Three letters Victor wrote on tithes and offerings:
Shalom, Ingrid, and all others included!
I cannot let this topic go without further speech toward you on it. I want you to pray about it and ask the Lord to keep and to guide you. If I am wrong, God forgive me and spare you. May He enlighten you and reveal to you my heart, whether it be good or evil.
The Lord never rebuked me for tithing. Instead, He blessed me.
When I first became a believer, I had great debts that I had tried so hard to control over several years, ever since I had begun to earn money, and bought a car and house. The very year I became a believer, my debts were wiped out and I had a new car, the kind I wanted, without trying to get it, paid for in cash.
That year I had tithed to the church to which I was going, a tithe being a tenth of my gross income before deductions (a tithe means “a tenth”). This I had been given to do; given, I say, because there were many about me who were not giving nearly as much as I was. Yet I was the new believer among many churchgoers who presumed to counsel and to nurture me. So perhaps it was not given them.
Also, I was giving what was considered to be the bare minimum. I was surprised when others were possibly giving less; I expected they, as “mature believers,” would be giving more. Perhaps some or many of them were. I do not know.
Now it could be that my financial house came to order that year because I had repented, and not because I was tithing. Certainly, tithing would be vain without repentance, as would any other work, if ever so good in itself. But in His guidance, the Lord never rebuked me for tithing. Instead, He blessed me, and allowed, if not taught, me to believe that I was being rewarded for giving. I never doubted it.
The following year, I continued to tithe and He provided for me, without my getting into any debt, though I was not working but going to Bible school. (Debt is not provision but a condition or circumstance often brought on by lack of provision.) One day I had rent due… seventy dollars (that was in 1974, for a tiny basement bachelor suite). I had no money at all. I received a gift in the mail for fifty dollars for my 28th birthday and Marilyn (my future wife at the time) came over and gave me twenty dollars as a gift. (I did not tell her I needed money for rent.) Voila! Seventy dollars, precisely, and the rent was paid just on time.
At the end of that year, Marilyn and I were married. The following year, we decided to give twenty per cent. There was little income; we went to Europe (Brussels included) on a three and a half month trip with Operation Mobilization, worked some months with churches and worked only a few months with my former employer. We were well provided for, lacking nothing at all.
To whom did we tithe? To the Lord we tithed.
Then in 1976, we decided to give fifty per cent of our income. That year I had earned, I believe, 3800 dollars. We tithed half of that. We drove a good car… 1973 Volkswagen fastback, miles everyday, lived in a two year old home in the country, ate as kings, and had all we could desire! Never did we lack!
To whom did we tithe? To the Lord we tithed. But how or by what channels? We gave to Oral Roberts, Jimmy Swaggart, Billy Graham, World Vision, and to Operation Mobilization (with whom we went to Europe in 1975), and likely to others. We would not give in those directions today, but we did not know any better then, being young in the Spirit. Yet the Lord did not rebuke us, and He did not deny us any good thing. We were, in conscience, giving to Him. He did not emphasize to us where we should give, only that it should be given, and that we should strive to learn where and how much to give.
What would we do the following year? Should it be more than the year before? As much? Less? Seventy, eighty, ninety percent? We enquired of the Lord. We were at that time shown that all we had was His… all. Our lives were His, and nothing we considered to be ours was ours and only ours. All was His. If our lives, how much more all that pertained to them!
That year, we gave as we were led. We tithed no more. A preacher came to our town in 1977 (Dauphin, Manitoba) to hold tent meetings. We were scraping pennies at the time, living in an old apartment, the bane of Dauphin, Manitoba. People were embarrassed to identify with us for that reason, besides the fact that we were openly professing ourselves believers in Christ. I gave one entire paycheque to that preacher. He was thankful for it, and had needs we were not aware of. John Poepke of Michigan was his name. We were thankful.
