About Jesus Steve Sweetman
For God Ė 90% For You
to let you know, I do give, but my giving is according to New Testament
thinking. Itís not my
intention to be confrontational or controversial.
My desire is to understand the Word of our Lord which often
challenges our traditions.
tradition Iíd like to address is the idea that the first 10% of your
income belongs to God and before you do anything else with your paycheck
you pay God His 10%. The
idea that 10% of your income belongs to God and the remaining 90%
belongs to you is not New Testament thinking.
message of the gospel is all about giving 100% of your life to Jesus.
This means that 100% of your
income belongs to Jesus, not 10%. And
really, everything you have, and all that you are belongs to Him.
Your job is to simply take good care of that which youíve given
to Jesus. This New Testament
thinking should be your mind-set when thinking of tithing.
issue that needs to be addressed before we get too involved in Scripture
is the idea that you give to God in order to get back from Him. Many
tithe teachers use this ďgiving to getĒ idea to motivate you to
give, but despite what Malachi 3:8 says, such reasoning isnít New
Testament thinking either. I
will address Malachi 3:8 later.
teachers support their tithe teaching by referring to the sowing of seed
analogy spoken by Jesus. They
say the more money you give or sow, the more blessings youíll get or
reap. I do admit that the
principle of what you sow you reap is a natural law of the universe, but
thereís a problem when using Jesusí analogy in reference to giving
money. Jesus wasnít being
an investment counselor when He spoke of sowing seed.
The seed refers to Godís Word, not money.
To carry this analogy beyond Jesusí specific intention is
questionable hermeneutics in my opinion.
should never think in terms of giving
to get. Itís selfish, and
itís not what giving is all about.
We simply give to give. If
Jesus wants to give us anything in return, thatís His choice, but
itís not why we give.
of the New Testament leaders ever gave to get.
We certainly know that Paul wanted nothing in return except for a
mutual spirit of caring and a willingness to help him in the work
of the Lord. Jesus Himself
never gave to get. He gave
more than we can ever imagine because He loved us. If He was hoping to
get lots from us in return, Heíd still be hoping. Giving to get is not
New Testament thinking.
And Jacob Tithed
fought and won a battle to free some of his relatives from their enemy. After
this victory Abraham offered 10% of what he won in battle to
Melchizedek, King of Salem and Priest of God. (Gen 14) In
Gen. 14:21 we learn that Melchizedek didnít really want a tenth of
Abrahamís war chest. Heíd
rather have Abrahamís people
instead. It appears that
Melchizedek was more interested in people than material things.
That sounds a lot like Jesus, doesnít it?
Abraham offered this tenth to Melchizedek the text doesnít
specifically say Melchizedek received it from Abraham.
We only assume he did. One
thing I do know is that Abraham offered 10% of what he won from war, not
10% of his ongoing income. For
this reason I donít think we can use Abraham as an example of tithing
on our income today. The
text doesnít say he tithed his income.
Gen. 28 Jacob had a powerful dream.
As a result of this dream he vowed to God that heíd give Him a
tenth of all that God gave him. Vows
normally had conditions placed on them, and this vow was no exception.
Jacob would tithe to God if the following conditions were met by
God. God would have to help
Jacob get back to his fatherís home-land safely, provide
food to eat, and clothes to wear along the way.
If God would help Jacob in these things then Jacob would tithe
from those things God gave Him. I
understand ďthe things God gave JacobĒ to be the things God gave
Jacob on his way home, not
his ongoing income.
didnít promise a tenth of his income, but a tenth of what God gave
him. I donít think thereís any evidence that Jacob was thinking in
terms of tithing his income here. It
appears to me that Jacob thought in terms of tithing what God gave him
on his way home. Therefore you canít use this passage to support
tithing on income.
look at what Jacob was doing. He
was presenting God with a conditional vow.
You might say that he was attempting to make a deal with God,
although Jacob may not have specifically understood this vow as we
understand a deal today, even though they are very similar. Nevertheless,
he was saying, ďif you help me God, I will tithe to youĒ.
if you teach tithing based on Jacobís example, then you should teach
that ďmaking deals with GodĒ is permissible, especially when
thinking in terms of tithing. I
think most of us would agree that making deals with God isnít New