Only selfish people pay tithes!

What an assertion! I can almost hear somebody say. This guy cannot possibly be a Christian for making such a statement! Well you are entitled to your opinion and that will certainly not change the truth.

Why do people pay their tithes so religiously almost at the expense of many other biblical commands? No one remembers to turn the other cheek when slapped on one cheek. No one remembers to love and pray for his or her enemies when they are offended but instead they call down fire from heaven to incinerate them. Why have people even neglected to provide for their families but would much rather pay tithes forgetting that scripture says that he that does not provide for his family is worse than an infidel and has denied the faith 1 Tim 5:8.

The answer is; “they are selfish”. They do not pay their tithes because they love God; they pay it because they are under the misguided assumption that they will be blessed if they do it. They are more interested in the blessings than anything else. That is their only motivation.

Let 1 Corinthians 13: 3 shed more light on this discussion:

And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Anything not done in love does not amount to anything. If your habit of tithing is not born out of pure love for God, you are definitely wasting your time. Some others try to salve their consciences by saying that they give their tithes to the poor. I still refer those ones to the above scripture; if it not done in love, it is a sheer waste of time. If you are doing it because you want to get a blessing, your motives are impure, very impure.

If you truly learn to love God, you will eventually understand that no amount of giving or tithing can make God love you any more than he already does. If you truly love God, you would not be giving because you hope to receive. You would give because you want to and you will learn to do it selflessly.

The wealthiest guys in world like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet do not give to charity because they expect to receive; they give because they choose to, they are already wealthy. Their wealth did not even come from seeds sown into their lives or faithful tithing on their part.

Stop the self-deceit. Stop the selfishness.


11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. M. Patterson
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 22:59:57

    The tithing Christian is already a dieing breed. In most churches, no one knows who tithes, and a minority get to foot the whole bill. There is no room for deceit when no one knows about it. Gates, on the other hand, did not give until it hurt, but the whole world saw it. I don’t understand why you would elevate him, but condemn the people who tithe?


  2. Tony Isaac
    Jan 29, 2009 @ 15:15:16

    Hi, I am in no way elevating Bill Gates. I am only pointing out that He does not give EXPECTING to receive and he is still wealthy. Those that tithe at all only do so because they expect to receive something from God in return. In other words, they give so that they can receive. That I believe is very selfish. And a lot of them eventually get a bit disappointed when all that they hope to receive never materialises. I have been there and I know how it feels.

    All am saying is, we Christians should learn to give selflessly. We should give because we love God and not because we expect a blessing in return. If for instance, I only give money to my wife after she has agreed to sleep with me, do you think she will want my money on the long run? But if she knows am giving her the money because I love her, I would not even need to ask before I get my due and she would do it joyfully. I know it’s a weird example but it conveys the point.

    I also beg to differ on your point that in most churches no one knows who tithes. Quite a number of them keep meticulous records. In many of these churches, it is a requirement for membership and also a requirement for leadership in others. You get chided if you do not pay your tithes and could be kicked out of the church in extreme cases.

    I do hope I make sense.


  3. Gwaine
    Feb 13, 2009 @ 20:26:41

    Hi Tony,

    There’s much one could appreciate from your thoughts.

    However, I often come across lines like this:

    Those that tithe at all only do so because they expect to receive something from God in return. In other words, they give so that they can receive. That I believe is very selfish.

    Well, the issue is not about “those that tithe” to the elision of those that give in other ways. If the problem is about being selfish, we all struggle with it; so it’s rather not thoughtful to assume largely that ‘ONLY “selfish people” pay tithes‘. Is there no selfishness with those who give in other ways but with the same motives?

    However, while love should be the motivation of our giving (and indeed, every aspect of our lives), we should be careful in thoughts about the benefits of doing so. I’m not particularly sure that people opposed to tithing have not been preaching about “giving to receive” – they just do so in other verbiage. However, while leaving specifics names of such teachers out for the moment, I wonder if you have some thoughts to share on the benefits of giving, if any at all.



  4. Tony Isaac
    Feb 14, 2009 @ 08:41:53

    Hi Gwaine,

    I find your line of thought quite intersting. You are right, I should probably tweak the title a little bit to reflect giving for love’s sake and not generalise it. Thanks for the observation.

    The fact is, when you have been surrounded by people that flaunt their tithe paying and to them it is just another feather in their cap, another accolade to their already expanding repertoire of self righteouness before God you can find the doctrine quite disgusting.

    In all my life, I have never seen anyone who tithed out of love for God. It has always been born out of either fear or of the selfish motive of giving to receive.

    Read this article and please tell me what you think.


  5. Gwaine
    Feb 14, 2009 @ 14:17:14


    You and Jared (‘tithe‘ from the other blog) are honestly among the few reasonable guys I’ve ever dialogued with – and that’s one thing I’ll keep appreciating. Thank you for your friendship. 🙂

    True, the tendency to self-righteousness in many quarters is a put-off, and it doesn’t have to be on the subject of tithes alone. What if it was some other big issue in Christianity – perhaps it would not be the doctrine itself that may be flawed, but rather the attitude of believers to the subject.

    Although not a related topic, let’s take the Lord’s Supper as an example: either way, just because some believers have tended to abuse the Supper, that in itself would not warrant the inference therefore that the doctrine of the “Passover” was heretical. (One example is my dismay with some ministers who now sell the elements of the Lord’s Supper with all kinds of theological gymnastics to persuade believers to buy and spend).

    So, yes – people have abused this subject of tithes either way (and I can relate to your experience). However, through the years, I’ve come to understand that my personal experiences (good or bad) are not sufficient reasons to denigrate the subject entirely. There are practical questions to be asked; although we cannot ignore the fact that some arguments for and against tithes have been a bit over the top.

    Read this article and please tell me what you think.

    Thanks, I read it and saw it’s a common, sad experience and an example of the prevalent pro-tithing extremity that’s been of dire concern to me. It’s just as worrisome as this other that someone else pointed me to:

    ”They were fired due to their failure to comply with certain requirements of the Mormon Church,” said David B. Watkiss, a lawyer with the A.C.L.U. ”Employers checked with various officials to see whether plantiffs had attended church and paid tithing, among other things.”

    So, whether it’s church membership or employment (or any other aspect of living for that matter), tithes have been used for discrimination and abuses of various sorts. However, these scandals do not warrant the inference that “tithing” is therefore a heretical doctrine.

    It seems to me that it’s more the abuses in the pro-tithing camp that evoke the reaction from many that ‘tithing’ is an “error” in the Church. In my view, we should not be polarised to draw that inference hastily. As in the example above, abuses of the Lord’s Supper do not necessarily mean that the doctrine of the Passover is heretical.

    Perhaps a more appropriate response would be to focus on and deal with the real issue: the abuse. If people stopped giving tithes (ie, the “10%”), would the scandals be eliminated or come to an end? I know of some local churches that don’t teach tithes, and yet have not escaped these abuses. A few other churches (non-tithing) tend to have abused the finances of their members who gave “freely” (I could provide the links upon request).

    On either side, as we weigh the real issues involved, perhaps we would help ourselves more to seek a healthy balance in all considerations. Abusers have no justification whatsoever for these sad experiences. And may God help the many who are perplexed one way or the other.



  6. ginowan777
    Feb 19, 2009 @ 22:01:12

    I’ve seen some who outwardly say they tithe in simple obedience to God, but usually it comes back to the fact that from day (1) they been programed to tithe.

    We were programed from the beginning of our Christian walk, the problem was I began to read the Bible ofr myself.

    Christian leaders have shortchanged themselves IF they would have taught cheerful giving from the start people would have given much more freely. But then they would have used the money to build bigger and bigger buildings and on and on I could go with that thought.

    Blessings from Japan
    Jerry <


  7. Dan Dickerson
    Feb 22, 2009 @ 09:25:10

    Tony Issac,
    I finally found your blog 🙂
    I don’t know that I’ve ever thought of tithing in the light of selfishness with such clarity. I wonder how many would continue to tithe if the promise of a blessing were taken away. One time the Lord led me to give for about 6 to 12 months and expect nothing in return, but rather, just give because He was asking me to give. He wanted me to just give out of love, not to get something in return. It was a great lesson for me to learn, just to give for givings sake, to just be a channel of blessing and not just be like the dead sea, where water flows in but not out.
    Thanks brother for this blog.


  8. Tony Isaac
    Mar 05, 2009 @ 10:17:28

    Hi Jerry,

    You are right about the programing part and rather unfortunately the false promise of huge material returns on the tithes makes the doctrine so pleasing. If it was something else that did not promise such rewards, no one would do it. And yes rather unfortunately true bible students are now an endangered species, not many read their bibles the way they ought and thus they fall victim to false doctrines. A shame really.

    Hi Dan, so good to hear from you. Yes I too have learnt not give to prove a point or because there is the promise of a blessing. I give because I choose to and not because am hoping to gain some returns on my giving. Anyways, how are you holding up?


  9. Gwaine
    Mar 05, 2009 @ 10:43:14

    “I find your line of thought quite intersting. You are right, I should probably tweak the title a little bit to reflect giving for love’s sake and not generalise it. Thanks for the observation.”

    Hallo Tony,
    If we’re going to be honest, what happened to the ‘tweaking’ of the title? It seems we’re more inclined to mislabel tithers and see them as the “ONLY” selfish people; but is it not a fact that those who often speak about “cheerful” and “freewill” giving never take the time to see their own pride?

    It isn’t a healthy thing to generalize issues. Just as abuses have resulted from tithing, so much more abuses have come about by the campaign for “cheerful” giving in many quarters. Jerry underscores the point quite well – IF people had taught “cheerful giving”, would they not have “used the money to build bigger and bigger buildings and on and on”?? It does not appear that the real problems ever cross the minds of those who debate this issue about tithing from programmed anti-tithing outlook. I trust that when we begin to look beyond these sad labelling and finger pointing, then we shall have grace from the Lord Jesus to see the real issues and deal accordingly.



  10. eliteinchrist
    Mar 05, 2009 @ 11:36:21

    Ok Gwaine, I hear you.


  11. Trackback: Why are we christians so selfish? « Eliteinchrist’s Blog

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