What if our focus was not on how we fall short in our giving, but rather on what could we accomplish if we did give according to the Biblical challenge of tithing?
In his July 10th, article in Relevant Magazine, Mike Holmes spells out the real possibilities of what could happen if the church tithed. Here is what he says could be accomplished:
“There would be an additional $165 billion for churches to use and distribute. The global impact would be phenomenal. Here are just a few things the Church could do with this kind of money:
- $25 billion could relieve global hunger, starvation and deaths from preventable diseases in five years.
- $12 billion could eliminate illiteracy in five years.
- $15 billion could solve the world’s water and sanitation issues, specifically at places in the world where 1 billion people live on less than $1 per day.
- $1 billion could fully fund all overseas mission work.
- $100 – $110 billion would still be left over for additional ministry expansion.
Wow! That is amazing. We could actually do what God asked us to do. It would also take away the world’s excuse of blame God for all the tragedies in the world. Gone would be the questions like, “Why doesn’t God do something?”, or “Why does God allow this or that?”
That reminds me of a conversation between two people I read about sometime ago. “Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, suffering, and injustice when He could do something about it” Well, why don’t you ask Him?” Because I’m afraid He would ask me the same question.”
If the facts above are true, who is really “allowing” this suffering?
Holmes continues in his article with the question, “So why don’t we give?”
“The real problem when it comes to our giving is not about money. Not really. Actually, the Bible says it’s about our eyes. Rather, it’s what Jesus called “the evil eye.” He said it like this.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:21-23 KJV)
The term “evil eye” is a Jewish term. Whereas a “good eye” in Judaism refers to good will, benevolence and being genuinely happy when others prosper—the evil eye is quite the opposite.
The person with an “evil eye” feels distressed when others prosper, rejoices when others suffer, loves their money and would do nothing in the way of charity.
So when Jesus spoke about the eye, He was speaking to a largely Jewish audience who knew what He was talking about. They knew a “good eye” was a generous person and an “evil eye” was a stingy, sour Scrooge. “
When people look at the suffering and need in the world they often see it through eyes that have been tainted by poor or limited information. For example, they judge all poverty alike when in reality it is very different. Much of the poverty in the US is poverty in a land of opportunity. At the same time poverty in developing nations is poverty without opportunity. In developing nations the daily goal is survival. There are little to no educational opportunities or available jobs. There are no government safety nets like food stamps, welfare or social security. There are few churches and those churches are each made up of people with their own financial struggles for survival.
When others see money given by governments to other governments wasted because corrupt officials channel the money into their own pockets and it never reaches the people who need it they have a tendency to generalize and conclude that all money given to these nations is a waste. But what if instead of depending on governments to do the work of God Christians leaned to tithe? Think of the potential billions of dollars that could be given to established works in the field already with programs that are working with the people in need. Can you imagine what could be accomplished? Most important of all the world would see the church in action, God would be glorified, and millions would come to Christ.
As a closing observation I think the real issue with deciding to tithe is trust! Can I really trust God to do what He says I should do, and at the same time, do I trust Him to do what He said He would do if I did?
The Old Testament prophet Malachi issued God’s challenge to Israel, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” Malachi 3:10.
Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38.
The lesson that strikes me from both of the verses may not be what you would expect. You see it is not just those in need who miss the blessing of the tithe, it the one who does not tithe that misses the promised blessings of God.
That is why I say that the real issue is trust. Can I really trust God to do what He said He would do if I do what He said I should do?
If you think that the case for tithing has been overstated Mike here are facts that show the reality of how the church is actually giving today. “Christians are giving at a 2.5% per capita or tithe. During the Great Depression, they gave at a 3.3% rate. Today, 33-50% of church members, those who claim they have bought in at a deep level to your ministry, give nothing.”
Not feeling blessed today? Could this be the at least a part of the reason?
Mike closes his article with three helpful suggestions. Click here to read the original article: