I’ve just completed reading a book that took me by surprise. Douglas Leblanc interviewed more than a dozen different religious leaders in this thoughtful contribution to The Ancient Practice Series published by Thomas Nelson simply titled Tithing. I was surprised that I would enjoy reading abook called “Tithing!” Wouldn’t you? My enjoyment came from the way Leblanc approached the topic. He didn’t present a scholarly case for the NT practice of an OT command or attempt to visit old red-herring arguments (gross or net?). Instead, he spoke with people about their personal journey with tithing. It was as if these different people from different religious traditions in various parts of the country were each giving their own testimonies of their tithing experiences. From liberal to consevative, protestant to Catholic, and from peace activists to a Jewish rabbi. A number of common themes emerged from this ecletic group.
The first theme is freedom. Tithing has provided freedom to most of these tithers. Freedom from the burden of taking care of stuff. Freedom that comes from allowing God to manage their finances. Freedom that comes from knowing that you are making a difference in the lives of people through being a generous giver.
A second theme is obedience. Nearly every one of these tithers spoke in terms of tithing as doing what the Bible expects of them. Their giving reflects a desire to follow teachings that they hold with reverence. To do less woud demonstrate a lack of integrity and commitment. However, none of them spoke of tithing as a requirement. Instead, tithing is described as a natural response where they said, “Of course we’ll tithe.”
Another theme that appears throughout these testimonies is best articulated by qouting one of the interviewees – Randy Alcorn – who describes tithing as “training wheels.” In other words, it’s a good place to start but because God’s grace is so plentiful and generously given we can be generous in what we give away too.
I’m also surprised that I would recommend this book to others! It would be a helpful read for anyone in church leadership, small group leaders, or anyone who would like to know and trust God more deeply.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Book Review Blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”