THE 10% SOLUTION

Martin Luther once said there are 3 conversions of man.  The conversion of the heart, the conversion of the mind and the conversion of the purse, and the most difficult of these is the conversion of the purse. 

I grew up in a chuch that did not teach tithing.  In fact, I had never even heard of it until I was 23 years old.  I remember the first time I heard the pastor go on about the importance of the ‘tithe’.  I thought, well if it’s important to God, then that’s good enough for me.  So for the next few weeks I wore a necktie to church and felt pretty dang proud of myself.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered I had misheard him and he was actually talking about the importance of the ‘tithe’ not the ‘tie’.  “The tithe?  What the heck is a tithe?”  “10%?”  ”What’s he been smoking?  I’m not giving the church 10% of  anything?”   It was funny how my pious obedience turned into abject rebellion when it turned out it was about my money.  In retrospect I am not sure why it was such a big deal.  I barely made any money anyway.  My tithe might have been all of $10 a week.    

Because of my personal journey I am empathetic when I hear how Christians struggle with the concept of tithing.  I understand what a huge mental block it is for so many.  But, because of the personal experience with tithing over the last 27 years, I am also passionate about telling people of the rewards of giving to God what the bible says already belongs to him.   

‘And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’S. It is holy to the LORD.  Lev 27:30

Tithing requires something of a spiritual epiphany for most;  a breakthrough in their thinking that this isn’t God’s plan to punish them, but a way to provide an avenue for financial breakthrough for them.  I often ask our congregation this question.  “How many of you can live better on 90% of your income than you could before on 10%?”  The number of hands that go up is astounding.  That’s because it is one of God’s most enduring principles.

Those who argue that tithing is an Old Testament law miss the point entirely.  Tithing existed both before (Gen 14:20) and after the Law (Heb 7:6).  The point is that if we will honor Him with our finances to advance His work in the earth, He will bless us financially in return. 

Mal 3:10  Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the LORD of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.

There are so many terrible investments we can make with our money today; banks that pay a pittance in interest and stocks that can become worthless in a day.  God on the other hand invites us to lay up treasures in heaven, and when we do, He steps into our finances in way that can turn around even the most desperate of situations.  When people object  and tell me, “But you don’t understand, we can’t afford to tithe.”  I always respond, “No you don’t understand, you can’t afford not to.”

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26 Responses to THE 10% SOLUTION

  1. anonymous says:

    Mark: I trust that when you tithe that it’s given to a charity outside and not associated with Church of the Rock.

  2. Mark Hughes says:

    Of course it goes to Church of the Rock! The tithe should always go to one’s church. Especially when you know that money is being spent well and is being used for the furtherance of the gospel.

  3. Michele says:

    Two questions:
    1) What exactly happens with the tithe money that people give? How exactly does it get spent or used? I have always wondered.
    2) If you don’t have enough money in your purse for the tithe, do you still record it as a tithe on the envelope?

  4. Patricia says:

    When my husband and I started tithing, we were one of those people who thought we would miss that 10% of our income. That was when we were earning two incomes. Now that I am a stay at home and we are on one income, we still tither 10%, sponsor a Compassion Canada child, give to other charities and missions over and above our tithe of 10%. We don;t miss it. In fact, we seem to have MORE money to donate or invest then when we spent two incomes on ourselves…. Funny how it works that way.

    Must be a God thing.

  5. Mark Hughes says:

    Michele
    1) Some of that depends on the church but for the most part; buildings, programs, utilities, staff, missions and the like. A church like ours has a very extensive foreign missions program, TV ministry, inner city ministry etc.
    2) Mark whatever you give as a tithe until you get to the 10%. Then over that you can specify to missions, building fund or whatever other options the church has.

  6. Jake says:

    We have been tithing for longer than 27 years and have seen our vehicles need fewer repairs, houses sell when we needed them to and many other things happen in our lives that we believe is because God is blessing us as we trust him. There have been many times when we have given above the tithe and wondered how we would make ends meet but God has always made ends meet even when it seemed impossible to us. God’s math in the financial world is different than ours and He has always come through!!

  7. Tamara says:

    Brilliant! I love this post! For us, it was a huge ephiphany, as you said. And at first, when we began tithing, we did seem to have less, and we sometimes had to do without things, and our convictions were challenged. But the bottom line was whether or not we were willing to let God be God of our finances. If we would not allow Him to be Lord over our bank account, how could we expect Him to bind the Devourer in our lives? We, too, definately live better on our 90% than we ever did on our 100%. Now when people steal from me, I don’t even worry about it. It’s God’s money, I’m His, He’ll take care of my needs. God is generous, and He never runs out.

