As long as I tithe, God doesn’t care about the rest…right?
There’s a common misconception among Christians that the only thing God cares about when it comes to money is whether or not you tithe. If you don’t know what a tithe is, it is giving back to God through your local place of worship, 10% of your income. Now, I’m not going to spend the next several paragraphs arguing for or against tithing, let’s just set that one aside for another post. So, back to my original thought, does God only care about the first 10% and say, “whatever you want!” for the other 90%?
I can honestly say that for many years I found myself sitting within this camp. In fact, I even believed that if people tithed that no matter what they did with the other 90% God would bless it. However, after many years of growth, learning from others, and personal study I’ve radically changed my position!
The primary passage that altered everything was Romans 6:20-23
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:20-23 ESV)
Notice it says that we are slaves to Christ. Slaves not only are owned by someone else but they themselves cannot own anything apart from their masters. It is only by their masters good pleasure that they can have any personal possessions whatsoever. All that a slave has is the masters possession and the slave is given the privilege of using it, and must give an account as to how it is used.
Now, before you get all caught up in the slave imagery and connect it to that which took place in the US, there is no comparison to what is being referred to in this passage. In ancient Rome slaves were protected by the law, they could not be abused, and they could only be punished for disobedience if the governing authorities allowed it. Slaves were often incredibly educated, accountants, doctors, lawyers, professors, poets, historians, etc… In fact, a great majority of slaves would choose to remain slaves even after having been released by their masters because they loved the family so much, they became “Bond Servants”. If you ever see that term in Scripture that is what it’s referring to.
So, to put this all into context for us…
When we choose to follow Christ and commit our lives to him we become his bond servant, all that we are, all that we will be, and all that we have we turn over to him. We do this because we love him, we want to spend our lives with him, we trust him and believe that he can do infinitely more with what we have and are than we can on our own. We tithe as a reminder that it’s all his, it’s an act of worship and humility, reminding ourselves of the commitment we have made.