If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street
If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat
If you get too cold I’ll tax the heat
If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet
‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah I’m the taxman
April 15th is tax day in the United States. This year we are being given a few more days to get our taxes completed. Over the course of a year upwards of 30% of your money will go to paying income, property and sales tax. Multiply that by 95 million people and the federal and state government is taking in a pretty penny!
Recent statics indicate that self identified born again Christians donate approximately 2.5 percent of their income (even in the Great Depression the average giving was 3.5%). In other words “the church” (God’s work through churches and ministries ) receives about 27.5 % less money than the government does from individual believers. In the average congregation only 25% of the people tithe at all. Imagine what the work of God would look like, both locally and globally, if God’s people around the world gave just 10% of their income:
- $25 billion could go to 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,
- $1 billion could fully fund all overseas missions work
- $100 billion would still be left over for additional ministry through local churches and parachurch ministries.
There are varied opinion on just how much a person should “tithe”. The word tithe means “tenth” and was first introduced in Bible in the story of Abraham, who gave a tithe of his “spoils” (possessions taken in war against his enemies) to the priest Melchizedek; Throughout the Old Testament the people of God were instructed to give a tithe of their possessions, in particular their agricultural harvest. In the New Testament Jesus briefly mentions tithing, not as a teaching point but a reference to Biblical principle. Paul does not require a “tithe” but encourages people to give however they feel that God is leading them…To be led by your heart, not your head.
“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)
“But since you excel in everything-in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you-see that you also excel in this grace of giving. I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others.” (2 Corinthians 8:7-8)
Giving is not a money issue but a heart issue. It is a trust issue. No matter how much money we give it is to be given with a cheerful heart, with a joy that God’s work is being accomplished. Unlike tax day when we moan and groan about how much the government is taking from us, the tithe is to be given as an act of worship and praise. In our church each Sunday we call the greeters forward to hand out “offering baskets” in which people are invited to tithe or given whatever amount God has placed on their heart to give. It is a joy to take what God has blessed us with and return it to His work. It is an act of worship…and also an act of trust. Each time I give I do so knowing that we could really use that money for ourselves, to pay our bills…to pay our taxes! But God calls us to trust Him with every area of our lives, including our money.
I know that it is not possible for every person to give 10%. But I think it is a good standard to shoot for. If this year you were a 2.5% tither why not take the next step and ask God to help you be a 3.0% tither this year? You may be surprised how God meets your needs most when you put the support of His work first in your heart. And nowhere does the work of God expose the intentions of our heart than when it comes to our faith.
“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)
“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.”But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?'”In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse-your whole nation-because you are robbing me. 1Bring 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 )
On April 15, unless you receive an extension, you have to file your taxes. Or pay the consequences for not doing so. But God does not threaten, shame or punish us for not tithing. On the contrary, we are not obligated to tithe, we are invited to do so. We do not give under compulsion but under grace. We don’t have to tithe. We get to. That is a major difference.
What do you think?
How does this make you feel?