Heaps of Tithe
2Chr. 31:6 The people of Israel and Judah who lived in the cities of Judah also brought in the tithe of cattle and sheep, and the tithe of the dedicated things that had been consecrated to the LORD their God, and laid them in heaps.
2Chr. 31:7 In the third month they began to pile up the heaps, and finished them in the seventh month.
2Chr. 31:8 When Hezekiah and the officials came and saw the heaps, they blessed the LORD and his people Israel.
2Chr. 31:9 Hezekiah questioned the priests and the Levites about the heaps.
2Chr. 31:10 The chief priest Azariah, who was of the house of Zadok, answered him, “Since they began to bring the contributions into the house of the LORD, we have had enough to eat and have plenty to spare; for the LORD has blessed his people, so that we have this great supply left over.”
Hezekiah was king over Israel and as the law was read he enacted decrees that would bring the people back into alignment in their relationship with God. They had forgotten all the things that they had learned about God and had been serving and seeking foreign gods. Hezekiah placed priests back into the ministry, reopened worship at the temple and called the people to be faithful. They responded to his leadership and challenge to once again support the ministry of the Temple. This included participating in the tithe and so the people brought in a tenth of their cattle and sheep and they did not hold back. Everyone participated, so much so that eventually the tithe began to pile up in heaps. There was no shortage of supplies for the Temple, nor for the priests that served the Lord. When everyone participated in the tithe there was “plenty to spare” and a “great supply left over.”
Today I hear people questioning the concept of tithing. Some think it’s a rather old-fashioned idea and they would rather “direct” where their money is going — making sure that they see it is used in a “proper” way. The result is that many churches are suffering. In many parts of the world the church is suffering from a lack of support, financially, and in every other way. When we begin to think that we can “direct” our giving and “oversee” its use ourselves we are really becoming quite self-centered. Who are we to determine this on our own without trusting in the Lord? You may justify yourself and say that you don’t like what’s happening at your church but it may be that there can be no change at your church because your church is not resourced to change. If everyone would tithe and there were heaps of tithe around you would be able to resource the ministries and possibly the minister that your church needs. Instead, by “withholding” tithe, you are not allowing God to work in the ways in which he has intended. The tithe is not ours to manipulate, the tithe is to be brought into the storehouse and if all God’s people were faithful there would be heaps!
The problems with churches and Christianity today are not problems of the system of the church, they are systemic problems related to the spiritual condition of those who make up the church. If all God’s people were faithful and if everyone who attended a particular church would tithe there would be more than enough resources. God’s plan really does work. We can complain about the condition of our church, or we can be faithful in prayer, emotional support and tithe so that there are enough resources to make a difference.
There will always be things that we see in church that will bother us. That’s what happens when humans are involved, but God had a plan for us to be a part of a community of faith. Building community takes resources and God’s plan is for all of those who are a part of the family to help support the system. Even when the family disappoints us, we go ahead and care for her needs. We’re watching too many churches go hungry these days and some even starving to death for the members of her family refuse to feed her. Would we do this to a physical family member — allow them to go hungry when we have what they need?
We are challenged, every one of us to bring in the tithe. It’s not ours — it’s God’s! The church is not ours — she’s God’s. Faithfulness in our Christian walk involves faithfulness with our resources and submitting to God’s instructions and directions for our lives, including our contributions to the house of the LORD. I would love to see a faithful church community that brings in more than enough, with plenty to spare, so that they can reach the hurting world around them. This is what happens when all God’s people are faithful.
Lord, may we trust in you with our finances and resources. Amen.