Ask Anything: Cattle, Hills, and the All Powerful
If God has the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10), then why do I need to tithe (give a tenth of my earnings)? What about all this stuff about trying to break free from the bondage of our creditors (Proverbs 22:26-27), shouldn’t I use my money there instead? If God is all powerful and created all things, why does HE need my money? Questions like this are among some of the hardest I have had to deal with while I was exploring my faith; and even today, especially when money is tight.
Many of us have heard the most direct answer is, God doesn’t ask for our money, time, or harvest specifically, and it’s not because He needs it. God asks for us to tithe, or more specifically give to Him from the best of our first fruits (Leviticus 27:30). What He is really asking for is the thing we are most likely to replace Him with in our hearts. In our time and culture, it is not fruit or cattle that is important to us, but our finances which are the gateway to the things we want (stuff) and physically need (such as food). So God asks us to trust Him and He will provide, therefore through our trust we can tithe willingly.
So, God does not need my (or your) money and He asks for the purpose of winning my heart for him…OK. Now, we come to the stuff about getting our house in order and not being a slave to the lender (Proverbs 27:7)? Wouldn’t it be easier to overcome those debts with that tithe (or tenth) applied to pay them off, getting me free so I can do good for others? In the extreme short term, the answer is most likely “Yes”, however, our hardened and stubborn hearts would not really do it the right way, would we? Most people who pay off debt or consolidate debt don’t end up giving more, they just harness it to go back or further into debt. Therein is part of the lie the devil tells us to help us justify not following God’s command.
Now, here is where it gets even stickier. If we justify taking our tithe away from God to pay our debts, which He has told us not to get into in the first place (Proverbs 22:26), are we sinning to pay for our sin? Put another way: If I take God’s requirement of a tithe and disobey so I can pay my debt which I got myself into by not following His command, am I committing a new sin to cover an old one? Yes, I would be. It is true we should let no debt remain outstanding (Romans 13:8), but we should never venture down the path where we disobey a command of God to try and pay for our previous sin.
Tithing is necessary for my heart to be right with God. We should not therefore use our tithe for anything other than a tithe. However, you might wonder about the debt that still needs to be paid. Four points to ponder: 1) Trust in God and His provision, 2) Budget with Discipline, 3) Pray and praise God for the guidance you need and the good He has done, 4) Trust in God and His abundant provision. Ok I know the first and the last were the same, but it is so vital it needed repeating.
-Written by Christian Love