From that day forward, we were no longer scraping pennies but our bank account began to grow, though my income was minimal. The day would soon come when we would use that money to travel to Israel, by the commandment of the Lord, to deliver a soul from his troubles, a soul with whom you have had the joy of communicating even today. He has become our friend, and not just any friend, but a brother and co-worker in Christ.
We met Paul in Israel in 1979. He left his wife and all that he had with her, to obey God. Thereafter, financially, though his needs were met, he had little and lived poorly until 1987 when he began to tithe to us in the Lord. Then the Lord began to bless him financially, so that he came to be one of the most successful business machines salesmen in Montana in a short while. He tithed generously, and the Lord gave to him generously. For a time, he bitterly reacted against the Lord, went his way, ceased to give, and returned to having little or nothing. He can fill you in on more.
When my brother and his family with six children came from Toronto to Lethbridge to submit to me in the Lord, they had nothing, and I mean nothing. They had an old station wagon, rusting out (as many cars do from the east), with the foam dashboard and upholstery in tatters, a tiny, old trailer that was falling apart, half full of boxes of disposable diapers, and the other half with all their worldly, very humble belongings. He, his wife and their children were in rags, the children sick. In Toronto, he had labored for seven dollars an hour as a handyman, while others were working for thirty, and even then the customers weren’t paying him. He had been six months behind on the rent of his claptrap home in the slums of Toronto.
Tithing must be done in pure faith, not with hopes of reward.
When they got here and came under our wing, they began to learn how to live, how to tithe of their income, and how to run a business, etc. Soon it was that they prospered in many ways. To make a long story short, they eventually turned away from the Lord, but in turning away, they had more than when they turned to Him.
When they withheld tithes from us, the Lord withheld business and income from them; the moment they gave (and at times it was almost literally the moment), the Lord would provide for them. At other times when withholding tithes from us, the Lord would not cut off the business, but there would never be enough, no matter how much they earned! The bills would always eat up their income. That is how it works. One can figure it out on paper, but the workings are quite mysterious.
The Bensons could tell you their own story.
Yes, these are brief histories of our tithing. Tithing must be done in pure faith, not with hopes of gain, not with hopes of any kind of reward. It is, in effect, a sacrifice, without hope of recovery.
Tithing is an acknowledgment of the sovereignty of God, that He is the Provider of all things. It is an honor of Him, an act of faith wherein we declare, “Yes, the Lord is my Provider in all things. He is able to provide whatever I might need or want. I wish to honor Him with that substance only He has given to me. It is not my employer, not my charity, not the government, not my own skills and shrewdness, not my education, not my parents, not anybody nor anything else but the Lord Who has given me all that I have, and He is over all.”
It is an acknowledgment that we value the spiritual over the physical, the heavenly over the earthly, and that we wish to say to those whom the Lord has sent to minister to us of spiritual things, “Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the Lord,” not with the lips only, but with our very lives, including our earthly substance. (However, keep in mind that the Lord will have obedience, not sacrifice.)
Where to give? We are the storehouse, if you can receive it. Here is where it is at. Do we need your money? Not in the sense that one might think. Indeed, we have more than enough, much more than do you. You have very little, actually. You are a widow, on a widow’s pension. But there is the story of the widow in the Gospels who gave her two mites, and whom the Lord commended for her giving, not because of the money, but because of her faith.
I do believe, according to Malachi 3:8-12 (please read), that the Lord holds in store for you a blessing, a great blessing, as you believe and respond to these truths I now write in this letter for all to witness. If I am wrong, let the Lord say so. In fact, if I am wrong, and in evil, let Him destroy me. I take no pleasure in receiving your tithes for the sake of money, and if I do, unknown to the secret recesses of my heart, let Him destroy me, I say, let Him destroy me utterly. If I am wrong, I already despise myself for even the possibility of being wrong. But these are the things I understand now, as I understand them, and I can do no other.
I say these things to all those who have ears to hear and hearts to heed. The Lord bless you and give you sure discernment and understanding and faith, to do wisely and not foolishly. Amen.
Let us never for a moment worship mammon. Let us worship the True God.
