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It’s a sure thing

February 4, 2013

I was reading this past weekend about a church in South Carolina that is giving a money-back guarantee on tithes.  New Spring Church is asking people to take a tithing challenge and tithe for 90 days.  If, in that time, “God doesn’t hold true to His promises of blessing” then the church will “refund 100% of your tithe.  No questions asked.”  My first reaction was to sort of roll my eyes and sigh.  I thought the whole idea was, well, stupid.

But the more I think about it the less convinced I am that the church is crazy.  I don’t agree with their plan but I have to give them some credit.  If nothing else they are willing to stand behind what they preach.  I am sure that they truly believe that God will indeed “bless the rest” if people tithe and they are honest and courageous enough to put their money where their mouth is.  What is more, although the whole tithing challenge is being roundly mocked on the internet, they show no signs of backing down from what they believe.

Is there a problem in what they believe?  Are they wrong?  Crazy? Confused about what the Bible teaches?  Maybe there is; or then again maybe not.  I disagree, and am comfortable in disagreeing, with the idea that the promises of Malachi 3:10 can be reduced to a human-developed 90 day time frame.  I hope, however, that I have the integrity to say that I might be wrong.  Frankly, this is the sort of interpretation that seems pretty easy to verify or refute.  In a few months you can figure it out and I suspect that some are doing so even now.

My own thinking is that the 90 day idea has one serious flaw.  Yes, God can be trusted to fulfill His promises.  But the reality is that He sets the rules and I don’t.  I can’t give God a time limit on when He must come through; neither do I get to define the terms of what constitutes success in the fulfillment.

In the Bible God made promises to David that it was through his line that Israel would be saved.  And this came to pass in Jesus.  It was through Jesus, a descendant of David, that the promise was not only fulfilled but extended to the gentile world.  Praise God, He has kept His promise.

But something went wrong.  Beginning with Solomon, or perhaps even David himself, things seemed to spin out of control.  Sinful decisions came one after another.  Generation after generation came and went, often in conditions of misery and defeat.  I am sure that, if we could have asked those generations if God had kept His promise, we’d have heard many a resounding “No!”  People went to their graves believing God had broken His word.

God had not deserted them.  Solomon is a good example of a man blessed by God in spite of many bone-headed sinful decisions.  There were short periods of blessing amid the centuries of hardship.  The lesson here is that while, yes, God is in control and will fulfill His promises what we do and how we act matters.  The 90 day challenge leaves no room for this reality.

God gave His promise to a powerful king residing in the fortified capital of a rich and important kingdom.  Years later He fulfilled it through a lowly baby in a humble stable about ten miles away.  The journey to fulfillment was full of twists and turns, setbacks and heartaches.  When fulfillment came it looked so different from what the Jews thought it would be that most didn’t believe it.  We too can trust the promises of God.  It is a sure thing.  But I am pretty sure that there will be times, perhaps even years, when those promises sure don’t seem fulfilled.


From → Christianity

  1. Just a thought…..If the tithe belongs to God, who gives Perry the right to offer the tithe back to the tither if they are not blessed?

    • I see your point. I have to think that she has two things confused. Tithing is 10% of her INCOME. The tip on the check is her EXPENSE. She is mixing apples and oranges. How she spends her money, after she chooses to tithe, matters but has nothing to do with tithing.

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