“Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
I fear Uncle Sam, and I also fear God, which is why I pay my taxes and tithe faithfully. However, I imagine that many godly Christians and even more not-so-godly Christians can’t say the same. Everybody pays his or her taxes. After all, as the old saying goes, taxes are one of two things that we can be sure of in life. Yet how come people hardly ever say that Christians are known for their generosity? Shouldn’t our generosity be a fact as certain as death considering that God commanded us to be charitable? Honestly, a lot of the Christians I know, myself included, are known for being tight-fisted jerks, not loving, generous, or kind.
(Sidebar: I’m not trying to piously preach to the choir. I need to be reminded to obey God’s commands as much as anyone else, so please hear me out.)
You know who are known for their giving? Mormons. Every member of the LDS Church has to give at least 10% of their income to their church if they want to be good Mormons. For instance, when presidential candidate Mitt Romney released his tax records to the public, it was a big deal that 10% of his income went to the LDS Church because he would have been disqualified from his religion and inevitably the presidential race if he had given anything less. But if Mitt Romney were a Christian, most people wouldn’t have even bothered to check.
Now I’m not suggesting we go to the extremes of the Mormons and audit our members’ financial records. After all, Mormonism is a works-based new religious movement that has nothing to do with the grace, truth, and love of Christianity. Yet why isn’t it a big deal when we find out that someone we go to church with isn’t tithing? Why are we afraid to confront people about holding back from God when we easily confront them about other sins in their lives? If I had to make a guess, it’s probably because we don’t want them to push back and ask us how we are being faithful stewards.
You see, I think we fail to give because of seven different reasons: Pride, Envy, Wrath, Sloth, Greed, Gluttony, and Lust. Maybe you won’t give because you are prideful and think you deserve it more than God or others. Maybe you won’t give because you are envious of your friend’s wealth and want to have more money than he does. Maybe you won’t give because you are angry that God would command you to give away your hard earned money. Maybe you won’t give because you are lazy and life is easier if you have more money. Maybe you are just simply greedy and always want more. Maybe you are gluttonous and you’re secretly hoping that your money will satisfy you, or maybe you are lustful and love your money more than you love God. I don’t know your heart, but I know mine. Those are all excuses that I have used at various times in my life.
But ultimately, here’s one reason why you should tithe. God held nothing back when he gave creation, life, and eternity to you through his Son, Jesus Christ. So why should you hold back from God? Isn’t that more compelling than any petty reason not to give?