Tithing: Gratitude Or Greed?

Q. My biggest struggle with tithing is that at the very last moment when I go to hit the ‘pay’ button, I am flooded with thoughts of the blessings that could return to me. Guilt follows immediately, because my heart is no longer in the correct place for giving with an attitude of gratitude – it has now become an attitude of greed. I end up not paying anything in an effort not to be caught in giving with a greedy heart. I have set up automatic tithing payments to causes that I truly believe have God at their focus, but I wonder if it’s okay to tithe through automatic payments each month, or have I just replaced one sinful attitude (greed) with another (a separation from the tithe where I feel nothing). Can you help?

A. I think you’re allowing the devil to get the best of you. You start out intending to give out of gratitude but then you wind up not giving because of greed. When you set up automatic payments you feel like you’re not involved. Who wins?

It’s almost impossible not to think about our blessings because the Lord has promised them to us. “Give and it will be given to you,” He said, “with the measure you use it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38). And Paul said, “You’ll be made rich in every way so you can be generous on every occasion” (2 Cor. 9:11).

In 2 Cor. 10:3-5 Paul said we have divine weapons with the power to demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God. With that power we can take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.

There’s nothing wrong with setting up automatic tithing payments. It follows the Lord’s teaching of not letting the left hand know what the right hand is doing (Matt. 6:3-4). But you can also resist the devil when He tries to prevent your giving by conjuring up visions of blessing. Take those thoughts of greed captive and make them obedient to your knowledge of God.

All you have to do is say with conviction, “I know I’ll be blessed. It’s a promise from God. But I’m giving out of gratitude for what He has already done in the past, not for what He might do in the future.” When you resist the devil like that, he will flee from you (James 4:7).

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