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America A "Tithe-Paying" Nation?
Gary L Alexander  

   Recently, a major national news magazine headlined an article about America's religious contributions : "Americans' 'Open Pocketbook': Giving to Charity Sets Record." The article told of $7.9 billion, or almost $40 per capita, given to all churches during the year of 1969. Sound pretty good?
   But even if all this money were given to God-directed organizations, would that amount please God? Are "Open Pocketbooks" a sign of a truly Christian nation? Let's take a look at that $7.9 billion in perspective.
   In 1969, the National Income — that major part (five-sixths) of the Gross National Product which represents the total amount of personal, business, and government income -was $771 billion. All contributions to religion therefore totaled slightly over one percent.
   In ancient Israel, while God Himself was still their King (I Samuel 8:7), there was a financial plan which provided all services to the people — governmental, social, religious — for a simple tenth (called a tithe) of each person's income. An additional amount equivalent to less than 3% was set aside for the welfare of the widows, orphans and needy. No fantastically intricate tax loopholes which robbed the poor to feed the rich (or vice versa) were needed. No endless volumes of man-made exceptions, deductions, reimbursements, excise taxes, sales taxes, value-added taxes, property taxes, luxury taxes, ad infinitum — just a straight ten percent of all gross increase given to God through His agents (at that time the Levites).
   It worked beautifully. God provided for defense, health, freedom from natural disasters, and blessings unlimited while they obeyed this simple law. But the people soon cried, "Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations" (I Samuel 8:5). Like little children, they wanted to copy the failure of those "peer groups" around them, rather than submit to the wisdom of their Parent, God!
   And God granted their request, but warned, "This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen... and he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and your oliveyards, and give to his officers and to his servants" (I Samuel 8:11, 15).
   That prophecy happened to ancient Israel. And it's still happening — happening in the United States and the British Commonwealth.
   In 1969, the United States spent $81 billion, more than a tithe — the Old English word for "tenth" — of our national income, on defense expenditures alone. Great Britain and Australia each spent well over half a tithe on defense. Americans spent a second tenth on doctors, drugs, and hospital bills ($60 billion in 1969); alcohol ($19 billion); tobacco products ($10 billion); and drug abuse and addiction ($5 billion).
   Yet another tenth — call it a "third tithe" — is spent annually on the wretched fruit of social diseases, namely $31 billion lost to crime each year, $13 billion lost due to physical destruction caused by air pollution, and $11 billion in auto accidents, many of which have been directly caused by alcoholism. To round out this "third tithe" add about $12 billion spent each year on Christmas gifts, $7 billion on cosmetics and beauty aids, and at least $1 billion each on natural disasters, riots, strikes, absenteeism, and water and solid forms of pollution.
   Sure, not all of these expenses are wrong, and a small portion of them do overlap, but each category has extra billions more than a tithe to cover such overlap.
   In addition to these three "tithes," you could add another $83 billion "tithe" which Americans spend on themselves in the leisure industry. Then there's massive "uncontrollable" federal, state, and local government spending, which includes $125 billion for all forms of public welfare, $20 billion yearly interest on the national debt, and $5 billion each for all forms of foreign aid and non-military aerospace efforts. ...And one percent for God!
   That's our upside-down American economy, or national "household" (the Greek word oikonomos originally referred to household, but has come to mean economy, or group production and spending).
   Our people may be pleased that we have condescended to reserve one percent for God, but God isn't pleased. Why? Because we are spending at least thirty percent on hurting ourselves. God wants us to have abundant, healthy, happy lives (John 10:10; III John 2). Yet we refuse to change our upside-down priorities. We refuse to recognize God in our national life.
   No, God is not pleased. He says: "Will a man {or nation) rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, wherein have we robbed thee?" (Malachi 3:8.) That's just exactly what we Americans proudly proclaim: "We've given nearly eight billion dollars to God, so how have we robbed God?"
   Listen to God's answer: "In tithes [ten percent — not just one percent] and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed Me, even this WHOLE NATION" (Verse 9).
   Believe it or not, you can begin applying God's tithing law in your life — and reap the astounding benefits — even if the nation as a whole is not willing to change. For an in-depth report that will help you, read two free booklets, Ending Your Financial Worries and Managing Your Personal Finances. Your financial success can be insured by reading and applying the truths of these booklets.

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Tomorrow's World MagazineSeptember-October 1970Vol II, No. 9-10