There are certainly misuses and abuses of both the biblical interpretation and application regarding the answer to this question for us after the New Testament days, but that is not to hinder or excuse any Christian from researching and living by the question's answer. More so, it's never a 'should' but a 'want' (desire) to give. Giving is a desire when we become a Christian, in which we have trusted in Christ to follow him. There certainly seems to be extremes in life, especially regarding topics like 'church giving' or 'tithing', where one answers the question with pragmatic or spiritualized reasons to give or not give. Instead of extremes or bi-polar opposites, let's find sound answers and live differently than the world for the sake of God and his good news to the world.
Here are helpful and resourceful articles on financially giving or 'tithing' from Pastor John Piper through the Desiring God website.
- 7 Biblical Reasons Why to Tithe
- Is Tithing Commanded for Christians?
- May I Split My Giving Between My Church and Another Ministry?
- Do I Tithe to My Church or to God?
- Should All of My Tithe Go to My Local Church?
- What Should I Do If I Want to Tithe, but My Unbelieving Husband Doesn't?
- What Have You Done to Teach Your Children the Importance of Giving Tithes and Offerings?
If you want to, then hear me as a friend, sitting down with you with a light-hearted smile, with all seriousness, and years of research along with friends saying 'look at this (miracle, healing, etc.)' while redirecting you to be one not looking for any of those things but
“looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2 ESV)
Pastors, leaders, and overall churches (people) are led down a path of decisions of "how" to setup a context like a Sunday service, small group Bible study, kid's ministry, Sunday school, outreach ministries, and the path seems to never end (which is revealing in and of itself). The "how" mainly translates into setting the mood to keep the attention of people engaged or ensuring reverent order of tradition. Variables and conditions are looked through like that of curriculum or teaching content to location and even ambience to align and support the "how."
Keep it simple when reading the Bible by staying at the intersection of method, motivation, and message. (Footnote: We don't think you end up becoming culturally weird, socially inept, cultish, cliquish, unloving, and the list can go on when reading the Bible. We see these are the inevitable when we don't stay in the intersection.)
Have you ever felt like giving up or giving in?
Life brings pressures overwhelming and hard to endure. Successes, sufferings, or a mix of both squeeze us in directions like walking through the proverbial "valley of the shadow of death." Shadow darkness brings a sense of loneliness accompanied by despairing thoughts and emotions that can be physically exhausting. Pressures then reside outside and inside us creating an intense gravitational pull to pursue the quickest solution to escape.
But the pull seems inescapable, and we either want to give up or give in. Giving up becomes a way to quit and walk away from something. Giving in stays and goes with the flow. Neither work out in the end as helpful and interestingly the domino effect happens when those around us begin to give in or give up, leaving us in a perpetual cycle.
Jesus died on a Friday in history (to resurrect on Sunday). He either is a myth, legend, liar, lunatic, or Lord. If he's Lord, that makes that Friday a Good Friday. But, we don't worship a day of the week nor wait for a day of the week to worship him, we worship (life poured out) him. This is not nostalgia or wishful thinking. This is not blind faith or a leaping faith. This is trust in what is. This is trust in who exists.
As a friend, Christian, father, husband, pastor, and broken-sinner, I am utterly shocked at the weakness of men, especially those claiming to be Christian men. I have been one. You may be one. And so, envision me as a sincere friend like friends of mine, willing to lose everything to see you changed, with backbone conviction, staring you straight in the eye with full understanding of what has happened in your life, with an unwavering, deep, and slow voice saying, "You are weak."
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy. King Solomon in Proverbs 27:6
If God does not inspire you, then someone or something else does. God exists or he does not. As he does exist, he created the world and life to inspire you to trust him. There is too much evidence and revelation for the existence of God in which outweighs the horrific evils and abuses in the world. And in history, an old, wise king that turned his back on God, wrote to the younger generation about his mistakes:
God calls you -- the older in any generation -- to be believers in him. Believers are those that fear or stand in awe of him as more impressive than success, suffering, tragedy, money, fame, relationships, or anything else this world values or devalues. God's word ties in the need for people growing older in age to also grow humbler in trust of him. By that, the older generation becomes people who transfer more than mere money, habits, etiquette, resources, jobs, talents, and so on. They transfer the object of their faith. They transfer to the young the challenge, call, and command to fear and follow God -- the creator, sustainer, and savior of life and the world.
Fall 2015 through 2016, we are teaching through the Bible's New Testament book, Luke's Gospel for an introduction to Christ and Christianity.
God is. He exists. He is the only self-existing one with no beginning or end. He is the eternal source, creator, sustainer and sovereign ruler of all life. He is one divine nature (being; essence) in three person unity (trinity): the Father, Son and Spirit. He is perfect with no wrong, sin or evil found in him or from him. Evil is descriptive of anything or anyone separated from and lacking relationship to God. God is holy, completely separate and distinct from all else. God is described with countless more characteristics and attributes including good, loving, truthful, just, supreme and glorious.
Example passages to reference:
Genesis 1:1, 26; Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 3:16-17 and 28:19; Jude 20-21
God created the entire universe and world by his spoken word, will and design for his pleasure, good and glory. God used six days to create by his power, process and pattern. God designed mankind to be in his image, likeness or similarities. God's design for mankind include being spiritual, relational, physical and emotional in order to enjoy him, his creation and one another.
Through the first five days of creation from space, galaxies, stars, sun, moon and planets to the earth's oceans, land, animals, insects and so on, God intended mankind to learn of his greatness, grandeur and glory. On the sixth day, God created the first human, a man he named Adam. God commanded Adam to manage and work the created world, and within this God created the first woman, named Eve, to be his helper and wife. God intended their names to reveal the beginnings of mankind as Adam, means from the earth or dirt, and Eve means the mother of all living.
Humanity lives in God's constant reminder of who he is, his creative power and his purpose for the world to trust him.
Example passages to reference:
Genesis 1-2; 1 Timothy 2:13; Hebrews 1:3 and 11:3
God reigns and rules over (supremacy; sovereignty) as well as guides and engages (providence) his creation, knowing from beginning to end -- everything and everyone. He sees and knows all, and he acts upon his own desires, character, attributes, purposes and plans. Nothing or no one directs or redirects him, though he listens and loves as the greatest one to exist and rule. All nations are to hear, trust and follow him. His creation, including mankind, learn to humbly submit to, fear (awe) and follow him.