ALWAYS PUT GOD FIRST IN YOUR LIFE
- Zac Poonen
In Malachi 3: 8-11 The Lord says, "Will a man rob [orcheat] God? Yet you are robbing Me. But you say, `How have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing [defrauding] Me, the whole nation of you. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until there is not room enough. Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes". Did you know that tithing is not mentioned even once after the day of Pentecost (when the new covenant was instituted)? Tithing is not commanded under the new covenant at all yet multitudes of covetous pastors still preach it today and exploit poor, ignorant believers. Jesus did not teach His disciples to tithe but to give. What do we have to give to God first of all? Romans 12:1 states, "I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, present your bodies (not your tithes) as a living sacrifice to God." Just as paying the tithe was emphasised under the old covenant, presenting our bodies to God is what is emphasised in the new covenant. Tithing was meant to be a type, just like the Passover lamb and the Sabbath day. The lamb was a type of Christ, and the Sabbath was a type of the inward rest that Christ gives us. These Old Testament rituals were all shadows of what was finally fulfilled in Christ (as Colossians 2:16,17 makes crystal clear). Concerning tithing, God had said, "The purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your lives" (Deut.14:23-Living Bible). Under the old covenant, they offered their tithes to prove that God was first in their lives. In the new covenant, we present our bodies to God and thus prove that He is first in our lives. What does it mean to offer our bodies? It means giving our eyes to God so that we never use them for ourselves again. Is that easier or is it easier to give 10% of your income to God? You know that it is far easier to give 10% of our income each month to God than to keep our eyes pure each day of that month. That is why preachers teach tithing more than keeping our eyes pure. Many pastors are lovers of money and they want their congregation to tithe so that they can become rich from those tithes. Since there is no justification at all for tithing in the new covenant, they use this verse in Malachi to frighten ignorant believers into paying their tithes every month. The early apostles were poor, as we can see clearly from 1 Corinthians 4:9-12: "God has exhibited us apostles last of all To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; and we toil, working with our own hands." But consider the mathematics of how a covetous pastor today becomes wealthy. If 10 people give him one-tenth of their income, he gets one man's average salary (because 10 X 10% = 100%). This is reasonable. But wellknown pastors receive tithes from hundreds of God's people. If even 100 people give their tithes to a pastor, his income will become ten times that of the average man and very soon he will become a millionaire, at the expense of his supporters! And then in order to justify his becoming wealthy, he will begin to preach prosperity as the mark of God's blessing (from the Old Testament Deuteronomy 28:5,8,11) and his flock is deceived. This is the deception flooding Christendom today, all over the world, and it is all being done in the Name of Jesus. The money-changers are back in the temple of God and there is no-one to drive them out, as Jesus did; and there is hardly any preacher who is bold enough to expose these confidence tricksters. Then how much money should we to give for God's work? Only what we can give cheerfully for God does not love those who give money under pressure, or who give in order to get something from Him (See 2 Cor.9:8). First give your body to the Lord and then give whatever money you want to give cheerfully, but never as an obligation and certainly not out of fear. I hope this understanding of God's Word liberates you from false teaching.