    I would also like to say that it seems to me that CotR uses the money very wisely. It goes to the ‘right places’. But that shouldn’t have anything to do with a person’s committment to tithe. If you can’t trust your church to manage their finances, that is a separate issue, but God’s money is still God’s money. God will honour your faith in giving to an ill-managed church, but how will He respond if you just say, ‘Well, I’m not giving, because they’re probably just going to spend it badly.’?

  8. BOB says:

    “The point is that if we will honor Him with our finances to advance His work in the earth, He will bless us financially in return. ”

    When did you start preaching the Prosperity Gospel Mark?

  9. Mark Hughes says:

    Nice troll! Read the rest of the entries over the last few months. Do they look like a preacher obsessed with finances? You cannot paint everyone with the same brush. It’s like saying, “I knew a guy named Bob who beat his wife. Therefore all Bob’s beat their wives.”

  10. BOB says:

    My wife is fine thanks for your concern.
    :-)

  11. SteveK says:

    Anyone ever test Mal 3:10? I did.
    It’s the only thing God allows us to test him on.

    At the begining of this “resession” I was already out of work for 6 months and down to my last $20 (didn’t qualify for any kind of Gov assistance) and no job prospects in site. I tested God and gave it to all to him that Sunday (I didn’t tell anyone about it, not even my wife). On the following Thursday, I get a call from my brother who said a position is being “created” at his company and I should apply for it. Long story short, I was working in 20 days after giving my last $20 dollars. Hallelujah

  12. Karen says:

    Love this post!!I was taught and witness to the importance of tithing from my parents.As my Mom always said ,its not our money in the first place,its Gods,so easy to tithe when you keep that in mind.God ALWAYS provides!I saw it growing up how God would supply food when we had no money and the fridge was empty,run our car on fumes for miles and miles to get to church etc.Faithful first to tithe,he always supplied.Now in my adult life I am seeing that first hand again!
    Pastor Mark,I have to tell you that I find it amazing how often I come to see your latest posting on here and its a subject that I have literally just been discussing with my husband,something Gods laid on my heart to talk about.Tithing was exactly what we were discussing last night and the importance of it.I love how God has been reaffirming things through this blog!Keep it up!!!

  13. Robin says:

    Keep in mind, when Mark says, “he point is that if we will honor Him with our finances to advance His work in the earth, He will bless us financially in return”, doesn’t mean that we will all be driving a Porshe in the near future just because we tithe. I believe it means that you allow the Creator of the universe to begin to work for you. Mark has never preached a “Prosperity” message. The more we give of our money and time to God, the more his message of Love goes into the world.
    When I tithe, I find myself less stressed, happier, and more at peace. I find that clients seem to be more agreeable, profitable, and plentiful in my life.
    Tithing is not limited to Christians. A lot of very rich and powerful people have realized that tithing is a law of the universe. If you hoard, you will either lose all your money or live in fear of losing all your money. Until you begin to realize that we are to always try to make life better for someone else, you will be unhappy in what you do. “What does it profit a man to gain a fortune, but lose his soul”

    Keep up the good work Mark. We appreciate you and all the staff at COTR

  14. Karen says:

    I have asked the following questions to several different pastors and I have never heard the same answer twice. Why is it that something that seems so simple to God is quite complicated to us?
    If you are self employed how do you “set” the amount of your tithe? Some people never know from month to month what they are going to have for an income! Do some write a cheque every time someone pays them or do they average it out every month? For salaried people, do they tithe on their “gross” or “net” pay? (or is that something that is none of anybody’s business.) So…do you give the 10% to the church, and if you sponsor a child, is that extra or included in the 10%? Does “tithe” always mean cold hard cash? Can it be goods, commodities or time?
    I heard a sermon once about “if you are new to tithing, you should start with 2-3% and work your way up to 10%–that way you develop the habit and that way it won’t be such a shock to your pocketbook.” I scratched my head in confusion over that one!
    I’ll be honest…I struggle with the concept of tithing. Every month I look over what comes in and what goes out and some months what I have to give to God doesn’t seem to be much in comparison to all He has given me.

  15. BOB says:

    Give what ever you feel like, it’s OK with God.

    Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
    2 Corinthians 9:7

  16. Mark Hughes says:

    Karen
    It is true we can’t seem to get this one clear. Most of what you ask in scripture though and quite simple.
    Prov 3:9 Honor the LORD with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase.
    Lev 27:32 ‘And concerning the tithe of the herd or the flock, of whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to the LORD.
    1) If you are self employed “your increase” would be your net income after expenses. If you only take it once a month, tithe once a month. If you take a draw, tithe on the draw and when you calculate your actual income at the end of the year, settle up your tithe. Many self-employed businesses owners will write a check at the end of the year.
    2) If you are on salary, “your increase” is actually the ‘gross’. Income taxes is just another expense of life like a mortgage, or heat etc. If we gave God 10% of what was left at the end of the month, He would have to pay us in many cases.
    3) Some disagree on this but the tithe went to the Levites and the synagogue, therefore I beleive it should go to one’s church. In the New Testament they brought it to the apostles. Sponsoring a child etc. I feel should be over and above tithe. Alms giving in bible was always above the tithe. If everyone just sent tithe wherever they felt, the church would not be able to function. We have people that have attended our church for 10 years or more, and love it, but have never supported the work. I always wonder how they figure we heat the building, pay the staff, buy a chair for them to sit on. Hello!
    4) In the Old Testament the tithe was ‘in kind’ not in cash. Kind of a different age now. I don’t know what we would do with a goat. In the New Testament they converted their goods to cash.
    5) It is not biblical, but if someone started giving 2% and worked their way up as they got comfortable, that would be a way better strategy then throwing up their hands and saying “I can’t tithe”.
    Bottom line, most arguements I hear from people that say tithing is not for today, are merely self-justifications from those that do not want to give God Lordship over their money. They are poorer for it…literally.
    Hope this helps.
    Mark

  17. Evelyn Bennett says:

    Today is the day to celebrate. Is it the $ or is it God, take your pick?

    Evelyn Bennett

  18. Sandi says:

    Things have been extremely tight over the last several months, but despite that, I made a decision to tithe in faith every month. I’m excited to give my tithe, and to “test God in this.” He has come through without fail, every single time. “My God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory” never rang so true. I’ve discovered that God wants to know all of my needs and He wants me to bring every one of them before Him, no matter how small or insignificant they might seem. He hasn’t just been meeting my needs–He’s also thrown in a lot of extras. My cupboards are overflowing, my fridge is full, and when I open my freezer, it’s with arms outstretched to catch the stuff that falls out because it’s so full. That’s God’s provision. He’s also been keeping my $150 car that needs $2200 worth of repairs running until I can afford to replace it. It comes down to fear or faith. Fear that it’ll cut out, or faith that God will keep it going. God is faithful, and He’s got it covered. For me, tithing comes down to one thing: can I trust God and know that He will meet my needs when I choose to put Him first and honour Him with my tithe? Absolutely. He’s never failed me yet.

  19. David John says:

    Pastor Mark,
    I must disagree with point #5 you make.The first fruit is the gross amount.Please dont let us compromise what is spoken through the word,10% is 10% .It is hard for me to tithe, yet if I do not then the Father is not Lord over it, and for us to prosper without being faithful we should not be surprised if there is no increase.So I cannot condone anything less. DJ.

  20. David John says:

    Pastor Mark,
    I must disagree with point #5 you make.The first fruit is the gross amount.Please dont let us compromise what is spoken through the word,10% is 10% .It is hard for me to tithe, yet if I do not then the Father is not Lord over it, and for us to prosper without being faithful we should not be surprised if there is no increase.So I cannot condone anything less. DJ. p.s. Thats why everyone gets confused about it !!.

  21. Ken says:

    First, Mark I want to Thank You for speaking on the subject of tithing! I was taught by my parents to tithe off every dollar that we earn. My parents would, physically collect the money for the month. Then they would add it all together. They would first, give the tithe to the church. Before any expenses or purchases were made by the family. The Lord has always provided for my family.
    I heard from someone very wise, that told me that it is more Blessed to Give, than to Receive. That is so TRUE!!! Not only is tithing, but in Life!
    I, must be honest though. I didn’t always follow my parents example. That little small voice inside me, started resonating in my mind. I, decided to obey his leading. I started giving my tithe in the beginiing of this year.
    What I discovered, is that when we honour God. He honours us!
    I deliver the WFP in the morning. I don’t know maybe this might read by some of my customers. My customers are providing my income each & every month. I, am thankful for the Lord’s provision.
    Ever since, I decided to give the Lord, what is his. He, has given me back more than when I started in my income.
    Some of my fellow carriers, can’t understand how my route is increasing & their’s is decreasing. I think we all know the answer to that. Don’t we!!!
    Thanks again for allowing me to share how God has Blessed me in my life. I trust he will do the same for you.

