Tithing

I recently read Tithing: Test Me in This by Douglas Leblanc, another title in Thomas Nelson’s Ancient Practices series. Unlike other volumes in this collective work, Leblanc shies away from personal exploration or scholarly research, choosing instead to study tithing in action. Leblanc takes a journalistic approach, interviewing eleven individuals (or couples) who tithe and who’ve lived the benefits of making the tithe a constant, unrelenting discipline in their walks with God.

Leblanc does confront the modern criticism of tithing as legalistic, but primarily through the words of others, including perhaps the book’s most compelling character, author Randy Alcorn who says this about the Old Testament command and its New Testament implications:

"As a New Testament follower of Christ, in the most affluent society in human history, there’s no way I could ever justify giving less than ten percent when God has required that, really, of the poorest Israelite. Here I know the grace of Jesus. Why would I not give more?"

Alcorn, whose books have sold in the multi-millions, lives on minimum wage, giving away every dollar he makes beyond it.

Some of Leblanc’s profiles aren’t as inspiring as Alcorn’s, but overall, the book makes a strong case for tithing, for a commitment of at least ten percent of one’s income to the local church.

The interview format allows Leblanc to draw from a wealth of personal experience, but fails the author in any attempt to build tension or a dramatic arch. Chapters are more like essays than, well, chapters.

Personally, I think tithing is good. I think giving is essential. And I’d go so far as to agree with Alcorn. I’ve been given more than the Israelites (God’s original tithers) were; Why would I not give more?