I would like to touch on a point or two from my message on tithing from last Sunday that I just didn’t have the time to share.
In His last week of earthly ministry, Jesus was asked by some religious leaders, “Tell us then, what do you think? Is it lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?” (Matthew 22:17) These leaders were seeking to discredit His teaching. They wanted to catch Him in a clear violation of public policy. They hoped the Roman government would imprison Him and silence the impact He was having on the population of Jerusalem.
Matthew records the question asked by the corrupt scribes and teachers, but Jesus knew it didn’t reflect their real intentions. They flattered Him with platitudes about seeking truth, but they really wanted an excuse to not pay taxes and a way to accuse Jesus of rebellion against Rome. “But Jesus perceived their malice and said, ‘Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites? Show me the coin used for the poll-tax.” And they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” Then He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:18-21)
Both Sides of the Debate
Both sides of this debate are brought up in churches today. Some would deny the government the right to tax its citizens to support policies that are not moral (abortion) or to pay for unjust wars (Vietnam, etc.). Jesus said that “Caesar” has the right to demand tribute whether or not we agree with its use.
Others insist that since the law is no longer in force under the New Covenant. They say our giving is not mandated. People think the “tithe” amounts to whatever the conscience deems appropriate. Jesus told the Jewish leaders they ought to tithe all they were prospered by but not leave the “weightier” issues alone. (Matthew 23:23). On this matter, we are to pay taxes to our Caesar and our tithe to God as commanded.
Honor and Obey Our Creator
Also, our motive for tithing and giving of our offerings needs to be to honor and obey our Creator. We are allowed to file our giving as contributions that are exempt from income taxes. Already, most of the candidates for the presidency in 2020 are calling for churches that support pro-life and refuse to marry same-sex couples should not be allowed exemptions. We need to stand firm on God’s Word regardless of what the government chooses to do. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15)