  22. T says:

    I have been following this blog for the last bit and want to add my comments. Pastor Mark I completely aggree with your words that “you can’t afford not too” when it comes to giving the tithe. When my husband and I were first married he brought to the union over $20,000 in consumer debt. (no house, no newer vehicles etc.) just poor financial decisions and no planning. I was sick to my stomach literally with anxiety as I had never owed money like that in my life. When I started to manage our finances, the first thing we did was tithe 10%, on our gross amount. To make a long story short, we got out of debt, saved enough money for a down payment on a house and was able to pay cash for our new funiture. God has blessed us in so many ways, and not just financially. I recall in the bible when Saul had disobeyed God and was going to build an alter, the prophet said to him that “obedience is more important to God than sacrifice”. There are times when my husband still wrestles with giving his tithe and I refuse to be his Holy Spirit. I give my tithe faithfully, and God has never left me short. My hubby will come around…… When I hear that many Christians don’t tithe, I cringe….How can you not tithe, it all belongs to God anyways….don’t you trust him to handle all your needs….if poor money habits are an issue, get educated, get some help, find out how to manage your money from people that know how to manage theirs. Didn’t Church of the Rock do a session on managing finances….great place to start.

  23. Steve says:

    Pastor Mark, God bless you in your ministry
    I have been watching Church of the Rock for about 6 months, when I can, just before I take my family to our church service. Your church has a blessed ministry….It is amazing the responses to tithing, something that has been around since Moses. Money is such a sensitive subject. When I got married, just 27 years ago, my Dad gave me some, well one piece of advise. “Never argue about money, it all belongs to God”…. Satan gives so many excuses to make, or persuade us to believe it’s ‘Our money’, “You worked hard for that you’re not going to give it to the church”…. My heart tells me that it is God’s will, and when I give it to the church or charity, I ‘give it freely’ and am not to be concerned on where it goes or what is done with it…. I moved to another province, from a church that split three times in 15 years and doesn’t see they are hung up on who gets to say where the money should be spent and what programs they will run in church. I pray for them a lot….I also told my Dad about the TV program and he has the satellite set to go to the channel as I do.

  24. Karen says:

    Dear Mark:
    Thanks for that great information. I have always thought that 10% was 10% and there wasn’t a lot of room for “wobbling.” I would love to be able to give ALL of my hard earned cash away…I don’t think the creditors would appreciate that! Being “new” to tithing, it was good for me that you gave an example of how other people do this. I also struggle with the “comfortable” and “working their way up” to tithing! (don’t be offended) Is not tithing an act of faith?
    You are very daring to tackle the issue of money during a recession. I don’t know about anyone else, but this subject in this blog not only made me rethink how I give but how I honor God with the rest of what He has blessed me so richly with.
    A word given, a life touched. Thanks

  25. A says:

    I have given 60 dollars from every pay check to the church for the past 7 years. God has not blessed me. I have no vehicle, I have barely any income and groceries dont run sparingly in my house. But i think the point here is not to ask for blessings in exchange for money. Even if God does not give you what you want you are to honour him either way and give no matter what. The thing is that God is keeping me alive. Even if God doesnt give you money back for your tithe or doesnt pull a mercedes into your drive way, be thankful, you’re still alive. :)

  26. AllanS says:

    There is a very stubborn man named Allan, who could not for the life of him see the sense in giving 10%. He had a wife that would allude to him that they should ,but obeyed his wishes. Finally one day many years ago he decided that things were so financially bad that, ok why not take a smart woman’s advice as his stubbornness was going nowhere. Well the riches in monetary value were at best questionable, however he did see a change in his attitude slowly and also in his wife’s, hence some fruit of tithing was realized. Over a period of time the old stubborn guy noticed that he was getting a joy out of giving another benefit of now what I call giving tithing is just understood in our house now. We are not rich by any means monetarily, but we have been blessed beyond believe over the years and even more so lately as the stubborn old guy decided to get on board and walk with God again. Anyone that is wondering about this story talk to Bruce, Bruce knows. Give for the joy of giving and who cares about riches.

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