How to figure the tithe — especially for the farmer or business man.
Here are God's PROMISES to prosper the tither, and concrete modern examples of how he has done it! Here's HELP for the man in debt or out of a job!
Why Did the Lord ordain tithing? Was it to place increased burden and taxation upon us? O, let us not misunderstand God's love and wisdom! It isn't that God really NEEDS your first tenth. He could have established some different system for carrying on His work. But to have done so would have robbed US of the blessing that flows back to us if we are faithful in tithes and offerings! The tither is invariable a prosperous man. Not necessarily wealthy — but one whose actual needs are always supplied. Tithers, if faithful and obedient to the Lord, are not often found in want — no, not even in these unprecedented times of stress and depression. "Not because I desire a gift; but I desire fruit that may abound to YOUR account." (Phil.4:17). God promises His children shall always have something to give (Deut. 16:16, 17). It is only when they withhold and misappropriate the tithe and offerings that He fails to prosper them. For thru John He tells us "I wish above all things that thou mayest PROSPER and be in health." (III John 2). "Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine." (Prov. 3:9, 10). Try it! "Prove me now herewith," challenges the Lord to us, in a prophecy for our day (Mal. 3:10), "if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it." Are you behind financially? In debt? Your unfaithfulness in tithing and offerings may be the reason!
John D. Rockefeller, it is said, accepted the Lord's challenge to prosper the tither at eight years of age, when he began tithing. Has he prospered? Mr. Colgate, the great soap manufacturer, left home when a very small boy. He met an old sea captain who was a Christian. He asked the boy what he could do, and the boy replied he knew only how to make soap and candles. "Give your heart to God," advised the old sea captain, "and tithe your income. Some day there is going to be a man at the head of the great soap industries in New York, and there is no reason why you should not be the man." The boy took the advice, got a job, earned a dollar and gave a dime to the Lords cause. He earned two dollars and gave twenty cents. Soon he got a job in a soap factory and he continued to tithe and to prosper. He rose from common laborer to foreman. Later to manager, and then to president of the company, and finally he owned the entire establishment. As he continued to prosper Colgate gave two tithes. He prospered still more and gave three tithes. Still he prospered, and he gave four. His prosperity kept increasing and he decided to give HALF of all his income. And still he prospered! I know a man who started a small grocery business in a small Oregon city. He had practically no capital, had the poorest location in town, and refused to sell tobacco, and others said he could not succeed. Thus handicapped, starting in the beginning of the worst depression the world ever knew, not many would have dared give a whole tenth. This man decided he would be a faithful steward, take the Lord into partnership, and trust the Lord with His business. He "prospered from the start and is the only grocer in his town who is weathering the storm of depression successfully. I know another man who drills wells. But thru the depression there have not been many wells to drill, and few of those were able to pay. Last winter he began to tithe and give offerings, and thus the Lord became a partner in his business. That same week a customer paid a bill he never expected to collect. In a few days a new well-drilling job came to him, and he has been busy most of the time since and collections have improved marvelously. When God gets HIS portion of all your income, God becomes your partner, sharing in your profits. He causes HIS partners to prosper, and if you are in debt take God into partnership FIRST, and watch Him prosper you until finally you are out of debt! Remember the debt you owe God comes FIRST.
Tithing While in Debt
Yet so many say: "I don't think it would be right for me to tithe while I'm in debt" Yes, brother, it IS right, and the other way is WRONG. "There is a way that seemeth right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." God's Word tells us what is RIGHT, and God tells us to give to His work the FIRST fruits of all our income. Regarding our material and financial needs, even debts. God says "Seek ye FIRST the Kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you." (Mat. 6:33). The tithe is the debt that you owe This debt is FIRST in time and principle. Pay your debts to God, make Him your PARTNER in your finances, and receive His blessing in temporal affairs. This will enable you to pay your debts, or to get a job, or to have your needs supplied more quickly than if you evade His debt. Remember your ALL belongs to HIM, not to you. (Psalm 24:1; I Cor. 10:26, 28; Deut. 10:14; Haggai 2:8). You are in the position of steward handling that which belongs to another. He is your silent partner, and the first tenth, in addition to offerings, is His share. The rest He gives freely to you. But if you appropriate for yourself HIS share, you are stealing, and ROBBING GOD (Mal.3:8). Would you pay your debts with money another man had left in your trust? If a man working in a bank does that, we call it embezzlement.