By the way, I have called us the storehouse, our ministry here among them that believe. Indeed, we are seeing things happening here wherein one day, there will be provision for some or many of things, as there is even now, for those whom the Lord chooses. Have not many of you already partaken of that abundance, even if only in part? You, Lois, Trevor and Mark, have you not? You, Paul, have you not? Yes, indeed! And there would have been great provision for others, too, had they believed. Remember “The Harness of the Lord”? For those who have submitted to that harness, great provision, but for those who have chosen their freedom, great want.
God cause us to ever walk in the truth, not deceived as are so many, lured away by the lusts of their carnal appetites, deceiving and being deceived, destroying themselves. Let us never for a moment worship mammon. Let us worship the True God, the Creator of all things, the One Who gave Himself for us freely. Let us worship Him in Spirit and in truth, as He would have us to do. Amen.
Please read the following Scriptures: Malachi 3:8-12; 2 Corinthians Chapters 8 & 9; 1 Timothy 5:17-18; Luke 21:1-4; Deuteronomy 16:17; Romans 12:8; I Corinthians 16:2; Leviticus 14:30; Ezra 2:69; Genesis 14:20; 28:22; Leviticus 27:30; 2 Chronicles 31:5.
There are many more verses on tithing, offerings, sacrifices, and almsgiving. Sufficient for now that you should read these, and if you have it to search out others, by all means do so.
He knew we were giving to Him. In doing so, we were never without.
Tithes, Offerings and Alms
The Lord raised me up from earliest spiritual youth to bring tithes and offerings to Him. While He blessed us when we gave, He never rebuked us for tithing and bringing offerings, no, not once. Yes, it was initially in, by and through the church systems that He did so. (The church systems do have true things in them.) But I was greatly blessed by the tithing, and though we gave to persons and organizations we would not give to today, having been immature and ignorant then, the Lord honored those tithes and offerings, blessing us, financially and otherwise. He knew we were giving to Him. In doing so, we were never without.
In turn, we counseled others to do the same. They were also blessed in many ways. When they gave in faith, they were blessed, but when they withheld, it did not go well for them. Paul and Lois could tell you their own stories on this matter, though I could give you a perspective concerning them that perhaps they are unable to give.
Some say today that tithes ended with the Temple and the Levitical priesthood. People brought tithes and offerings to them and thus were the priests sustained in their service of the Tabernacle and the Temple until the day of Christ when those were done away. However, if the validity of tithes and offerings had ceased, why did the Lord bless others and us by continuing in these things?
Furthermore, tithes were not limited to the upkeeping of the Old Testament religious system of God. Millennia before, Cain and Abel both brought sacrifices to God; Noah, it says, brought burnt offerings. Abraham gave a tenth (tithe) to Melchizedek, long before the Tabernacle and the priesthood were instituted. Also, Jacob covenanted with the Lord to give a tenth of all that he received to Him if God would be with him. I have no doubt God was with him, I have no doubt that Jacob knew it, and I have no doubt that Jacob kept his vow. So we see that the tithe was not limited to the existence of the Levitical priesthood that came after Abraham and Jacob.
If the Melchizedek priesthood continues, the act of tithing also continues.
The New Testament is silent, as far as I can tell, on the subject of tithing. It does speak of offerings, of supporting the ministries, exhorting those receiving ministry to honor with their substance those ministering to them. It also speaks of helping other brethren when they were in need, such as when the saints in Jerusalem were in a famine. There were also believing widows in Acts in need of church support, which they received provided they were walking in holiness, having had a good reputation, ministering to the needs of others, and too old to support themselves. It also speaks of alms, that is, giving to the poor in general, I think.
When I say, “I think,” there seems to be some question in my mind as to whether any and all poor should be given to. Those in the Lord, brethren, should certainly be helped. Also, I have no doubt that those not in the Lord should also be helped in some cases, but as the Lord gives wisdom.
