In any advanced social order, social financing is a major public necessity. The social order cannot exist without a vast network of social institutions which require financing and support. If a Christian concept of social financing is lacking, then the state moves in quickly to supply the lack and gain the social control which results. Social financing means social power.
Jesus commented that “…where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Mat.6:21). People put their money into those things that they consider to be worthwhile; the things they believe will prove to be profitable for themselves or others. When this is done in an irresponsible way (such as in a godless society), some institutions and people will receive monies that they cannot use wisely, and those people and institutions that are responsible, are deprived.
This is why proper, Biblical tithing is so critical for health of any community. Time after time, we have seen governments everywhere confiscate large amount of money from the community in the form of taxation, only to fritter it away on foolish and inefficient schemes. We cannot always do a lot to stop this, other than voting for governments that will tax less, and encouraging government to tax and spend less. But what we can do, is ensure that we are honouring God in the use of our tithe.
The tithe belongs to the local Church. If all Church members who earned an income tithed, it would mean the Church was able to employ more people and do more things in the community.
But it would mean much more than this. I am heartened by the proliferation of Christian schools, hospitals and aged care institutions in the Australian community. They indicate that Christians are seeing these places as worthy of their dollars, and are building them up. Yes, they may be receiving money from the taxpayer (which is far from ideal), but they do exist.
The will to rebuild is basic to those who see sin as the problem, and God and His law-word as the answer. They are concerned with rebuilding in their own lives, to exercise dominion over themselves and the earth, and they are thus the forerunners of reconstruction in every realm. To them all things are possible under God.
When there are natural disasters such as floods and bushfires, and churches and Christian people can turn up there to care with food, medical supplies and blankets, that is wonderful. It is a huge statement of our beliefs (think of Mat.25:31-46, and the Good Samaritan) in action. As Christians are relied on in the community, and trusted to steadily take this kind of responsibility, it then means that tax resources do not need to be set aside for this in future by governments.
What is happening? A snow-balling effect has commenced, where Christians have begun to really impact their community and nation. It is never in some grandiose way, but quietly coming along to assist where there is a need.
We should never minimise this, saying, “Oh well, it wasn’t much.” It WAS much. It is the beginnings of something remarkable in the community. We have always had the potential for this, and in some way, it has been taking place from the beginning. But the tithe (when paid by Christians across a whole nation) permits this on a massive scale that we may not ever have dreamed of. It means the Church and Christian people becoming responsible for all manner of essential social activities, which means that over time, we get to do a lot more, and to influence more.
And so we get to be community builders, line upon line. The Biblical principle is always, “power flows to those that take responsibility.” As non-believers see this taking place it becomes clear to them that the Church is really doing something. It has an agenda, and is going about its tasks successfully, getting results for its investment of money and time, and really helping people. And this encourages people to want to join this institution. To say, “well, maybe this crowd is worth being a part of.”
The Bible warns us: “Who has despised the day of small things?” (Zech.4:10). Every journey starts with a few small steps. The tithe is God’s means of financing social reconstruction, and the Bible promises that “…the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Hab.2:14). A big part of this will be Christians honouring God and tithing, and taking responsibility in their local community. Are you ready?
Make no mistake about it: social financing is a social necessity. It will either be done by an irresponsible and godless state, subsidizing irresponsibility and godlessness and penalizing the godly, or it will be done by godly men, who, through Biblically grounded administration and godly wisdom, will further social order, true churches, Christian education, and a society flourishing in liberty under God.