TITHING -- YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
By Jarrette Aycock
Printed In The United States Of America
SCRIPTURE LESSON: Malachi 3:8-12
There is need of a real awakening
in the church on
tithing. We assume the tithe as a Custom
rather than a command of God and the teaching of the Scriptures.
God commands that all people
everywhere should tithe. There is no method that will solve the
financial problems of the church as
readily as all the people bringing all their tithes into the
In this message I desire, in a personal, heart-to-heart way, to discuss
with you a few simple
questions about tithing.
WHAT IS THE TITHE?
What do we mean by the tithe? What do we mean by giving a tithe?
A tithe is one-tenth of our earnings. It is one dime out of each
dollar. It is one dollar out of
every ten. It is ten out of every hundred. It is one hundred out of a
thousand. This is the part that
God asks of His people.
"Can one be a Christian and not tithe?"
I have often heard this question asked.
I have heard preachers give the impression that one could not.
My answer to it would be, "Yes." Our salvation does not depend
upon our tithing.
One can be a Christian and not tithe but, I believe, he can be a better
Christian if he will
Other than repentance and faith, our conversion does not depend upon
anything we do.
However, after we are saved, keeping our salvation depends much upon
our conduct. To keep
victory and grace in our hearts we must walk in the light that God
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"To whom does the tithe belong?" I would like to
answer this question with scripture, "The tithe is the Lord's."
In Lev. 27:30
we read, "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 unto the Lord."
Some may quote, "The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof," or,
Yes, that is true; but God has given man the earth to use, and the
tithe is the rent He asks for
the use of it.
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My father was a tenant farmer in Oklahoma; our land was rented from an
He said to my father: "You may live in that house. You may have
what land you desire for
gardens and things of that kind; you may use the barn, the pasture for
your horses and cattle. But the
major portion of the land I want planted in cotton and corn, and for
the use of all this I want
one-third of the corn and one-fourth of the cotton."
That was the rent for the use of that particular farm. We called
it "renting on the third and
fourth." A third of all the corn and a fourth of all the cotton
we raised belonged to the man who
owned the land. It did not belong to my father.
It is true he tended it, gathered it, and sold it. But unless the
money was turned to the
landlord, my father could have been brought into court, and judgment
would have been found
God does not ask a third or a fourth, but God does ask
that we give Him the "tithe" of all
that the land bringeth forth, or a tenth of our earnings.
When it dawned upon me at that noon hour in my office long ago that
one-tenth of my
earnings belonged to God, I did not have to get down upon my knees and
take out a dollar and
pray: "Lord, I have just discovered that one dime out of this
dollar belongs to You but I don't want
to give it to You. It is true that You have told me that I could
use nine dimes if I would give You
one. But, Lord, my selfish heart wants all ten dimes. I
don't want to give You even a tenth of the
dollar." No! I did not have to do that.
You say, "That would be blasphemy." Yes, that is true. Yet there are
thousands of people
who claim to love and follow the Lord who do not even pray about it.
They just keep all the dimes
of every dollar they earn.
I know of nothing that thrilled me as much as
awakening to the fact that I was God's
steward and one-tenth of all I made belonged to Him.
I had nothing to give at the time, for I had spent all I had. But as
soon as I received my
check on Saturday, I went to the bank window and cashed it. I put
nine-tenths in one pocket and I
put the tithe in the other.
I eagerly and quickly made my way, at the first opportunity, to the
house of God, in order
that I might pay my tithe. "THE TITHE IS THE LORD'S."
"What is the difference between the tithe and
The tithe is one-tenth of our earnings. The Scriptures have said, "The
tithe is the Lord's."
That leaves us nine-tenths. Our offerings come from that A person who
pays only his tithe has
never given anything to God.
Thousands of people feel that when they pay their tithes they are doing
that is only giving what is due. That is only paying the rent. If you
give anything to God, it must be
from your nine-tenths.
A man said to me, "When I go to the church on Sunday and
place the tithe of my salary on
the plate, I have fulfilled all my obligations to God."
