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Let's talk money!

Blog -> Bible

Last night at our Aletheia Bible study, we talked about money. Did you know that Jesus talked more about money than about any other topic? If we read through the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, we find Jesus talking more about money than about heaven, prayer, faith, healing or any other topic. It’s interesting that man who came to the earth to save as many people as possible spends more time talking about money than about Faith, isn’t it?

Before getting into the actual topic, I want to bring everybody back to the last two blogs we wrote ( Part 1 and Part 2). A very short summary: We are saved by Faith alone. But our works are evidence whether we truly believe. Many people say they believe in Jesus, but their works don’t confirm that statement of faith. Disobedience to God’s Word is actually evidence that we don’t really believe what we say we believe. For example: If I refuse to forgive people who wronged me, I probably don’t really believe that God will judge the other person for what he/she did to me. If I don’t pray, I probably don’t believe that God answers. Basically, the root cause of every sin we commit can directly or indirectly be found in a form of unbelief.

So when we look at the topic of money, we need to keep this principle in mind: This is not simply a law that Christians have to follow. When we follow God’s principles on money, we show that we truly believe what we say we believe about God, truly believe what the Bible says about who God is, who we are, etc. If we don’t follow these principles, it shows that we don’t believe what God says in the Bible, or that there are idols in our hearts that are more important to us than loving God.

With this being said, let’s dive into the topic.

What the Bible says about money can basically be summarized in three categories.

1) Tithing and Giving

2) Saving

3) Managing the rest

In this first blog, we’ll talk about the Giving part, because it comes first in order. Then over the next few weeks, we’ll cover the other 2 parts as well.

So what does the Bible say about Giving?

First we have to understand: We don’t own anything. The money in our bank account is not ours. It’s God’s.

Psalms 24:1 The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.

I know that many people object to this idea. They say: “I worked hard, that’s why I got the money that I have. So it’s really mine.” That might very well be true. But that’s not the whole story. Because all of us have received countless blessings that came from outside of us. We received education that was paid by others, we had people who invested in us personally, we have natural talents that were given to us by God at birth,... So if we are honest, we’d have to admit: Every one of us received so much through others that brought us to where we are today, things that did not come from ourselves. We did our part. But we could never have made it to where we are today without the help, support and investments of other people. Ultimately, all these things of course come from God.

So that’s the first principle: Everything we have is God’s. That means that we are NOT owners of money. Instead we are stewards, managers of God’s money.

For many people who do not manage money God’s way, the reason is exactly this: They don’t believe that the money they manage is actually God’s. They think they own it themselves. So mismanaging money points towards unbelief.


So with God being the owner of our money, He gave us some specific instructions on how to manage His possessions.

The first, and the one that many people don’t agree with, is this: God told us to tithe. He told us to give 10% of all our income away.

Malachi 3:10 Bring you all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and test me now in this, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

Proverbs 3:9-10 Honor the LORD with your substance, and with the firstfruits of all your increase: So shall your barns be filled with plenty, and your presses shall burst out with new wine.

So clearly, throughout the old testament, we see this principle: God wants us to give 10% of our income back to Him.

What about in the New Testament? Isn’t this law an Old Testament Law that doesn’t apply to us any longer?

Well, I would not agree with this conclusion.

Matthew 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, justice, mercy, and faith: these ought you to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

Jesus clearly says: There are more important matters of the law! (Justice, Mercy, Faith) But that doesn’t mean that He did away with Tithing. He added on top of it!

What did Jesus do in the sermon on the mount? He didn’t lower the expectation on us compared to the Old Testament. He raised His expectations towards us. In the OT, murder was limited to taking someone’s physical life. Jesus added on top of that law and said: “Unrighteous anger is also murder.” In the OT, adultery was only about the physical act. Jesus added to that: “Lustful thoughts are also adultery.”

Jesus raised the bar. He didn’t say “Now that I’m about to die for your sins, we can lower the expectation.” On the contrary. Jesus raised the bar.