There are cases when some should not be given anything, whether because the Lord is doing something with them and we would be found interfering, or for another reason. Of course, that certainly applies to giving to apparent believers as well, as was the case with you and Pascal, Ingrid. There were things happening there which restrained us from giving as we could have. Now we know why.
There is one place in the New Testament where tithes are mentioned to some extent. That was when Abraham was mentioned as tithing to Melchizedek. Now Jesus is known as a priest after the order of Melchizedek. My conclusion, whether warranted or not, is that if Melchizedek received tithes, though not being a Levite, tithing was not limited to the Levitical priesthood. And if the Melchizedek priesthood continues to this day, which it does, we ought to consider that the act of tithing also continues.
We are called upon to lay down our lives and give.
The question then arises as to who Melchizedek is and how He is to be honored, if honored at all, with tithes. I believe that Melchizedek is in Jesus Christ, or, as the Bible testifies, Jesus is a Priest after the order of Melchizedek. Those who are in Christ and in the priesthood are part of Melchizedek. Does that mean all believers? Perhaps it does. Or does it mean that some chosen are called as priests and ministers toward the rest of the Body of Christ?
If we go by the Old Testament type, there were twelve tribes in Israel, but one tribe received tithes and offerings of the rest. I believe that the same principle applies in our present position as I mention further in this letter. The tithes and offerings come into the ministries, even as Abraham tithed to a priest, and even as the people brought their substance to the apostles, laying it at their feet.
I believe that in the Body, there are those chosen to minister to the rest of the Body in spiritual matters (Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Tim. 5:17,18), that the rest of the Body should honor those set in authority over them, both in word and deed, spiritually and physically (financially included), as the Lord leads and provides.
As for the Body of Christ as a whole, it is to minister to the rest of the world, to the unbelieving, as God inspires, commands, leads, gives to do, but we require nothing of the world at any time except in mundane matters such as in business. Neither is the world obligated to us concerning the spiritual. We are called upon to lay down our lives and give. When they believe, they will honor us, much in every way.
One problem that exists, as in all other matters, is that there is always the false as well as the true. There are those who teach falsehood on this subject, and require others to give to them when clearly they have no right to receive. They have nothing to do with the Lord Jesus Christ.
As well, those who are legitimate are to minister not for filthy lucre, but because they are sent to do so, without pay requirement, trusting that the Lord will provide for them. And He does; He truly does. He is faithful and pays His servants true wages, and abundant beyond imagination.
God is not pleased that sacrifices are made just anywhere.
Yet we can all fall or wander off to seek and to serve mammon. God forbid that I write these things to anyone with the secret motive of financial gain. That is why I have hesitated all this time to say anything to you ladies. The Lord judge these things and deliver us both from offending Him and instead grant us to glorify Him in all that we think, say, and do.
Truly, I don’t need your money, but perhaps you need to honor the Lord with your substance, in whatever way you are enabled. The Lord will show you what is good and right.
One more thing: There is Scripture that instructs one, saying that God is not pleased that sacrifices are made just anywhere, but that they should be made at the place He chooses. We should search out those Scriptures and specify them for you, and will do so, Lord willing: Deuteronomy 12:13-14, 17-18, 26:2.
I think that it might be fruitful if you were to discuss these things with Paul and Lois, with Mark and Trevor. Perhaps they might be given to say things that may confirm or deny that which I have been saying. I am reluctant even now, though today it was finally there, to speak on this matter.
All need to consider this teaching. And I believe I just received from the Lord that I have been withholding this teaching without good cause, and that in speaking it forth for all concerned, the Lord will now open the windows of Heaven and pour out a blessing as we follow through in obedience. If anyone is at fault here, it is I, for not speaking as I should have long ago. With the hard experiences and revelations I have had about myself concerning money, I have been very reluctant. If I have done harm, please forgive me.
The Lord grant you wisdom in this matter altogether.
This is a portion of a correspondence I had with a fellow on the subject of tithes and offerings. I perceived his erroneous thinking on the matter, and responded accordingly.
