Last week I gave you a glimpse into our personal lives and how God has blessed us for being obedient and tithing to Him. Be sure to also check out the first post in this series where I explain how and why we decided to start tithing.
Today I am going to answer the main questions we get regarding tithes and what lies you'll end up battling.
Question #1: HOW MUCH IS REQUIRED FOR TITHING
How much is actually quite simple. The word tithe literally means tenth and as it is written in Lev. 27: 30 - "All the tenth given from the land, whether from planted seed or fruit from trees, belongs to ; it is holy to ." Obviously we are not farmers or herdsmen, HOWEVER this does not give us any excuse NOT to tithe. The essence of tithing is whatever we make a living off of, we are to give a tenth of its FULL earnings. This means that we must tithe based on our GROSS wages, NOT our net wages.
Question #2: TO WHOM OR WHAT ENTITY DO WE GIVE OUR TITHES?
According to Numbers 18:21 - “To the descendants of Levi I have given the entire tenth of the produce collected in Isra’el. It is their inheritance in payment for the service they render in the tent of meeting." According to this all the tithes of Israel went directly to the Levites. Who were the Levites? They were the priests that watched over the souls of the people, teaching and feeding them God's Word as well as performing the necessary tasks needed to help cover their sins.
Who are the ones who are (supposed to be) doing this for us today? They are the leaders of the Body of Messiah. Now I am not here to argue whether or not our leaders should be pastors or Rabbies. The point of this post is to inform you that you must be tithing. If you go to a church, then tithe to that church. If you go to a synagogue whether Messianic, Reform, or Orthodox then tithe to that Synagogue.
Does this mean the your leader should manipulate the people by passing an "offering plate" around every single time you congregate? No, I would say definitely not. Not only do I not see anywhere in the bible that it tells us to use this method of extracting tithes, but the people should know what their responsibilities are financially to the congregation, so there should only be one small place for them to put their money into a secure box. If the people do not know what their responsibilities are then that is the fault of their leader who should be teaching them the ways of God.
Lie #1: MY PASTOR/RABBI/LEADER SHOULDN'T BE A BURDEN TO ANY CONGREGATION
My question to people who say this to me is, "If someone did something to you that was illegal and you had to hire a lawyer, wouldn't you pay him?" You would HAVE to! To not pay would mean to not receive any services. How much more so does this apply to the one God has chosen to lead His flock???
Is it fare that your Rabbi/Pastor/Leader should not only spend the time watching over your soul, pouring over the LAW of the one true God so He can teach it to you, but to ALSO have a full time job so he can feed himself and his family? This would mean he'd actually have TWO full time jobs, while you sit back enjoying all the money you receive from just your one job.
Also, while the tithe is very much to help support our leaders, it is also needed to help support the congregation so the widows, orphans, and all the needs of the congregation (putting on events for the High Holy Days, equipment, etc.) can be met. If 100% of everyone in the congregation tithed every month (which sadly in America there is NO congregation in which this percentile is met), not only would it be tremendously blessed, there would be no one in need!
Lie #2: BUT WHAT IF MY LEADER ISN'T QUALIFIED ENOUGH TO RECEIVE MY TITHE
Remember that the tithe IS NOT yours. It belongs to God alone. So even though you are handing the check over to the man who is in charge of your congregation, you are not actually giving it to him, you are giving it to God. If your leader fails to do with it what God wants him to do with it, that's not your problem, but his. If however you give God the excuse that you couldn't tithe because the man who is your leader isn't worthy of it (even though the tithe isn't for him but for God), now you just made it your problem.
If you really believe that the man who is in charge of your congregation should not be in that position, it is your job as part of that flock to pray for that leader. If he has become so vile to where he is openly sinning without any desire to repent, then it is either time for you to find another congregation, or ask for God to remove that man and replace him with someone righteous.