I answered, "No! all you have done is to pay what you owe. 'The tithe
is the Lord' That
belongs to God. You haven't given anything to the Lord until you give
above your tithe."
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"What shall we tithe?"
I would answer with the Word of God, as recorded in Deut. 14:22, "Thou
shalt truly tithe
all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by
year." What shall we tithe? All the
increase that the land bringeth forth.
Back in the days in which the law of the tithe was given to Moses,
God's people were
farmers; they were herdsmen; they had flocks and herds;
they raised grain, fruit, and had their great
vineyards. God said, "Tithe it all."
Today most of us who read these lines are salaried people. We
have an income, and that
should be what we tithe.
Someone asked me the question, "What do you consider our income?"
I answered, "That is easy, just turn it around. Our income is
what comes in."
When shall we tithe our income? In my opinion, we should tithe it
when it comes in. We
should pay our tithes before the taxes are paid, before the car payment
is made, and before we
make a payment on a suit or dress that the merchant has laid by.
Our income is what comes in, and we should tithe our income when it
A good layman friend of mine said to his pastor, "I
cannot feel clear in subtracting the cost
of the feed I buy to feed my milk cows. If I subtract the cost of
such things, how can I figure the
amount God should charge me for the sunshine and rain that produce the
pasture, which is the
principal feed factor for my cattle? To avoid becoming legalistic
with God, I just tithe the entire
amount of the check."
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I have often heard people say, "My business is such, the
way I make my living is so
complicated, that I do not know just how to figure my tithe."
I fear that this attitude is a flimsy excuse for not tithing. I
venture to say that if I were in any
kind of business, regardless of how unusual or how complicated or how
mysterious, if one-tenth of
all I made belonged to you, even if you had never been to school and
could not read or write, you
could and would find a way to figure it.
If we want to, we can find a way to figure God's tenth and see that He
gets what is due
I know people who have a few chickens, a cow, a garden,
or something else, who believe
in tithing and who are so careful that God should get all His due that
they tithe their eggs, their
chickens, and their gardens.
Many of them give this tenth to their pastor, which, I think, is a very
helpful and generous
thing to do. Others who have these things on a larger scale sell their
produce and give a tenth to the
If I had any difficulty figuring my tithe, if I had a
question as to whether I was paying my
full tithe or not, I would so figure it that I would be sure that God
had His tenth. If you run over,
you will never lose anything by it. One never loses by being
generous with God. The old colored
fellow said, "God doesn't mind being overpaid a little once in a
while." "The Lord loveth a
Often people say, "I do not keep account but I am sure I
give more than the tithe."
Again I would venture, if you do not keep account you do not pay your
tithe. I have met too
many people who thought they tithed, but once they began keeping a
strict account they confessed
that they had never paid a tenth before.
It is surprising and it is wonderful how the tithe builds up and how
often you have money to
put into the church when you rigidly, faithfully, and consistently
tithe your income.
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There are some who are inclined to argue about the
tithe. They say it is not taught in the
In Matt. 23:23 Jesus said, "Ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin,
and have omitted the
weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought
ye to have done, and not to
leave the other undone."
"These ought ye to have done," refers to the first statement, "Ye pay
tithe of mint and anise
and cummim" No one says the tithe is the most important. Judgment,
mercy, and faith are greater
than tithing; but Jesus endorsed both.
Some would ask the question, "Did Jesus mention it
We must answer, "No." There are two records of this same
statement, but this is the only
time the Master ever mentioned directly or used the word tithe.
Does that weaken the argument? No. How many times should
Jesus mention a thing to make
it true? The only time He ever mentioned it, He said, "Ye ought
to tithe," and that is just as binding
as though He had mentioned it in every chapter of the Gospels.
The very tenor of Paul's message to the Jewish
Christians in Heb. 7:1-10 is an endorsement
of the tithe.
The statement, "Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay
by him in store, as
God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come,"
suggests taking the tithe from
our weekly income for the storehouse of God.