He: In my approach to the tithing issue, I seem to come down sounding like we should help everyone BUT those engaged in evangelism and teaching.
I: No, I didn’t get that impression, but I did get the impression you split hairs: “Give the minister of God food, but don’t give him shelter and clothing or transportation…let him work for it…he wasn’t meant to have ALL or even MOST of his needs supplied.” Also, “Give him food but don’t give him money to buy it.” Almost like buying a drunk a meal rather than giving him the money for a meal lest he should buy a bottle.
He: But, the Body of Mashiach [Messiah or Savior] is engaged in many different kinds of work, requiring a wide variety of gifts. We all are equipped with the specific gifts we need to do what we are sent forth to accomplish. Some of us are given the gift of “giving.”
I: Yes, there are many gifts…giving, prophecy, healing, tongues, teaching…but ALL are counseled and commanded to give of their physical good where needful, if they have such, and especially when receiving the ministration of Yahweh by His servants. Shall they receive and not expect some reciprocation, feeding themselves on the spiritual, yet clinging to their worldly goods as though they were not indebted to do good? I have had dealings with such people and came to recognize that when one was not willing to part with his money, especially with those who faithfully ministered to him, he was not receiving the spiritual goods to the heart but only paying lip service. He was worshipping Yahweh with the lips, and mammon with the heart.
He: It should be apparent that those who have very little have not received this gift, although I know that you may have seen confirmation to the reverse. There are coincidences in life.
I: I’m not sure what you mean here. If you are saying that when you see one with very little of this world’s good, the gift of giving is obviously not present, I would have to say that you are very wrong. The widow casting into the treasury had the gift of giving in full splendor, giving all she had, as little as it was. The rich, on the other hand, did not measure up to her at all, casting in that which they did not need, as bountiful as it might have appeared. The issue was not whether those using the treasury needed it or not, or were righteous or not; the issue was her relationship with God. But this I know: I have seen those
who sow sparingly of their physical goods also reap sparingly, when the Lord decided to deal with them on giving and they were resisting. They also had little spiritually.
He: If there were “magic strings” to pull to get YHWH to do things for us, one of the easiest to understand would be the prosperity message so commonly heard today.
I: The prosperity message is indeed one-sided, insidious, erroneous, and, I would say, an abomination to YHWH. The true message of salvation is about laying down this life, not luxuriating or increasing it. The false message is one of salvation and prosperity of the flesh, contrary to the fact that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. It is a “good news” message that says the flesh can and is meant to do well in this life, calling it to the throne and not to the cross. It is a message that speaks true words, but a message that is misapplied, deceiving the hearers who seek to save themselves and prosper selfishly. The prosperity message is the medical treatment applied to save the cancer rather than to remove it. Saving the cancer, the patient dies.
He: But, Acts 20 describes a much different situation with the elders at Ephesus, as br. Paul enthusiastically warned them against the coveting of wealth — he provided his own life as an example, and quoted Yahushua’s words “it is more blessed to give than to receive.”
I: Paul had the gift of giving. But if he did receive provision for his needs at times, which he declared to the Corinthians that he did, was he having lapses into covetousness? Obviously not. He said, “I have ‘robbed’ other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service. And when I was present with you and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: …for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied….”
Was it food only that he received or accepted? Hear what else he said:
“Have we not power [privilege, authority, right] to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas? Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working [whether it be for food or any other necessities]? Who goes to warfare any time at his own charges? Who plants a vineyard, and eats not of the fruit thereof? Or who feeds a flock, and eats not of the milk of the flock?” (1 Corinthians 9:5-7)
He goes on to say, quoting the law as do you:
“Do I say these things as a man? Or does not the Law say so also? For it is written in the Law of Moses, You shall not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treads out the corn. Does God take care for oxen? Or says He it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that plows should plow in hope; and that he that threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?” (1 Corinthians 9:11 KJV)
I think you have made the receiving of wages for the necessities of
ministers of Yahweh “a great thing” and have a viewpoint contrary to the Law and therefore to YHWH. Yes, Paul goes on to say, in balance of argument, that he and Barnabas did not claim this God-given right according to his perspective and dedication. He was not saying it was wrong to be partaker as soldiers, vineyard keepers and shepherds. When Peter was called upon to feed the flock, to feed Yahushuah’s sheep, he was not commanded or even advised to get a job. And he did not do so. At one point he said that it was not appropriate that they should work, but that they might be free and given to the ministering of the Word of Yahweh. That was his job, his calling, his solemn duty, as it was of all those called to feed the flock.
