as the KJV reads ~ “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.”
In a culture that thrives of self gratification one does not generally like to reflect on the potential of withholding from God. Proverbs tells us there is one that has but withholds more than is right yet it tends to poverty. We find from the book of Malachi that withholding the tithe from God opens our lives to the curse that is on this earth by the very nature of robbing God of what belongs to Him.
In the New Testament we find from 1 Corinthians, we are not our own. If not our own, whose are we? Paul continues, you’ve been bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body. In other words, we belong to God and yet while we belong to Him, He looks for willing submission and yielding to Him. He is not a hard taskmaster, nor does He make us do anything. He is looking for the heart that says I want to.
Many Christians today practice a freedom from tithing, believing they are under grace and not the law. Yet as NT believers, the greater reality of giving so far exceeds 10% that it begs the question, why would we stumble at ten and think we could ever give a hundred percent of us? Malachi did not stop with simply the tithe when we wrote that we robbed God, he also said offerings, tithes and offerings.
I’ve been asking myself if this teaching could possibly be the very doctrine of devils. Could the tithe represents to us the tree in the middle of the garden that was not to be eaten from and yet we find a way to eat the fruit (spend the tithe). Are we in fact inviting the very curse that rests upon this earth to work in our lives? Do we live within this wide space of allowing ourselves to indulge every appetite without restraint or consideration of spending what is not ours?
If we consider beyond the financial aspects and look to the very spending of life, how do we fare? Paul wrote and asked, “what do we have that has not been given to us?” John wrote in his epistle that every good and perfect gift comes into our life by the very hand of God, who gives freely and liberally that we may enjoy life and only asks that we take the blessings He has so graciously given and freely pass them along.
A life that is squandered on self, is a poor life indeed. Living by the strength of our own hand hinders us from knowing the the goodness of God or recognizing the works of His hand. It is as we give back to God what belongs to him - our very lives - that we find wholeness. “He who loses his life for my sake, finds it.”
Because we bear the image of God, we must give back to God all that belongs to him.