You notice that Jesus, in speaking of tithing, referred
to the law.
No one denies that tithing was the law of the Old Testament. The
Scriptures say that Jesus
came, not "to destroy the law ... but to fulfill it. The law is
no more done away with in tithing than
it is in judgment, mercy, and faith.
When they asked Jesus about paying tribute to Caesar, He
answered, "Render to Caesar the
things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."
I quote from Lev. 27:30, "The tithe
is the Lord's"; and Jesus said, "Render ... unto God the things that
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"May we borrow the tithe?"
According to Lev. 27:31, yes. It says, "And if a man will at all redeem
ought of his tithes,
he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof."
If I get in a tight and I have a hundred dollars of tithe money, I may
use it; but when I pay it
back, I must pay one hundred and twenty dollars.
The most hard-boiled, money-grabbing banker hardly dares ask more than
10 per cent
interest. Yet this great God of love and mercy charges 20 per
Why should God ask more interest on His money than the banker? In
fact, in most instances,
more than twice as much. Because it is dangerous to use the
Borrowing the tithe from the Lord is like children borrowing money from
They are honest and plan to pay it all back. Yet many of you know
by experience how it turns out
Once you have borrowed from your tithe, it is one of the hardest things
in the world to replace.
The devil takes advantage of the fact that you are in debt to God and
whips you over it and
makes you miserable and, if possible, will make you backslide
altogether. It is dangerous to
borrow the tithe. If you need money, you had better go to the
bank. Don't borrow from the Lord.
Suppose a man hands me a ten-dollar bill to give to our
rescue mission. He has made me
his steward. He has entrusted me with his money to turn over to
our rescue mission treasurer.
Suppose I owe a hundred dollars to some mercantile company and my
note is due and, instead of
turning the ten dollars to the treasurer of our rescue mission, I add
it to my ninety dollars and pay
my debt to this mercantile company. You say, "Brother Aycock, that
would not be honest -- that would not be right."
True! However, it would be just as honest as it would be
for me to take ten dollars of the
tithe of God's money and apply it on my debts.
Never lose sight of the fact that "The tithe is the Lord's." No
part of it belongs to us.
Therefore, we have no right to use it to pay our debts.
However, I listened to the devil. I quit paying my
tithe so I could pay my debts, and the
result was God was not getting anything, I was not getting anything,
and neither were my creditors.
Condemnation came into my heart and I began to lose peace, joy, and
victory from my soul.
When I awakened to this fact, I went on my knees and promised God that,
if He would
forgive me, I would pay Him one-tenth of all I made the rest of my
Immediately I began tithing again, and it was not long until I had a
dime to go into the
church and I had ninety cents to apply on my debts.
I discovered back there years ago that ninety cents will go further if
God gets the tithe than
the whole dollar will go if God does not get anything.
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Almost every time I speak on tithing, someone asks, "May
we not pay our expenses and
tithe what is left?" This question is asked occasionally publicly
and often privately.
I will not be dogmatic in answering this question but I know this, with
most of us, when we
pay our expenses there is very little left to tithe. Personally,
I have always tithed my income when
it came in. I have never regretted it and I can highly recommend
For many years I was an evangelist and was paid quite
well. When a church gave me my
offering for a revival, I put aside my tithe before I paid a hotel
bill, before I bought a ticket, before
I filled up my car or figured any expense to the next place. I
tithed the total amount given me.
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You ask, "Could you not have paid your fare to your next revival, taken
out the expenses of
the trip, and then tithed what was left of your offering?"
I can only answer, "I never did and I am glad I tithed it all."
Did I Lose? If I was wrong in paying a tithe of the whole,
do you think I have ever lost anything? Do
you think that I am any worse off financially or spiritually because I
paid God a tenth of my
I know that I am not. One never loses anything by being generous
If I had it to do over again after these forty years, I would
still tithe it all. "Give, and it
shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken
together, and running over."
