But you cannot love without giving
Tithing is measurable and the tenth percent has a limit, but love on the other hand, cannot be measured and is limitless. There is no such question as: “How much do you love me?” “Love cannot be measured by the hour or by the day,” as the lyric of a popular song goes. And there is another song entitled: “Can’t Buy Me Love”, which says about a love in the truest sense that cannot be bought by money and that it is limitless. Although these are secular love songs, there is some truth in them.
It is God who has first given because He loved and what He has given everything He has, His only begotten Son. “For God so loved the world that He gave His ONLY begotten Son…” (John 3:16)
When Jesus came to this world to save us, He gave everything He had. He had given his very own life. But when it comes to our part, do we limit ourselves in giving for His ministry for the spreading of His gospel as shown in our limited tithes? Limited tithing is legalism. The result in giving because of rigid legalism is hypocrisy.
Matthew 15:3-9 Jesus replied, “And why do you, by your traditions, violate the direct commandments of God? For instance, God says, ‘Honor your father and mother, ‘and ‘Anyone who speaks evil of father or mother must be put to death.’ But you say, ‘You don’t need to honor your parents by caring for their needs if you give the money to God instead.’ And so, by your own tradition, you nullify the direct commandment of God. You hypocrites! Isaiah was prophesying about you when he said, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far away. Their worship is a farce, for they replace God’s commands with their own man-made teachings.” (New Living Translation) The Lord Jesus called this kind of giving a corban. A corban is a name common to any sacred gift; the term in general uses to denote sacrifice. (Mark 7:11)
When Jesus said in Matthew 9:13 “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture; ‘I want you to be merciful; I don’t want your sacrifice.” He is again disputing with the religious leaders who imposed rigid legalism.
Anyone in the church that demands people to give their tithes out from their gross income even if these people are short in paying their monthly bills doesn’t have compassion. They don’t care at all. They are imposing fanatical belief expecting magic. They don’t use their common sense and don’t have love. There is no kindness in their hearts at all. In the part of the congregation that gave out of fear, it is a sacrifice. God said; “I want you to be merciful; I don’t want your sacrifice.”
The late Oral Roberts said loudly in his television program repeatedly, “You must give and give and give until it hurts!” That is utterly a sacrifice. It is not out of love. They are imposing sacrificial giving as if Heaven is bankrupt.
The pastor that demands rigid legalism and the congregation that gives sacrificially out of fear has no love at all. There is no compassion in their hearts. Jesus says it is hypocrisy.
The word honor is to show respect. It also means to give help monetarily. “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor especially those who work in preaching and teaching.” (1st Timothy 5:17) To honor is to give help. Now if you give with an arrogant attitude or grudgingly, that is not honoring at all and God will not accept it.
If God endowed your life prosperously, will you only give tenth percent of your income? If you are stingy in giving you don’t love the Lord. If you have a lot of money and you are tightfisted, it is better for you not to give at all. God doesn’t want your sacrifice. If you are a miser God don’t need your corban. And because you have given your corban to the church will you neglect your duty in helping your parents that needs help? All these giving without love or compassion is just religiosity. God said, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain.”
It is possible for a man to give all that he has but without love. The Word of God said that it is nothing. 1st Corinthians 13:3, “If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames but have not love, I gain nothing.”
There are philanthropists in this world that give out their money by the millions or even billions of dollars but what they gave is just a drop in a bucket. And besides, they have given out of their money for charity because it is tax deductible. They will lose nothing. They will even be recognized and be famous. Do they give because they truly love Christ? (I am not judging but for most of them, I don’t think so.)
For Christians, we should not give for tax shelter purposes or to avoid paying taxes to the government. Jesus said in Matthew 22:21, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and God the things that are God’s.” Romans 13:7, “Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.”
Our motives in giving to the church should not be for tax shelter. Jesus himself said, “Render to Ceasar the things that are Caesar’s.” That means we have to pay taxes. Paul wrote, “Render to all what is due them; tax to whom tax is due.”
If a Christian becomes a millionaire and gives out by the millions out from his or her wealth should he or she seek fame and recognition? Matthew 6:2-4, “When therefore you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.”
Most philanthropists in this world, if they give, it is not because of love, so it is nothing according to God’s Word. Christians should give because we love the Lord Jesus and we love to support in propagating His Word.
There has been a time when the Congress threatens Church Organizations to pay taxes. Religious leaders panicked and complained. Why should they complain, when the Lord himself says, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.”
That is why when the authority demanded for all none profit organizations to give charity but forbade Christians to evangelize to those whom they have given help, their mouths were zippered because religious organizations are tax exempt. Christians were forbidden to evangelize but required to give for charity purposes. They have nothing to do but comply with whatever the authority says because churches don’t pay taxes and thus become slave to the authority that hates the Lord and are indignant to Christians.
Christians should not avoid paying taxes. Christians should not seek for publicity. Because if we do, we violate God’s Word.
Because of love we should give without limit for the furtherance of the Gospel. Be very careful though in giving. Not just for the sake of giving that you will give without investigating an organization or a church that teaches the Word. Beware of a group that teaches contaminated gospel or else you will be guilty of helping them spreading false doctrine.
In what way will you know whether a church is teaching the truth? Read the Bible thoroughly. God did not write the Bible so that only the scholars can understand. In the contrary there are a lot of known scholars and theologians that teach false doctrines. God said in His Word in 1st Corinthians 1:27-29, “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things-and the things that are not- to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.”
In Acts 17:11, the Bereans searched the Scripture every day to examined if what Paul said was true or not. They were not scholars. They were just ordinary people. “Now the Bereans were of noble character than the Thessalonians for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scripture every day to see if what Paul said was true.”
Don’t give even a single cent to a church that teaches false doctrine. Pray and ask God to guide you where to join a group that will nourish you with God’s pure Word and that you may be a part of God’s ministry. Be faithful in giving.
One can give without loving but you cannot love without giving. I just hope that we Christians will give what we can for the furtherance of God’s Word because we love God.