I’m often asked, What do you teach about giving? and Do you believe in tithing? Here are my answers:
We don’t talk much about tithing at Life Church. To be clear, tithing is a biblical idea, and even Jesus honoured the Pharisees for their commitment to tithing their mint, dill and cumin. However Jesus also said ‘Woe to you’ – in modern language, ‘Buddy, you’re in trouble!’ Why? Because they had neglected weightier heart motivations. In short, Jesus was showing us that we can tithe down to the last penny, yet completely miss it if our heart motivations are wrong – or even absent. So, as elders, we want to try to foster four healthy heart motivations:
- Obedience: Again and again the Bible speaks about the importance and priority of us giving of our material wealth. In light of this, giving is an obedience issue. Who will be king? Will it be King Jesus or King Me?
- Joy: In 2 Corinthians 9:7 the Apostle Paul says, ‘for God loves a cheerful giver’. This is wonderful, and safeguards us from cold and dead religious duty. Give because your heart is saturated with joy!
- Sacrifice: King David said: ‘I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.’ (2 Samuel 24:24b). Giving should hurt! I believe it should impinge on the things that we could do in life.
- Mission: Give to the mission that God has put us on together. Everything we do as a church is funded through the sacrificial giving of people who are part of this church. So please give to the mission.
Each one of these motivations will tug against each other, so you need to find the place where obedience, joy, sacrifice and mission collide and overlap.