Perhaps the question asked more often today than any
other is, "Where shall we give our
It seems to me that it is so definitely and clearly answered in Mal. 3:
10, "Bring ye all the
tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house."
What is the storehouse? The storehouse is God's house.
"That there may be meat in mine
house." In other words, I think, the storehouse to each
individual is the church to which he belongs.
How a person can use his tithe to help his poor kinsfolk
or to send the children to school or
for any other selfish purpose and figure that it is going into God's
storehouse is beyond me.
God said, "My house." Personally, I do not have any
kinsfolk that remind me of God's
I do not believe that we are bringing our tithe into
the storehouse when we send it away to
independent preachers and workers who give no account of the money they
free-lance men and women use the money sent in to them, only God knows.
You may ask the question, "Don't you think it is legitimate, if we hear
a good message on
the radio that appeals to us, for us to send something? Do you
think we do wrong when we do
I think, if you want to give to the radio preacher you should give it
out of your nine-tenths.
"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse." If all of
our people would do this, the financial
problems of our local churches would be more than solved.
If the preacher to whom you listen has a great program
of missions or some definite work
of the Lord, remember we too have a program, we too go all out for
missions both at home and
abroad. Does he have a great radio program? Our own
church has one of the best in the nation.
As a church we have a great work, we are accountable for all the money
that is given us,
and an exact record is kept, so you may know where your tithe works for
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What are the results of storehouse tithing?
Again the Scriptures give a definite answer. "Prove me now
herewith, saith the Lord of
hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a
blessing, that there shall
not be room enough to receive it" (Mal. 3:10).
You often hear people quoting this verse when they pray. They use
this verse when praying
for various things, but the key to this window is in your pocket or
purse. This promise is only to
the storehouse tither.
There may be other windows and other blessings we can claim at other
times, but this one
is particularly for those who "bring ... ALL the tithes into the
storehouse." God said, "The
storehouse is My house." If language means anything here, it
means the church-the place of
A lady stood up during a message and asked me, "Is not
this blessing He is speaking about
a spiritual blessing?"
I answered: "Yes! I do not believe that one can faithfully tithe
without receiving a spiritual
blessing or an uplift in soul. But I think primarily the blessing
referred to in this scripture is a
In Mal. 3:11, God says: "I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and
he shall not destroy
the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit
before the time in the field, saith the
Lord of hosts."
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"How can I afford to pay one-tenth of my income to my
A lady came to me at the close of a message on tithing and said:
"Brother Aycock, I can't
afford to tithe. My family would suffer if I gave a tenth.
I can't support them on the nine-tenths of
what I earn." I did not argue with the lady, for it seldom
But it seems to me that such an excuse is very poor.
Friend, if you cannot live on ninety cents out of a dollar, doesn't
common sense teach you
that the dime will not keep you alive much longer?
If we must starve anyway, then let us pay our tithe and
live as long as we can on the ninety
cents and go out to meet God with clean hearts and say to Him, "I could
not make it on the
nine-tenths but I did not rob You. I paid my tithe."
Don't ask the question, "How can I afford to tithe?" A better
question is, "How can I afford
not to tithe?" No one ever starved to death because he paid his
tithes. No children ever suffered
because God's tenth was faithfully given. You can't afford not to
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A question often raised by Christians in their hearts,
if not on their lips, is, "Does tithing
I would answer, "Yes." If one tithes in the right spirit, if one
tithes because tithing is taught
in the Scriptures, if one tithes because he loves God and because it is
right, I believe it pays. It
will pay spiritually and it will pay materially.
You say, "I know people who faithfully pay the tithe who do not
Probably so, but it was not because they tithed. You may have
known people who lost all
they had who were tithers, but they did not lose it because they
tithed. No one ever lost anything by
being honest and paying the tenth to God.
While you may find a few that were faithful tithers
that failed to prosper, that lost all they
had, yet on the other hand you can find hundreds, yes, thousands, who
will testify that God has
blessed them materially since they started tithing. They
attribute their prosperity to the fact that they
were faithful in paying their tithe.