He: Yahushua was supported by several wealthy women in His ministry. They didn’t even feel the giving more than likely.
I: Yahushua did not get a job, nor did His disciples. Is He not the Pattern of the true minister of God? Does He not replicate Himself in His followers, as a seed multiplies its own kind when falling into the ground? And, again, it is not about how much one has to give, but that one would give as the commended widow, if he or she were in harmony with Yahweh and therefore obedient, responding in faith to Him by and through those around him or her. The women who followed Jesus gave by faith, not because they had wealth (a matter of works), but because they had the gift of faith.
He: But to think that everyone is expected to give a “tithe” each week from their incomes to give to someone who just teaches the group for a few hours is just not found in Scripture.
I: Indeed it is not. Hirelings operate that way; wolves operate that way; true ministers of Yahweh do not. True shepherds in The Shepherd, called, chosen, sent, faithful and inspired by the Shepherd Yahushuah, lay down their lives for the sheep, whether they “eat of the milk of the flock” or not. If you are addressing the false ones, you do well. But if your conception of ministry is that of one who “teaches the group for a few hours” be it per week or even per day, as one finds everywhere in the church systems (none of which are of God), then you are in darkness. True shepherds (ministers of God) have laid and do continually lay down their lives for the sheep. It is not a job or an occupation measured by time or energy or money but a consecrated life, a living sacrifice unto YHWH. With such, there is no guaranteed income, no pension, no work schedule, no retirement, none of the things of the world, as the world orders them.
He: No one carried money on Shabbat, and orthodox Yahudim still don’t.
I: Shall a minister of God (or anyone else for that matter) receive on or only on the Sabbath? Is it wrong for someone to give on Shabbat if they are willing, be it money, clothing or food? I don’t think so.
He: I understand how you might feel, if you have been engaged in this sort of tradition, or even still are.
I: You should know that it has not been a matter of tradition, whether it has been my giving or receiving of those to whom I have been appointed to minister. In these matters has Yahweh directed, confirmed and blessed my steps; it is not a matter of men’s works (Psalm 17:4).
He: All I know is, there is no way that I could accept money from those I teach….
I: It is not a problem or wrong in and of itself to do so.
He: and it’s my soul that has to answer to Yahushua some day.
I: He is “I AM.” He is present and those in Him are, here and now, communicating with and answering to Him in the present, being present in Him.
He: Nor can I tell you that I think it’s OK for you to do so, but if you find yourself in a situation where you are not a burden on the “flock”, and can find funding from a source, group, or rich individual who is called to give because they have the gift of giving, then this is something different.
I: The true shepherd’s source is not a rich person or group or even the “flock.” His trust is not in the arm of flesh, but he has confidence that El Shaddai provides all his needs abundantly. Yahushua did not depend upon or look to the wealthy women or any flesh, but to the Father only. You have yet to know these things whereof I speak. Allow me to teach you, not for any money, not for gain (I ask you for nothing), except it be to gain you for YHWH.
He: Stealing the tithe from needy widows, fatherless, poor people is not a good thing to be doing….
