My Problem with Tithing

7 O God, I beg two favors from you;
let me have them before I die.

8 First, help me never to tell a lie.
Second, give me neither poverty nor riches!
Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.

9 For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord ?”
And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.

This man, Akur, prays to God asking for honesty and satisfaction. He asks for God’s help with his integrity. That he will “never tell a lie.” I’ve never thought about praying that for myself. I’m all for it.

It’s that second part that really tripped me up when I read it. He asks for “neither poverty, nor riches”. I read it twice, and still my heart ached. I just didn’t want to pray it. How evil is my heart when I won’t pray for satisfaction and contentment from the provider of everything?

God’s word is a light and revealed the ugly truth in my heart. I have greed in me.

I sure as heck don’t want poverty, but I’ll take riches. I could totally go for some “riches” right now. I’m trying to buy a house and get out of debt from the last one.

Sign me up for some riches.

What does all this have to do with tithing?

The wife and I are not consistent in our giving. Generally, it’s because we forget the checkbook on Sundays or just space on writing that check. So, really, we haven’t been giving/tithing for quite a while.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve been struggling with why I should be tithing. My reasons and motivations for it. I know that God commands it, but it’s wrong to give as if it were an obligation. I know that God promises to bless me if I give, but I don’t want to give with the expectation that God will bless me. I don’t want to feel entitled to blessing like he owes me something. That promise is something to rest in, not to be expected.

I’m sure the scripture says something about giving with the wrong motives.

Then why should I tithe? What is my motivation?

It is for my own heart that I must tithe. I do it because I don’t want that root of greed in my heart. The only solution to greed is generosity and the surrender of control. I tithe so my heart knows that it is God who controls my life and my finances.

It was awesome. Right as this revelation hit, the song “Wholly Yours” by DC*B came on my iPod.

So here I am, all of me
Finally everything
Wholly, wholly, wholly
I am wholly, wholly, wholly
I am wholly, wholly, wholly Yours

I am wholly Yours

I am full of earth and dirt and You

Why do you tithe? How has God used his word to reveal evil in your heart?


~ by mitchbolton on August 31, 2009.

6 Responses to “My Problem with Tithing”

  1. I feel that the tithe is an act of OBEDIENCE and recognition that none of what we have is actually ours. Once you go beyond the tithe into an offering, then you get into matters of generosity and blessing.

    I know people say a lot that God blesses you when you tithe, but, really, I think that’s a slippery slope toward the health and wealth thing. People probably notice blessing more because when you’re writing check and making withdrawals for $200, $300, $500/month or whatever it is, that makes you take notice of your finances. You pay attention to what you’re spending and where everything is going and suddenly, you’re making ends meet, you’re paying off debt, and you’re giving more generously.

  2. Good post, and you’re not alone. I’d take some riches too.

    I tithe because
    – it’s not mine to keep
    – it makes God happy
    – it keeps me as a slave to Christ
    – and yes, because God says so

    Sometimes I think that last one is enough. Should I do it with right motives, etc? Sure. But just being obedient is a great start.

    There’s another reason I tithe, and this one is scriptural but practical:

    Imagine what the Church could do if we all truly tithed and our leadership truly was faithful with managing the tithe. And notice I did NOT say imagine the cool church buildings we could build.

  3. Tithing is always tough to talk about. Personally, I find it works best if I just do it. Don’t over-think, don’t over-analyze, don’t mentally calculate how your student loans would be paid off if you didn’t tithe (gulp), just write the check.

    Another thing that probably helps me is that my church asks folks to pledge what they’re going to give for the year and they use that to determine our annual budget. So every year I figure out what I think I can give and make a pledge to give that amount. I end up being very consistent because I know the church meeting its budget is dependent on me meeting my budget and following through on my tithe. And if your church budget is anything like my church budget, it needs all the help it can get.

  4. I tithe because it’s a requirement of my job at the church that I work at.

    Ok… that’s not REALLY why I tithe – but… the statement is true. Before we took this job, my wife and I were cheerful and faithful givers. We tithed because we believed that God deserved our first fruits and that He would bless us in our faithfulness. We used to write checks for our tithe, and seeing that money go into the offering plate was a big part of our heart behind tithing.

    Now… it’s a requirement and we use online giving. The combination of these 2 things has, for the most part, taken the joy out of giving/tithing. We have to intentionally find ways to find joy in our giving and, for some reason, it’s not as easy when everything is automated.

    It’s posts like this, and transparency like yours, that remind me why we need to continue to stretch myself in our giving so that can continue to change my heart.

  5. Nobody tithes today because true biblical tithes were always only money from inside Israel. Money was common but it was never included in tithing. And those who were not food producers inside Israel did not quality.

    God only commanded Old Covenant Israel to tithe to support those workers who forfeited property ownership. God never commanded the church to tithe after Calvary in terms of the New Covenant.

    Stop beating yourself up over a false doctrine and follow 2nd Corinthians 8 and 9.

  6. Great site…keep up the good work.

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