Jesus said, "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure,
pressed down, and shaken
together, and running over" (Luke 6:38).
There was a young couple with two small children.
He was a cripple from the war. His
government check was very small. It was hardly enough to keep the
wolf from the door. The little
house in which they lived was not their own and it was poorly
furnished. They picked cotton and
worked at any kind of manual labor they could find to help supplement
this government check.
One day the wife was reading the Bible and came across some scriptures
on tithing. I
assume it was this third chapter of Malachi. Anyway, reading it,
she was convinced that this was
God's plan. When the husband came home that night they read it
together and, though it seemed
impossible, they decided they would tithe.
She said: "To take a tenth of our government check when it came seemed
like taking bread
from the mouths of my children but we were faithful and, though we are
not church folks, we
believed that it was God's plan."
"Three years have gone by, and now we can dress our children so we are
not ashamed of
them when they go to school. We have better furniture and rugs on
our floor. We have a tractor, a
wagon, a team, a nice flock of chickens, and some cows for milk."
Then she said, "You ask me, 'Does it pay to tithe?' We have proved that
it does pay."
"Prove me ... if I will not ... pour you out a blessing."
A very dear layman friend of mine, a good Christian and
a strict tither, when he was first
married bought a ten-acre orchard.
One day while in one of his trees shortly before the gathering of the
crop, he noticed what
seemed to be a storm coming. He climbed down and got on his knees
at the foot of the tree and
promised God that, if He would protect his orchard from the hailstorm
that seemed on its way, he
would pay Him two-tenths of all he made, no matter how much it was.
The hailstorm came on and badly damaged the orchards on all four sides
of the ten acres,
but his orchard was spared. He made the greatest crop that year
that he had ever made in his life,
and all over the community people talked about his orchard and how his
crop was spared.
You say, "Oh! that just happened." Maybe so, but it happened
to a man who paid his tithe.
It happened to a man who had just promised God that if He would
spare his crop he would pay
Him two tithes. It fulfilled the scripture in the lesson of Mal.
3:11, "I will rebuke the
devourer for your sakes."
Ask my friend and he will tell you why his crop was spared. It was
spared because he
promised God that he would pay Him two tithes.
Over against my friend whose orchard was spared when
he promised God he would pay
two tithes, a minister friend of mine tells the story of one of his
members who was a merchant in a
small way. He had been a faithful tither and one who gave
offerings during special meetings.
Shortly before a revival began the minister went down to his place of
business and noticed
the man seemed very nervous as he talked to him and finally asked him
about his gift for the
coming revival. The merchant said: "No! It is time
some of the other people around the church paid some of
the bills. I am tired of giving to the church. I am tired
of giving to the district and I am not doing it
any more. I am not paying my tithe. I am going to enjoy my
He pointed to a beautiful car parked at the curb and said, "Do you see
that? It is mine. It is
paid for. There is not a penny against it." Probably the
fact that he paid cash is why
no insurance was taken out. Anyway, the pastor went away grieved.
A little while after he left, the man went out and got into his car to
enjoy some of the things
that he had made. It was only a short while until there was a
terrible wreck. The car was
completely demolished beyond repair, and not a penny of insurance.
The man himself was badly
crushed and taken to the hospital, where he remained for six months.
When he regained consciousness and could talk, he said to his pastor:
"I have paid an
awful price for this lesson but, if God gives me back my strength, I
will pay Him one dime out of
every dollar I make as long as I live, and I will give offerings
Again someone says: "Oh! it just happened. There are thousands of
every year and many of them involve good Christian people. What
you tell about this man just
happened." Probably so, but it happened to a man who had just
backed down on light and refused
to pay his tithe. You can't afford not to tithe.
Yes, it pays to tithe. It always pays to walk in the light, to
obey God, and to follow the
teaching of the Word. It pays off in satisfaction, a good
conscience, and in that blessing which He
promised through the prophet Malachi.
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