I: Is stealing anything from anyone ever good? Perhaps you use words loosely here but your statement seems to acknowledge the presence and validity of a tithe. Furthermore, if you defend a position that one ought not charge for ministry, I agree wholeheartedly, whether of the poor or of the rich. Such a thing is utterly contemptible at any time, in any circumstance. Yet isn’t that what happens when “ministers” accept a salary? Yet if they are hired by agreement, then they ought to get paid. The abomination is that these things are done in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Whom the Scriptures declare to be Yehoshuah, Yahshuah, Yahushuah, Yehushua, Yahweh, the son of David…whatever way you wish to spell or articulate. Can any man today stand and say, “This is precisely how they spoke His Name”? Some may think so. Only by revelation from YHWH can one do so, and He has not given me that in that matter.
But you seem to have this emphasis that the poor can’t afford to give and therefore should not be taught or expected to tithe, as though Yahweh does not provide for them. I again remind you of the widow, not to justify taking from the widow or orphan, but to point out that your focus, ironically, seems to be on money. Do you really think that YHWH did not provide for that widow thereafter? I tell you, faith, and not money, is of value to YHWH, to Yehoshuah (“…without faith it is impossible to please God”). He was well pleased with her faith and she did not go away empty or desolate in anything.
He: teaching Torah must not cost the student.
I: I agree. He must never be charged. However, the student in faith will gladly give by faith, selling all that he has, if necessary, to gain that knowledge of the Holy that far surpasses any earthly wealth.
He: But, the worker can eat from the fruit of his labors. That is not to say that his mortgage will be paid too, just that he can eat from his labors, the hospitality of those he instructs.
I: Friend, the passages of the ox treading the corn are figurative, eating included. All needs are spoken of and addressed. Would you believe for a moment that when Peter’s sandals wore out, he went out and got a job because there was an understanding that the purse and the giving by the givers was for food only? When Yahshuah asked them if they lacked anything after He had sent them out, was He speaking merely of food? He had instructed them to take bare necessities to start, guaranteeing them that they would be provided for. He said, “Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses…nor scrip…neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat [not merely food literally, but pay for service rendered, to cover all needs]” (Matthew 10:9-10).
A man works for all necessities. Why would God provide him with food only? Even a heathen employer wouldn’t do that, how much less YHWH? But you focus on flesh, on flocks, on rich people to provide, do you not? I do not see you acknowledging, much less glorifying, YHWH in this perspective. Yahushuah was not telling His disciples that people would provide for them, but that they were in His service and He would provide (whether by those ministered to, by angels, by ravens or by fish with gold coins to pay taxes…He would provide).
He: Hospitality is not a burden on the giver but a weekly never-ending yoke of 10% might get to be a strain. This is partly because life is dynamic; people have family members and neighbors to help, people lose jobs, have babies, get in accidents, and find themselves having to lean on others occasionally.
I: You do not speak faith. “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Yehoshuah Ha Mashiach” (Philippians 4:19). How much of your need? All. What? Only if you don’t tithe too much or if you don’t always tithe? I have already written to you that when we gave, we had more; when others gave to us, they had more. Again, only if by faith and not by law, willingly, joyfully and not grudgingly. YHWH does not honor a grudging giver or one who gives because he “has to.”
Jacob did not give a tenth because he had it to give, nor Abraham to Melchizedek (note that in neither case was there anything to do with the Levitical priesthood), but because they had faith, no differently than did the widow casting into the treasury. The fact that they were wealthy and she was poor does not enter into it. Ten percent of 10 dollars is 1 dollar; ten percent of 1 million dollars is 100,000 dollars. YHWH has made all things just and fair for all. And those who honor the Lord, not by the works of the Law (which is not honor to Yahweh) but by faith, them He honors. Never did any who honored YHWH in tithes and offerings go without. He blessed them. They went without when they did not bring their firstfruits, not having faith that He meant what He said and would provide. As Malachi writes, when people do not bring their tithes to the storehouse, they are robbing YHWH. Giving unto YHWH, expecting nothing in return, is an act of faith, a sacrifice well pleasing to Him.
