases, we have lost our way and sustaining the church takes precedence over helping those with dire needs!
This is what I want you to understand: King Jesus knew what monetary riches would do to us. Ambassador Paul addressed this with the Philippians. And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 And here, Timothy addresses the issues with money: But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. 1 Timothy 6:9-10 This is true for all, including pastors and ministers and with their members.
My point is this, tithes in the New Covenant isn’t meant for the born again people of faith. Giving to the poor should be a priority. Giving whenever the Holy Spirit leads, is a priority. Read what the apostles did. All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need. Acts 4:32-35 This is God’s plan for His church. The people freely gave (not a “tenth”) and the money was used to care for the poor and needy among them. Not one time did the apostles instruct the people to pay tithes in addition to giving to the poor. Having said that, the question is, can a rich individual enter the Kingdom of God? The answer is yes, but according to King Jesus it isn’t easy. Then Jesus said to His disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” Matthew 19:23-24 But keep in mind, all things are possible with our Father. The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked.
Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” Matthew 19:25-26
If you really want to read something scary, read how riches distract people from the Lord God’s Kingdom and what ambassador James had to say to the “right believers” to whom he was writing. Look here, you rich people: Weep and groan with anguish because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you. Your wealth is rotting away, and your fine clothes are moth-eaten rags. Your gold and silver are corroded. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh like fire. This corroded treasure you have hoarded will testify against you on the day of judgment. For listen! Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay. The cries of those who harvest your fields have reached the ears of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
You have spent your years on earth in luxury, satisfying your every desire. You have fattened yourselves for the day of slaughter. You have condemned and killed innocent people, who do not resist you. James 5:16 James gave them the plain unvarnished truth of riches!
Keep in mind that a tenth doesn’t belong to the Lord God. It ALL belongs to Him. But He gives us access and its benefits according to His will! He is our good Father and He supplies all our needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:33 So why would we worry or chase after wealth and the world’s riches? Give freely on every occasion as the Holy Spirit leads you. You cannot “outgive” our Father. Yes, He will supply ALL our needs according to His riches in glory. So why would we waste our time and energy chasing after wealth?
Remember, your faith in the King is your greatest asset in the Kingdom, yesterday, today and forever!
D. Arlene Luchie
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