Saturday, November 19, 2011

Is Tithing Off Of a Gift Ridiculous?

I decided to post this next piece because I wanted to make sure that I covered this Tithing issue as completely as I could, and from as many angles as I could. "How come?" you might ask? I know that some may reject common sense and different arguments presented just to defend their 'beliefs' regarding their support for N.T. tithing. I am hoping that if people are not convinced by now, especially with the logic presented in this blog, maybe I can post an illogical argument that would be more to their liking.

Today's slant on the tithe is, 'Should We Tithe Off Of a Gift?' My first answer is obvious. We shouldn't be tithing at all! For the reasons why, I ask the reader to view my other posts. Better yet, please look for the post to the left entitled, 'TAKE THE TITHE TEST' and start there. This will humble the reader into realizing that perhaps, he or she doesn't know much about the tithe to begin with. The second answer, for those who's heads are so hard they could scratch a diamond, is, NO! First off, tithing was food to be consumed, Produced by Israeli landowners, derived from the 'seed' of the land of Israel only. Do we live in Israel? I don't think so! No outsiders were allowed to participate in the tithe celebration unless they lived in Israel as a stranger (gentile converted to Judaism). No imported foods were allowed either! Money was not used to celebrate the tithe unless it was to be used for transporting over-sized food tithes to a far community where the tithe was to be celebrated. The tither would convert his food tithes into money to be easily carried to the town where the celebration was held. The money would then be converted back to actual food to be consumed at the time of the celebration. That was the only exchange from food to money. No matter how many times I stress this, people still have it in there minds that tithing is money. It is not.

Now, for the topic at hand. Does one tithe off of a gift? There's two ways we can look at this. Both are ridiculous. In the Sales Industry, unsuspecting clients are conditioned by a technique known among sales people as, "Breaking it down to the Ridiculous." That simply means that they take their price of an item and 'break it down' to "pennies a day!" Or, "ONLY, $249.00 a MONTH!" They make it sound so appealing, don't they? What they want to do is get you to sign on the dotted line to agree to pay WAY OVER the cost of the item by adding interest. They'll compute the 'cost' of the item, add the amount of the interest each month on a sliding scale so that they'll collect most of the interest up front, and derive a payment amount spread over 'x' amount of years. That payment amount (mostly interest mind you) is what you would pay per month. The salesman could say, "Well, that $249/mo is only $8 dollars and change a day. You spend more than that on lunch, don't you?" This is just to give you an example of what I mean about 'ridiculous' in one sense of the word. I'll be using the most commonly used sense in a moment, but if a ridiculous scenario is what it will take to get through to some, let the 'Rediculations' begin!

Ridiculous scenario #1: If I accepted a gift of a cluster of grapes with ten single grapes on it, how do we suppose I tithe off of that? Who do I give the grape to? The tithe is supposed to be food, isn't it? If one part of the law applies, so does the rest. We can't pick and choose here. If we want to adhere to an O.T. law that doesn't apply to modern day, gentile Christians, then we had better do it to the letter, or God says we are cursed with a curse because we have transgressed against His law. Back to the grape: Do I give it to someone I don't know as charity? Do I bring it to my 'Church'? Do I hold onto it until Sunday and place the 'near raisin' in the offering plate? Let's put some Scripture behind the ridiculous. 'Churched' members do this all the time!

What if we continued in the letter of the law? What if we did this grape tithe every year for a seven-year tithe cycle as commanded by the law? After 50 years, do I get that grape back for the Year of Jubilee? Do I stop tithing the seventh year as prescribed and pick it up again on the next cycle? And what if we gave a heave offering of the best of those ten grapes? Who would you give that to? According to the Bible, that heave grape should go to the priests. But, we'd have to give it to a Levite first. Do we actually know any Levites? There is a certain chain of command to be observed, ya know? What if we equate the practice of giving to the priest every "tenth" grape that passeth under the rod, whether good or bad? (and don't forget: No Exchanges!). I know that grapes cannot pass under the shepherd's rod like our four legged friends can, but this IS a ridiculous and illogical example, isn't it? Again, if the reader won't accept a logical example, perhaps this will do. 

Here is some more for Mr. or Mrs. Illogical. What if there were only nine grapes in that cluster? What then? The law says, "every tenth that passeth under the rod, whether it be a good grape or a shriveled grape." Would giving a tenth of that even be required? C'mon, you know the O.T. tithing Protocol for this question, don't you? You claim to know the tithe! What does the Bible say regarding this situation? I can see some of you diving into your Strong's Concordance to track down the answer right now! What if you only were given 'one' grape? Do we slice it into ten equal parts? Do we eat the nine and leave the tenth part to give as the tithe? Who would take it? I know I wouldn't! And what about the heave grape? Oh, I can go on and on. Is this getting ridiculous enough for us yet? If this scenario seems a bit discombobulating, and the reader doesn't understand what I mean by all of this 'tithe lingo' and all of the specifics the Mosaic Law gives for the tithe, then one doesn't understand the language of the tithe in the Bible! If one doesn't understand it, then why do we do it? Seems a little ridiculous to me! If this seems all to confusing, then here is something closer to home I think you might relate to.

Ridiculous scenario #2: A friend of mine received a conversion van worth $13,000.00 as a 'gift' for all he had done with a particular ministry for his 'Church' several years ago. The recipient of the van and his family had suffered through much hardship because of this "ministry" for some time. I'll spare you the details regarding what he suffered to save time, but know, he very much deserved the van. The member who donated the van was a well-to-do man in the 'Church.' After the recipient of the 'gift' left the 'Church' over the tithing issue, the 'giver' of the van lamented, "He didn't even tithe off the van!" He actually expected him to get $1,300.00 out of his bank account and put it in the offering plate that next Sunday.

Should he have? Some people will readily say, "Yes!" But, let's look at this more closely. Let's say this formula is used on ourselves for a moment. It's Christmas time. We receive a new car as a present. It costs, $16,000.00. It's our birthday. The new i Pad we got was $450.00. We just got married. Our honeymoon package we just got is worth, $10,000.00. That year alone, am I supposed to pay $2,645.00 on top of my regular tithe off of the gifts I received? That amounts to $220.42 extra over and above my regular tithes each month! It's NOT supposed to be a luxury tax! We'd say, "That's ridiculous!!!" We'd be right! If paying a tithe on a gift is ridiculous, so is paying a tithe at all, because one theory is connected to the other. The thing is, tithing is just a theory and a tradition made up by the 'Church' leaders for support. It isn't a fact to be followed for N.T. gentile Believers. Paying a tithe is ridiculous because it simply doesn't apply to us. It is a means that the clergy uses to fund their facilities and faculty; that's all. 

The argument given about the grapes is ridiculous because there is as much logic associated with it as folks who contend that tithing was meant for our day. Let's be logical and hear what God says about the tithe. Take 5 minutes and take 'The Tithe Test' offered in this blog which appears directly to the left of this article and see how much we really know about the tithe. The only other ridiculous move you'll make to this point is not taking it.

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