So here’s an assumption about tithing (i.e., God’s historic method for getting people on the road to generosity):

We’re called to give proportionally to how God blesses us. If you don’t have anything, then you can’t give anything.

However, that isn’t the case for most of us. Our challenge is to believe that God expects us to give at least 10 percent, which is a clear concept in the scriptures. (Deuteronomy 16:10; 16-17)

Here’s the problem I see. People may agree with this premise, but they sure don’t practice it. If they did, the average giving of Americans would be much higher than the “less than 3 percent” averages we see every year.

I just read an article a few days ago that indicated the number went below 2.4 percent. This is the lowest ever in American history.

Maybe you’re wondering, “Where is he going with all this?”

Well, if God calls us to give at least 10 percent of our blessings back to Him, and less than 3 percent of people actually do, then wouldn’t this be considered robbing God?

Ooh, that stung, didn’t it?

Honestly, I don’t even like writing this down. It makes me really uncomfortable. (And, in total transparency, my family tithes. You never have to wonder if your Pastor is tithing. This is a commitment that we’ve made in order to honor God. I don’t say this to “toot my own horn,” but simply to say, I speak from a position of integrity on this matter.)

Okay, so if the previous statement stung, then take a deep breath and try to see the truth here.

My main objective is for you to experience joy and the blessings of God in greater measure–I wouldn’t be a good pastor if I didn’t tell you the truth.

Often people are looking for a way to step forward in their giving, so they start with anywhere from 3-5 percent. And that’s great if people are genuinely working towards the tithe and not just being lazy or selfish.

However, some take the step of 3 percent because they’ve over-extended themselves financially and can’t afford to go further. Debt always puts us in bondage and limits our ability to be generous.

So if you’re earnestly taking steps toward tithing, I want to celebrate that with you! Keep going!

I also want to address the person who’s taking the gradual approach because it’s easier. This approach is both greedy and lacking in faith.

Author Randy Alcorn writes about practicing the gradual approach: “Someone might say, ‘We’ll take this gradually. We’re starting with 5 percent.’ But that’s like saying, ‘I used to rob six convenience stores a year. This year, by His grace, I am only going to rob three.’”

See the point? It doesn’t matter how we spin it or justify our behavior. It’s ultimately still robbing God or what’s rightfully His. Period.

I’m sure I’ve offended some by this point, but I would rather you be offended than ignorant of the truth.

We’ll never experience the fullness of God’s blessings if we continue to rob God of His tithe.

So take a deep breath again. Say a short prayer. Ask God to reveal to you the truth.

So how can you move forward? Here are a few suggestions:

  • If you aren’t tithing and can, take that step this weekend. It’s always better to have God on your side when you face financial challenges, or any challenge for that matter.
  • If you’re in debt to the point that you can’t tithe at this point, then I do want to encourage you to do a few things: (a) repent and ask God to forgive you, (b) get someone to help you devise a plan to get freed up (email finance@elevationstl.com), (c) give what you can, but make it hurt a little.
  • If you’re already tithing, seek to increase your giving this year by 1 percent. Look for multiple opportunities to advance the Kingdom of God through your giving to: relief and restoration, digital missions, spaces and places at Elevation Church, or some other free will offering opportunity at your church if you aren’t a part of Elevation.
  • Are you signed up for online giving at elevationSTL.com/giving? It’s the best and easiest way to give at Elevation. If you haven’t considered it, please do. It’ll help you be more consistent and regular in your giving commitments. It also helps us plan more effectively.

I know this what a tough read, but thanks for sticking it out. The Bible is there to help us if we will orient ourselves to listen and act accordingly.

Blessings,

Pastor Daniel
dtaylor@elevationstl.com