By Brother Michel Lankford
Someone I do not know on Facebook posted a question, asking about tithing for Messianics. Of course the popular answer was no. The idea being that since there is no temple there is no need to tithe, but giving contributions is okay, (if you want to was implied).
An Important General Note to Messianics and Hebrew Rooters FIRST:
Some of the ways that Hebrew-Roots people treat other believers with whom you do not agree makes me SICK, because the answers were filled with cursing and vulgarity and put-downs toward those who disagree with you. It’s NOT Holy. It’s NOT ‘Kosher.’
As It Is Written: ““You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? “If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
(Matthew 5:43–48 NASB95)
Folks, some of you can’t even bring yourselves to be civil, and polite to fellow believers who cause you no harm at all, but merely disagree with you on some point! Let alone grow to the point where you imitate the Heavenly Father to do good to your enemies, as Messiah demonstrated.
“To whom much has been given, much will be required.”
You think you are SO much more ADVANCED in your Bible knowledge then others, but your attitudes, actions and the way that you treat others shows you to be immature and self centered and self serving. You are not even giving to others the same treatment and courtesies that you would desire for yourselves, and that is BASIC Torah. (Leviticus 19:9-18; cf. Matthew 7:12; Luke 10:25-37).
If your bible understanding is SO much higher then the rest of us poor foolish saps out here, then your words and behavior should be that much BETTER then the rest of us supposed idiots, who lack your oh so lofty wisdom and understanding of the Scriptures. Your words and behaviors should never be worse then the Christian, or the heathen, who lacks your knowledge and understanding. Think about it children.
Should Believers Tithe?
It ALL belongs to YHWH (Psalm 24:1)!It’s true that tithing to an organized institutional setting such as a church or denomination is not necessarily required. It’s true that many religious institutions have falsely used tithing as a means to enrich themselves. It is ALSO true that MANY messianics refuse to honor the tithing principle, not out of genuine Love for YHWH, NOT out of genuine ZEAL for the Torah, but as a convenient excuse to cover their GREED, selfishness, and self-indulgence.The PRINCIPLE of Tithing STILL applies though. I’ll Explain.
Since there is NO temple, we cannot FULLY KEEP the Biblical Feasts either. Does that mean that consequently, we should NOW IGNORE YHWH’S Appointed Times all together, and celebrate like pagans, because we cannot keep YHWH’s Appointed Times perfectly well? How is that any different from a Babylonian Christian? YHWH FORBID! No, the reality is that in every issue, we get as close as we can, despite the fact that we cannot do it perfectly. The same principle applies in other areas, such as tithing as well. We should not completely ignore the tithe principle either.On the contrary beloved, just as we COMMEMORATE the Biblical Feasts and Sabbaths as best we can. We respect and seek to obey YHWH’s Torah as best we can, trusting in Messiah to take up our shortfall for what we cannot obey or where we fall short of obeying Torah. Is this not true? We seek to obey Torah, following Messiah, and the apostolic writings as the how-to-guide, while still applying Torah. Is that not true?
1. Keeping the principle of tithing helps us to revere YHWH always, (Deuteronomy 14:23). That is part of its stated purpose. I don’t know about you, but from where I sit, learning to revere YHWH always is something that I cannot do without. So for this reason I try to keep the tithing principle.
2. Yeshua, the Messiah said that if we are faithful in little things, we shall also be faithful in greater things, (Luke 16:10-11). Now, if I cannot or choose not to be faithful to set aside the first 10% of what YHWH Graciously provides, then HOW will I possibly be able to set aside my greed and passions to be faithful to apply His instructions with the other 90% of His Provisions, as YHWH should direct me in the future?
3. If we observed the strictest percentages very tightly, the “New Testament,” principle can be as much as 50%, to 100% (e.g. Luke 3:11; Luke 18:18-34; Luke 21:1-8; Acts 2:41-47). (See also Isaiah 58:6-7; 1 Timothy 6:17-18; James 2:14-20; 1 John 2:15-17; 1 John 3:17). So we start by practicing with the first 10%.
4. We DO have a Great High Priest in Yeshua the Messiah, (Hebrews 4:14-16). Messiah clearly said that as we do it unto the least of the brethren, we also do it unto HIM, (Matthew 25:40). So in a very real sense when you set aside the first 10th of what YHWH provides you to take care of the poor, the widow, the orphan, or the in-firmed within your Fellowships, you have done it unto the Messiah Himself, (which means that the Great High Priest DOES still receive the tithe). It is simply done in a slightly different form, but the High Priest still receives it.
