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Three False Motivators to Tithing

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Three False Motivators to Tithing

What would motivate a person to even want to tithe? What would stir us enough to actually give 10% of all our increase to the Lord? (By the way, some give 20-30%.)

It’s important that when we tithe, we tithe for the right reasons. There are three common, false motivators that can drive people to tithe. And if any of these are true for you, I encourage you to stop giving immediately, until you get your heart in the right place. I mean that sincerely. Tithing won’t work if these are your motivations.

#1 Guilt

I try not to do anything for the Lord out of a place of guilt. And here’s why. Guilt can only motivate me for a short time.

My purpose for this series is not to make you feel guilty, because I can promise you, tithing won’t become a lifelong habit if it’s driven by guilt.

#2 Obligation

I try not to do anything for the Lord out of obligation. I don’t go to church on Sunday because I ought to. I go because there’s something in me that needs to do this! I need the fellowship. I need the corporate worship.

And it’s the same way with prayer. We can make prayer an obligation or a duty. When we pray (or tithe) out of obligation, we miss the point altogether. Once, during a dry spell when my prayer life was running on fumes I confessed to God, “I’m sorry; I haven’t been praying like I ought to.” In that moment God spoke to me immediately, “You don’t owe me an apology. You’re not praying for my benefit. You’re praying for yours!” That’s exactly how it is with tithing!

God loves us even if we don’t tithe.

The church won’t stop loving you and investing in you if you don’t tithe. But you are the one who misses out (and I’ll tell you why in my upcoming blog posts that follow).

#3 Fear

Fear doesn’t motivate to do anything for very long. Take the doctrine of Heaven and Hell. I didn’t become a Christian just to escape Hell. I find far more spiritual life and energy by focusing on Heaven than on Hell.

And the same concept is true of tithing. I don’t tithe to ward off bad things. I don’t focus on the curse. I FOCUS ON THE BLESSINGS!

Guilt, fear, and obligation can never help me to sustain my commitment to tithe for the long haul. It will eventually run out, and I’ll give up.


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About Ron Bontrager

Lead Pastor of Lakeview Church in Indianapolis.

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