20 November 2012

Uganda: Are You Tithing?

The issue of tithing has been around for ages. Some endorse it as part of day-to-day Christian living whereas others think it is a thing of the Old Testament.

There are over one million articles on the web regarding this issue.

With the advent of prosperity preachers, some believe the issue has been manipulated into a money- generating activity. But what does the scripture say on tithing?

No other Scripture has had greater mileage than Malachi 3:10: "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the Lord of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows."

A tithe is a tenth of our earnings set apart for God. It is Shs 10,000 out of every 100,000, Shs 100,000 out of every million.

What shall we tithe?

Deuteronomy 14:22 says, "Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year."

Rev Canon Hannington Mutebi, the Provost of All Saints cathedral, says tithe is not only money but may also be dedicating one's time to ministry, using your talents to help someone and being supportive of those around you.

"It may also be in form of products that one has like agricultural produce or clothes," he says.

To whom does the tithe belong?

Apostle Alex Mitala, the leader of the National Fellowship of Born-Again Churches in Uganda emphasizes that tithe belongs to the Lord. In Leviticus 27:30 we read,

"All the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's: it is holy unto the Lord."

"Although it is used to [pay] church elders and workers because God or angels cannot come down to take it, it still is the Lord's and anyone who claims it is his or hers is greedy and selfish!" Mitala says.

You may be one of those people who have been told to 'sow a seed'/ tithe in a bid to get rich soon. Apostle Mitala decries such manipulation of the gospel for people to satisfy their selfish needs.

Basing on Luke 11:42, Mitala says tithing is not corruption, greed, an offering, alms to the poor or a means to selfish gain. Rather it is God's portion of reward taken off a tenth of our money or possessions.

Does tithing pay?

For four years now that Proscovia Naluzze, a student at Law Development Centre, has faithfully tithed, she says she has never lacked.

"Whenever I need something, it is always there and I believe that a tithe is given out of the abundance of God's provision. It is not a legal enforcement like some believe where you give in order to receive," she says.

According to Steve Pavlina's blog on tithing, (www.stevenpavlina.com) tithing helps one develop a greater sense of abundance. He argues that by giving away 10% of your income, you're programming your subconscious to believe in abundance thinking.

"This can make you more open and receptive to money. If you think abundance, you're more likely to experience abundance," he writes.

Does the New Testament teach tithing?

According to Canon Mutebi, the tenor of Christ's message in Matthew 5:17 "Do not think I have come to abolish the Law of Moses or the teachings of the prophet; but to fulfil it."

He says that many Christians hold the misconception that tithing was a thing for the Old Testament and does not apply currently. However, it does because 1Corithians 16:2 endorses it.

Also, when they asked Jesus about paying tribute to Caesar, He answered, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."

Why some Christians do not tithe:

Mutebi says it is because of lack of knowledge for many.

"Many think it's about giving their money and these usually fear that they will never get it back," he explains.

Yet for others, it is a bad experience where they were manipulated into giving and later realised the tithe was used to make another wealthy and for others, it is the insecurity of how the money is being used.

"Why would someone want to pay the first 10% of their income to a church where it's questionable if the pastor isn't pocketing what's in the offering basket?" Peter Makode said.

Tithing dilemmas:

Should you tithe even when you can't pay your bills? May one borrow to pay the tithe? These may be some of the questions already floating about in the reader's mind. An excerpt from the book, The Empty Pulpit by Sandra Arrants, is in tandem with Canon Mutebi's thought.

"Money itself is not the issue, but how you relate to money; God is looking at our heart, what's our motivation. We are not to look to the "here and now" for our reward, but toward heaven where our treasure is being stored up. Jesus said: "where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Our motivation is what is important; we should not give up something for the purpose to get something better, and neither should we give something to get something," it reads.

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