One of the valid arguments in support of the keeping of Shabbat is that it was not only for Jews, introduced at Mt. Sinai by Moses, but that at the very beginning Shabbat was established. And Yahushuah did not say that Shabbat was for Jews, but for man, in other words all peoples. The same for tithes and offerings…Cain and Abel brought offerings in the beginning, long before the Mosaic Law. One of these gave for himself (to get…he was the “father of the ‘prosperity message’“), and one in faith, for YHWH. And Abraham also gave a tenth to a priest, long before the Levitical priesthood was instituted. Both the Shabbat and the giving of firstfruits (tenth, tithe) were from the beginning. Just as YHWH has not nullified Shabbat, neither has He nullified taking the firstfruits of one’s income and offering it to Him.
I, for one, am a witness and do testify to the veracity of YHWH’s Word and to His present-day faithfulness in Malachi’s prophecy:
“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in My house, and prove Me now herewith, says the Lord of hosts, 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. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, says the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for you shall be a delightsome land, says the Lord of hosts” (Malachi 3:10-12).
We were talking only this morning about how many years ago, for months, my wife and I had very little until one day a preacher came to town holding tent meetings. We attended and when he was leaving, we were led to give him everything we had, an entire paycheck, small but all. We had been living from bill to bill, rent to rent, nothing over.
And did I agree with all that this preacher stood for and preached? No. In fact, I wrote him a letter, attempting to correct, even rebuke, him in much of his thinking, much as I do you now, particularly concerning faith in God, His faithfulness, His sovereignty, not in theory or pleasant thinking but in reality.
I also, sadly enough, received a prophetic word that his ailing wife would not live. He tried to believe she would, thinking that, by his faith, he could save her. Sure enough, some time later, we heard that she had passed away. We were ministering to him truth, as much and more than he to us.
It did not matter. He had the need; we had the need, but God caused us to give to him both spiritually and physically… money, not food. Had I given him offerings unto God in food alone, it could and would have spoiled, and he would not have had money for gas and bills because he was preaching freely, rather than working for pay.
From that day forward, the coffers began to fill for us, beyond the natural explanation of things. Soon the Lord was to send us to Israel to minister to a brother in need, one we had yet to meet. Our savings were spent on that.
Yes, the dynamics of life bring all those things you mentioned, and above them all is Yahushuah Ha Mashiach, by and for Whom all things were made and do consist. He is LORD of all; praise be to His Name.
He: This is why br. Paul wrote: ”At this present time your abundance being a supply for their want, that their abundance also may become a supply for your want, that there may be equality”. — 2 Cor. 8:14 Over time, different people will have an abundance to share. Those having an abundance now, may fall on bad times; and those who they helped will be in a position to help them later. This is simply saying that life is dynamic, and we should share with those who have the need. What good would it be to have everyone giving to the same few individuals?
I: True. I can agree, and I think I covered this in my story above.
He: The text at Acts 4 often quoted by the wolves reveals that what was placed at the apostles’ feet from time-to-time was distributed to those in need — nothing is kept back to help feed the apostles’ families, pay for a building to meet in, send to missionary Paul, or any of that.
I: Yes, wolves will quote anything; the Scriptures are wrested by many; but the issue before us now is: “Are you ‘rightly dividing the Word of Truth’?” Yes, those gifts were given to those in need, but how can you say that the apostles’ families were not helped in some of this? Your mindset interprets the words that way but the record does not support your interpretation at all. As for a building, men build buildings often (not always) for their own pride and glory. As for sending to “missionary Paul,” we already have record that there were those who did send to him for sustaining him in his ministry. Let’s not split hairs…the money Peter and the apostles received in Acts 4 was not sent to Paul, but, truly, we speak of the principles here and not the events.
He: I know this is a tough to hear.
I: Certainly for some, but not for me, at least not in the way you think. I know my place and my God. It is not a problem for me, but my concern is where you are coming from and where you are going.
He: But, there are still the “givers”, who have been given the gift of giving — these are people who are there to support the needs of the Body, whatever they may be.
I: I agree that some have a special gift there.
Thus ends the applicable portions of that conversation. I will add here that a person must receive from the Spirit of God in order to understand the things of God.