How to Figure the Tithe
Some say they do not understand how to figure the tithe. "And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's: it is HOLY unto the Lord... And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be HOLY unto the Lord. He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it." (Lev. 27:30, 32-33). And since, in the New Testament, Paul points to the Old Testament teachings respecting tithing and says "EVEN SO hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the Gospel," (I Cor. 9:14), this same METHOD of figuring the tithe is in force under the New Testament. The farmer, therefore, should tithe not money alone, but of his stock, his grain, his fruit. "Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year... and if the place be too far from thee... then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the Lord thy God shall choose." (Deut. 14:22, 24, 25). Jacob said, long before the Old Covenant or the Law of Moses, "of all that thou shalt give me, I will surely give the tenth unto thee." (Gen. 28:22). We tithe, then, our INCREASE — our INCOME — whether it be money, stock, vegetables, fruit, or grain. And it is the FIRST tenth, not the second or the last, that is God's. If we start spending, expecting to pay God's tenth later, we will often be unable to meet the tithe. Give God the FIRSTfruits, or the FIRST tenth, and we can regulate our needs according to what is ours to spend on them. This plan of God is a wholesome check upon extravagance and carelessness. And that in itself is one reason the tither succeeds better. The condition to having our "barns filled with plenty" is to "Honor the Lord with... the FIRSTfruits of all thine increase." (Prov. 3:9, 10). The man who receives a salary or wages should give to the Lord's cause the first tenth of his entire salary or wage, and offerings in addition. This represents his personal income or increase. If we receive money from investments, stocks, bonds, etc., or from a pension, or insurance, or by inheritance, this is all personal income or increase, and the WHOLE of it should be honestly tithed, for the first tenth of all of it belongs to God. The man who owns a business usually draws a salary, and whatever net profits remain at the end of the year, or dividends declared. The first tenth of all this he should tithe. But the expenses of conducting the business, (salaries, wages paid others, purchase of supplies, stock, and materials, rent, light, heat, interest, insurance, advertising, etc.) are no part of his personal increase. So the business man cannot give a tenth of all the sales or gross income of the business — but the first tenth of all his PERSONAL salary, profits, dividends, or income. The farmer conducts a business, and should figure his tithe accordingly. Money received that goes for the purchase of stock, feed, seed, implements, rent, wages, etc., are not his personal INCREASE, but expenses of the business, and should be subtracted before figuring the tithe. But he should give honestly a full tenth of all that is personal INCREASE, which is for personal use or needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, or investments, whether of money, or of "the seed of the land, or the fruit of the tree, or the herd, or the flock." Reverse the order, and we would all know readily enough how to figure our tithe. Let Congress pass a new Act authorizing that for one year every citizen who will make application be given a sum equal to 10% of his personal income or increase. Everyone would then know how to figure this tithe, and would be down at the post office or bank bright and early in the morning to receive it! Let us be honest with God as we would be with ourselves!
Your Glorious Opportunity
Some will say, "I never tithed, and I know God never frowned on me, for I have the witness in my heart that I am His child." God has blessed you according as you have YIELDED to Him according to the light He has revealed to you, from His Word! While you have the light, WALK in it, lest darkness come upon you! (John 12:35, 36). GROW in grace and the KNOWLEDGE of our Lord." (II Pet. 3:18). See also Rom. 11:22, and Acts 17:30, and John 14:15. If every professing Christian would accept this plain instruction from the Lord, honoring HIM instead of themselves with their substance, the work of the Lord would go forth with such mighty power that the world would be shaken to its foundations! Seek ye FIRST the Kingdom, and material needs shall be ADDED. Try it. Take God at His Word! PROVE HIM! (Mal. 3:10). See how you begin to prosper! Be a faithful steward, make God your PARTNER! Receive His BLESSING! God's work is waiting upon YOU!