God Owns the Tithe
God has a monopoly on all of our money, all of our goods. This was the contention that God had with the Israelites that we read about in the book of Malachi. God brought a serious accusation against them as He accused them of theft. He accused them of violating the eighth commandment, “You shall not steal.” In their sinfulness when God brought this charge against them they did not know what for. Then God stated,
“In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” (Malachi 3:8-10)
By not bringing forth their full tithe God said that they are robbing Him. He is claiming to have a monopoly over the tithe. God is claiming that the tithe is His. By the Israelites not bringing the full tithe He acquaits it to thievery.
The people of Israel were going through a difficult time of scarcity. They did not submit to God’s ownership over the economy. When the scarce crops came in they looked at the crops and said there is no way we can give a full tenth. Our family will be made to suffer. Since, God loves the family, certainly He will understand. God knows our hearts in this issue and certainly He will be ok with it. This is really a lack of faith and trusting in their own abilities for their economic future rather than trusting in God. God claims to have ownership rights over the tithe and thus condemns the Israelites for withholding it saying that they are thieves.
God Owns Everything
God’s ownership extends beyond the tithe. It is over the means of production as well since he told them he would bless their crops if they did not continue to withhold the tithe. God owns everything.
The law of gleaning tells us that God not only owns the tithe (first fruits), but he owns the last fruits as well via the law of gleaning:
“When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God” (Lev. 19:9-10).
In addition, the Bible speaks of other areas in which God is the owner:
“Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it” (Deut. 10:14).
A Christian is not a person who gives a percentage of “his” income back to God in an act of obedience. A Christian is one who recognizes the reality that God owns everything that he has and one of his many stewardship duties is to tithe to the Kingdom of God as an act of obedience. Everything that we have is his and it is his prerogative to continue to give or to take away and in both of these instances our response is to be, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Contributor / Eric Stewart
Eric Stewart is the Lead Pastor of ONElife Church in Flint, MI.