So if Jesus raised the bar on many other topics, why do we think that He lowered it on Tithing? Doesn’t make sense to me. And it’s not in line with the rest of what scripture teaches either. Throughout the New Testament, the principle of “being generous, giving at least 10%” is talked about many times.

So clearly, the expectation that we tithe is still there in the New Testament, just as it was in the Old.


Then,… where do we tithe to? Can I just give my money to anything related to Christianity?

1 Corinthians 9:11-14 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your material things? If others be partakers of this right over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this right; but endure all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. Do you not know that they who minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they who wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so has the Lord ordained that they who preach the gospel should live of the gospel.

Here Paul clearly instructs the members of the church at Corinth to give to their Spiritual covering. For us, this principle means: Those who teach us, care for us, pray for us,… they have the right to receive our Tithe. So the church that we belong to (attending Sunday Services, being part of a small group, etc) has the right to receive our Tithe.

Of course we can give beyond our Tithe to whoever we want. But those first 10% belong to our church.


What about tax? Do I need to give my Tithe before or after tax?

We firmly believe: Before! See your taxes just like another bill that you have to pay. Just because the money doesn’t reach your account doesn’t mean you didn’t earn it. Tax is just like any other bill. Imagine that your tax wasn’t deducted automatically. You get your whole amount (incl. tax) wired to your account. Then the government sends you a bill that you have to pay (just like rent, utility bills, etc). I think in that case we would all agree that we’d have to pay the tithe for the full amount, before we deduct our expenses. So then why do we think that if the amount never reaches our account, we don’t have to pay the tithe on the tax amount? It doesn’t really make sense, does it? That’s why we are fully convinced that God wants us to pay the Tithe from the full income, before tax.

Then what about the church tax? In some countries (incl. Germany), many people pay a church tax. So if I pay that, then I don’t have to tithe to my local church any longer, and I can attend any church “for free”, right?

Well, here I think there’s freedom to make different choices. Some people faithfully pay their church tax. Other people took themselves out of the legal system, and faithfully give their tithe to their local church. I think either is fine. As long as we faithfully give our tithe, one way or the other.


So let’s look at the verse from Malachi on tithing again:

Malachi 3:10 Bring you all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and test me now in this, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

Here we clearly see of a promise from God: He will bless us for giving faithfully. Now this is not necessarily financially. It doesn’t mean that God will always somehow give us the money back a month later (though He sometimes does that). But He will bless us in some way. He will give us something back that is greater and of more value than what we have given.

From our personal experience, we can say that the greatest blessing of Tithing and giving comes in the experience of financial peace. Because when we give, we can experience how faithful God is in providing for us.

The principle is simple: There are two important aspects to money: Providing and Managing. Our job is to manage. God’s job is to provide. So the Math goes like this:

If we manage well, then God will do His part, which is to provide. Then we will experience the peace and confidence of knowing that God will provide for all our needs. We will work hard, manage well, do our best. But we’ll also reach the point when we will know: “We’ve done our part”. And at that point, we can rest in the assurance that God will provide for us. We can sleep well at night. We can enjoy time off. We can enjoy life and the guilt free pleasures. We can be confident about tomorrow, next year, 30 years from now. Because we can have absolute confidence that if we have done our part, God will do His part.

On the other hand, if we don’t manage well (and specifically: we don’t give our Tithe), then all the pressure of having to provide for ourselves will come back on us. We will always feel that “I need to do some more work, to earn some more money”. We will have worries and anxieties about our future. We will never have enough. We cannot rest, worry about losing our job,... First thing we think about in the morning is: “Will I have enough money in the future?” When we spend money, we will always wonder whether tomorrow we might wish we hadn’t spent it. In more extreme cases, we might overwork until we break down, until we stop functioning, etc.

We will never have enough money to overcome these feelings, this pressure, these fears that we are all familiar with. Instead, we need to turn this principle around: Start managing God’s money God’s way. Start tithing. And when we do, we will experience the freedom, liberty, joy and peace that comes from it.

I know which option I choose. How about you?


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