5. The REAL problem facing both messianic believers and Babylonian Christians alike is often the SAME, and it’s a problem that we don’t want to confront, but it’s there like an elephant in our living room. Very often, we love our money, we love our property, we love our own comforts, and we love our STUFF, A LOT more than we should. If we are truly honest, sometimes we can put these things above loving YHWH and loving our neighbor. That’s not how we wish we were, but that is often the reality that our behaviors and priorities reveal that we truly are. If we cannot be faithful to practice setting aside the first 10%, then how will we be able to give 100% if the Almighty should ask for it?Whether you like it or not, it’s pretty simple. There is not a temple or earthly priesthood right now, so there are SOME things we CANNOT legally, Biblically or Legitimately do at this point. HOWEVER, the fact that we cannot perfectly do EVERYTHING that YHWH has commanded, perfectly well; this does NOT mean that you disregard, and DISOBEY what YHWH has Commanded altogether on PURPOSE. That is SIN, even in the New Testament, (1 John 3:4; Matthew 13:41-42). The fact is that the parts of the Commandments which we CAN, or COULD do, we are still responsible to do.Messiah said that as we do it to the LEAST of the brethren, we have done it unto HIM, (Matthew 25:34-40). So you are telling me that you HONESTLY cannot take the first portion of what YHWH has provided you, and set it aside to help take care of the least of the brethren in your congregation or fellowships, which is the same as doing it to Messiah?! COME ON! You are deceiving yourself! Messiah covers what we legitimately CANNOT DO, but what we can do, or could do we are still responsible to do, (James 4:17).
Deep down inside yourself, you KNOW that the first portion of everything YHWH provides for you really DOES BELONG to YHWH. IF you really WANTED to honor Him with that first portion, you could and would do it. The REAL problem is you are trying to legitimize greed and selfishness, because you don’t really WANT to give YHWH His rightful portion. You want to keep it for yourself. Check yourself. Think about it for a minute! You supposedly trust YHWH and Messiah with your eternal salvation, but you REFUSE to trust Him with your WALLET?! You are kidding yourself.You think yourselves to be stewards of the Heavenly Father’s Teachings and Instructions, but you refuse to be faithful with the 1st 10% of His Provisions?! You deceive your own heart.
Messiah put it this way:“He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. “Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? “And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? (Luke 16:10-12)
As best as I can understand so far; you Start with being faithful to tithe, (distribute it as the Holy spirit directs you, because we are now the priesthood of believers so we should care for the needy). THEN, if you feel lead and directed to give additionally, do so; but make sure that whatever you give beyond YHWH’s portion, you do give it willingly and without compulsion. Do not withhold YHWH’s portion, (Mark 12:17; Malachi 3:8–10), but whatever you choose to give beyond this, give what you can as you choose as long as you are capable to give it willingly and without compulsion, (2 Corinthians 9:7-9).
Tithing and giving is like any other Biblical discipline. You Grow into it. You start out by choosing to respect and honor the principles that YHWH has decreed. You Practice being a DOER of the word that is written, and then you cooperate with the Holy Spirit to REFINE your attitudes and methods as you OBEY Scripture along the way. You tithe off of what you make or what you produce. A Farmer tithes from his crops. A rancher tithes from his herds; but if Money is what you make, then money is what you tithe from. The point is to put YHWH FIRST, and remember HIM with the FIRST portion of everything; WHATEVER He provides.
It’s NOT Complicated; unless you are greedy and selfish, and you don’t WANT to render to YHWH what is all HIS to begin with. It comes from the understanding that I would NOT HAVE the talents, the skills, the Job, the provisions that I enjoy UNLESS YHWH enabled me to have and to enjoy those things.
Tithing is NOT About Money
People who love to say that tithing is NOT about money are actually RIGHT; but NOT in the way that they suspect. Tithing is NOT about money.Tithing is ultimately a HEART ISSUE. It’s about Putting YHWH FIRST. It’s about NOT FORGETTING YHWH when your needs and desires have been satisfied, (Deuteronomy 8:10-12). It’s about making sure that we don’t let our hearts drift into PRIDE and self-sufficiency.It’s about making sure that we don’t let our hearts drift into Loving our money and our stuff more than Loving God or loving our neighbor.It’s about making sure that we put YHWH FIRST in EVERYTHING, including our wealth, and that we DO NOT drift into LOVING the PROVISION, more then we love the PROVIDER.You are right when you say that the tithe is NOT about money, but what we DO FIRST with money and whatever YHWH provides, REVEALS what we truly VALUE and what we TRULY TREASURE MOST.That is WHY tithing matters. What we do with money and provision will often lead, direct, and then REVEAL what our hearts truly value most.As it is written: “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21, NASB95) So, where do you want your heart to go?Priorities and VALUES; THAT is what tithing is ultimately about.Brother Michel LankfordLike
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