When people speak about tithing it is divisive. Some are for and some are against and usually, they’re both screaming at each other!
Most people would say it’s a con, a hoax, a joke etc. They say it’s no longer relevant and yet that wasn’t the case for me. When I was started tithing my life was in shambles. In desperation, I went to God for an answer. Sometime later the answer came back “start tithing.”
I’d like to say that I immediately took action, that I whipped out my checkbook and wrote my first check immediately.That I repented for my inactions. Nope.
I ignored the “answer” for some time. But after a while, I did start tithing. I did it as an experiment. I started tithing on unemployment checks and after some time I was tithing on a six-figure income.
The Benefits of Tithing
Now keep in mind I’m not going to tell you that if you tithe these things are going to happen:
- Your debts are going to be paid.
- Your mortgage is going to be forgiven.
- Your car is going to transform into a brand new BMW.
- The boss won’t be able to sleep until he gives you a raise.
- The CEO of the company you’re working for will see your name and face in a dream, seek you out, and promote you to a position you have don’t the skills or experience for.
Not at all.
I will say that there are great benefits to tithing that cannot be ignored. But let’s start from a Biblical point of view…and no I don’t mean Malachi 3:10!
1. The Bible
When the Bible speaks about the tithe it uses the Hebrew word “maaser”(pronounced mah-as-ayr‘). It’s used 32 times in the Old Testament. (Note: English is read left to right, Hebrew is read right to left.) The Hebrew language is a language of root words. Prefixes and suffixes are added to build on the meaning of the root word. So in this word, the first letter mem (מ) conveys this meaning:
Changing a verb into the noun of that word:
For example: adding mem “to preach” (verb) turns it into “preacher” (noun).
Now taking away mem (מ) from “maaser” we’re left with “aser” which means rich.
So another way of interpreting this is:
The “rich” is in the tithe.
or with “maaser”:
“The one tithing becomes rich.”
Whoa! Crazy, isn’t it?
2. State of the Plate
Let’ss look at some other other numbers: According to the landmark State of the Plate research – a multi-year research that documented the giving habits of thousands of givers – Tithers were more financially stable than their counterparts:
According to the author:
“People that follow biblical principles of giving also are much more likely to be wiser and more careful in their spending…It is important in preaching and teaching on finances and generosity to help people realize that generosity leads to greater financial freedom and stability, while not giving frequently leads to greater indebtedness and financial bondage.”
Could it be possible that King Solomon – one of the wealthiest men who lived had a point when he said, “Honor the Lord with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase; So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine.” (Proverbs 3:9-10 NKJV) or “There is one who scatters, yet increases more; And there is one who withholds more than is right, But it leads to poverty. The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself.” (Proverbs 11:24-25 NKJV)?
3. Chantel Ray
But there are even greater case studies about tithing. Before Chantel Ray. was a multi-million dollar real estate entrepreneur, she was a youth pastor making $9/hr. She was also using credit cards to survive. After several years of this she was $10,000 in debt and her cards were maxed out. One day she heard about tithing. Like many of us she said, “Yeah right! I can’t do this right now. Maybe when I start making some money.” But after months of fighting things continued to get worse and she took the leap of faith. Her first tithe check was $30. The next day she received a refund check of $300. She continued to tithe and a close family member felt led to pay off her debt. She continued to tithe and within a few months, she got a better paying job. She continued to tithe, in fact, she increased the amount. She began a new career in real estate, was the best salesperson, and eventually started her own firm.
4. John D. Rockefeller
But let’s look at another case study: John D. Rockefeller! Before John D. Rockefeller became the richest American ever. Before his wealth was 1.5% to 2% of the U.S’s GDP (his personal wealth $1.4 billion; the US GDP $92 billion). Before his philanthropy equated to hundreds of millions of dollars (billion adjusted for inflation) he learned how to give at an early age. His giving began with his first job as a clerk at age 16, when he gave 6% of his earnings to charity. By the time he was twenty, his giving exceeded 10% percent of his income. Much of it going to church-related activities. Rockefeller, a devout Christian, was always under the belief his success was divinely inspired. He said, quite emphatically:
“God gave me my money.”
Why did God single him out for stupendous wealth? He believed it was because he was a good steward. In his seventies he said:
“It has seemed as if I was favored and got increase because the Lord knew I was going to turn it around and give it back.”
I do know this: no matter what I say the debate will always continue. There are always going to be people for tithing and people against tithing. I can live with that. But tithing helped change my life and I hope that one day you can “experiment” with it and see what happens to you. What have your experiences been with tithing?