What is it with human nature about following rules and laws? We perceive them to be limiting and forbidding. A “don’t do this”. A “thou shalt not”.
But Jesus said that He did not come to change even the smallest part of any law (Mt 5:17-19). And if we’re honest, we know – intuitively, deep down inside us, if not practically – from experience, that rules and laws are there for us to have a pathway for freedom and safety.
God instructs us in Jeremiah 7:23 to “walk in all the ways that I command you, so that you may prosper.” Isn’t that how we are with our own children? We want the best for them, so we give them rules, boundaries to help guide them on their way. They may not like them. They often push back, stretching those boundaries to their outer limits to see what they can get away with.
But in that stretching they usually find themselves in trouble. At least to some degree. And maybe at that point, and hopefully by the time they get older, they realize that mom was right, that they should’ve followed the rules.
So it is with tithing. God commands that we tithe ten percent off the top.
Nos 18 : 29
From all the gifts that you receive, and from the best parts, you are to consecrate to the LORD your own full contribution.
Deut 14: 22
Each year you shall tithe all the produce that grows in the field you have sown.
2 Cor 9: 7
Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Most of us find these rules a challenge. We push back (like our children do against our rules?). We either ignore the command or try to justify ourselves by explaining to God the financial hardship tithing would impose.
But the rule for tithing, like all rules, is there to help us. It gives us a path to financial freedom and to help us live out our dependency on God. It correctly orders our spending priorities.
Even though it is counter-intuitive, if we would obey God’s command to tithe, we would find a peace about our finances that goes beyond understanding. Just ask anyone who tithes.
Here’s a twist I heard from my pastor – Jesus takes us even further in that verse in Matthew. He says the law won’t go away until “all these things have taken place.” Could it be all things have taken place? God gathered His people out of Egypt, foretold the coming of Jesus, Jesus came to us in the flesh, died, was resurrected and sent the Holy Spirit to us to write His laws on our hearts (Heb 8:10). If this is the fullness of time that fulfills the laws and the prophets, then we are no longer subject to the law.
Instead of the minimum requirements of the old law, now we become wholly subject to God and rest in Him. He doesn’t get a ten percent tithe. He gets it all. Everything! We finally admit that all we are and all we have are from God. And in praise and honor, we give our all back to God, trusting in His providence. Total Freedom.
And in that freedom, we can say without reservation – It’s Not Our Money!