It was not my intention to preach on tithing on Thanksgiving Sunday. Most pastors would not attempt such a sensitive topic on such an important day but I’m told that I am not like most pastors! Our series on Malachi brought me to Malachi 3:6-12 for my text to be preached on October 6, the Sunday before Thanksgiving. However, on that Sunday there wasn’t enough time to give the sermon in the depth that I had wanted so I sent people home with the Tithing Test to think about for the following Sunday. I had mixed feelings about preaching on this topic on a Sunday when there would be many guests but I did not want to waste all the hours I had put into preparation. I was surprised by conversations that took place during the week. People took the time to read over the questions and gave them some thought. I was accused of giving several “trick” questions (Who? Me?). Several people were unsure of their answers and at least one person found a Bible dictionary to give her the confidence that she was on the right track. By Thanksgiving Sunday suspense had risen to a feverish pitch (just a slight exaggeration!). There was indeed, a readiness and eagerness to hear the answers. With the option of texting me the answers people were more engaged in this message than in most messages that I give. Here are the 19 statements that people were asked to determine to be true or false:
- To “tithe” means to “give”, so if I give 5% of my income I can say that I tithe 5%.
- Tithing is one of the 10 Commandments.
- In the OT the people gave 10% of everything they had.
- Tithing is not commanded in the NT.
- If I do not tithe, I am robbing God.
- During our worship service we are invited to give our “tithes and offerings”. These are one and the same.
- A believer should tithe on what is left over after paying bills.
- Giving a “Free Will” offering was practiced in the NT but not in the OT.
- Insisting on tithing is legalistic. Instead we should give what the Lord lays on our heart to give.
- Once a Christian has reached the goal of giving 10% they can stop there.
- If I can’t tithe I can give volunteer time to the church.
- If you cannot afford to tithe then you shouldn’t.
- You should get out of debt first before you start tithing.
- Christians in North America now give less money (in relation to their income) than Christians did during the Great Depression.
- God promises to bless those who tithe.
- Only those who have an income need to tithe.
- The tithe refers to my net income rather than my gross income.
- If I cannot give cheerfully I should not give at all.
- Tithing can help create an atmosphere of generosity and joy.
If you are unsure of which ones are true or false, write to me!
Several people after the service agreed together that there was one question I did not ask on the test. The question is one that I have often been asked. It is whether or not 100% of our tithe must go to the local church. Can part of it go to support other Christian organizations outside of our own church or include donations to organizations like the Cancer Society that do so much good in our community? Before I give my answer I would like to get your thoughts. How would you answer this question?