Several years ago I joined a men’s Bible study group. We meet on Saturday mornings and we get into some lively discussions. One theme that kept coming up was tithing. To be honest before that I had heard of tithing but never gave it too much thought and relegated it to something in the Old Testament.
The tithe is the minimum that we should give back to our God – to His Church where we are spiritually fed. The tithe is 10% of our income – gross income (before taxes) not net income (after taxes). This is the bare minimum we are called to give. In other words, we are stewards; everything we have is because of God. Now if I am given a dollar (10 dimes) I am required to give one dime back to the Lord – pretty sweet deal if you ask me. Depending where you live the government takes 50% or more from you!
This passage I was given was Malachi 3:8-20 “Shall a man afflict God? for you afflict me. And you have said: Wherein do we afflict thee? in tithes and in firstfruits. And you are cursed with want, and you afflict me, even the whole nation of you. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house, and try me in this, saith the Lord: if I open not unto you the flood-gates of heaven, and pour you out a blessing even to abundance.”
Now we are not supposed to put God to the test, however, here God is DARING us to test Him on His promise to tithing. God says “try me in this, saith the Lord: if I open not unto you the flood-gates of heaven, and pour you out a blessing even to abundance.” AMAZING! Now if God promises us that what we give back to Him he will give us an abundance back and open the flood-gates of heaven wouldn’t we be foolish to pass this offer up? Sadly, most of us do.
I know that some of you still think that 10% is a lot of money and it is tough. I struggled giving the tithe for 2 years before I started giving 10% of my gross income. First I started with $2 a Sunday, then $5, then $20 and finally I took a leap and just did it! I admit it was hard and I prayed before giving that money to God but afterwards I felt liberated and it got easier as time went on.
Money is not evil but we need to realize that there is a spirit that surrounds money and if we become attached to money then evil can get a hold of us. Through this exercise of working up to the tithe, when I did it for the first time, giving the full 10%, I didn’t realize how attached I really was to money since I live frugally.
If you want to think of tithing another way think of it as this. By tithing you are saying to Satan that money has no control over you and at the same time you are telling God that you are thankful for everything He has given to you and that you place your trust in Him. That the Lord God is your source and sustainer.
We as Catholics have lost this sense of tithing. Have we become too comfortable or caught up in worldly things? Or have we become lukewarm in our faith and so we give to God a lukewarm offering?
Some food for thought: Dr. Scott Hahn asks why is there a new Evangelical church being built EVERY day throughout the world? Why it is that Catholic Churches and monasteries are closing while other buildings fall into disrepair?
Dr. Scott Hahn answers that it is because Catholics have lost their sense of sacrifice and that Evangelical Christians are willing to sacrifice and pay for it.
We need reclaim that sense of sacrifice back. We need to realign ourselves to God.
What God is asking is for you to trust Him. Place your Trust in God and not in money. God asks us to give Him 10% of our meager earnings and He will give us a superabundance from heaven!
If you cannot tithe then you do not trust in God. I know that is harsh to say but truly search inside as to the reason why you cannot let go and tithe as God asks us to do.
If you look around and if you see the Church impoverished you can look inside and find the cause. A Catholic who cannot tithe is a Catholic who robs God. We’ve got to stop and we’ve got to look at our resources and recognize how God has blessed us as North American Catholics, more than any other in the world and in history!
Pray about tithing. You will be surprised how much money does have a hold on you. Remember “No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say to you, be not solicitous for your life, what you shall eat, nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than the meat: and the body more than the raiment?” – Matthew 6:24-25