Have We Fallen Away?
Today, we have ministers who are good in mobilizing believers into giving for the work of God. Fine, but is that how it should work? In the Bible, I see stories of people who were inspired to give without being prodded to do so. In some cases, leaders even attempted to restrain people from giving (2 Cor. 8:1-5). In other cases, the people had to be stopped altogether.
“And they spake unto Moses, saying, The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work, which the Lord commanded to make. And Moses gave commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the sanctuary. So the people were restrained from bringing. For the stuff they had was sufficient for all the work to make it, and too much.”—Exodus 36:5-7.
There is no problem asking people to give, but if this has to be belaboured in a spirited preaching, then there is something wrong with the preacher or the people or both. People who are devoid of the inner revelation and inspiration are like a wheelbarrow which only moves when pushed. This means that it can only go as far as you push it. You will surely come and get it where you left it. People who are reluctant to give even after they have been shown the need, don’t need to be prodded to give but prodded to catch the heart of Christ. If only they can catch the heart of Christ, they will be like a motorized vessel that needs very little effort to get moving, including moving up a slope.
The Bible says in the first part of Proverbs 29:18 that where there is no vision, the people perish. In the same way, where people lack inspiration and revelation, there is no much that can be accomplished. To have inspiration and revelation is like having an engine that drives the believers to pursue the divine vision regardless of the obstacles along the way. The apostle Paul was so ‘motorized’ that he never allowed anything to restrain him (Acts 26:19).
We need to understand that we don’t tithe only because we want to avoid curses and instead, get the blessings.
“Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.”—Malachi 3:7-11.
The above scripture talks about a people who had fallen away from God. He exhorted them to come back to Him by stopping to rob Him. He even had to promise them blessings to help them do the right thing. We may not need to compare ourselves with the children of Jacob at this point because they were a people who had fallen away, unless of course we have also fallen away ourselves. Have we?
If tithe belongs to God, it is not necessary for believers who are in Christ to be promised goodies in order to mobilise them to do the right thing. If you owe me something, I don’t need to promise you goodies for you to let me have what you owe me. The basis for tithing is that it is the right thing to do. That God promised blessings in order to make it easy for the Children of Israel to tithe and give their offerings, tells how gracious God can get. Grace is not something we demand; it is not a right. God promises the blessings of grace out of His discretion and will. We don’t make doctrines to use to demand the promises.