Sowing a Seed?
A note from Pastor Reza Safa on the subject of
Tithing and Blessings
For the past thirty years or so, a new concept has been developed among the Pentecostal and
Charismatic churches throughout the world – the concept of sowing and reaping. It is taught that if we give money,
we will reap more in return. Various scriptures from both the Old and the New Testaments have been used to prove this point.
The concept of financial sowing and reaping is used as a fund-raising method to encourage people
to give money to the work of the Lord. Recently, however, it has become more of a doctrinal principle
due to its widespread and exaggerated emphasis.
It is a stumbling block to millions of people worldwide, both Christians and non-Christians.
Since it is causing more harm than good, we must deal with it from a biblical standpoint. Is the idea of sowing and reaping, in regards to finances, a biblical concept?
Sowing & Reaping
God placed a law in nature that would cause the earth to bring forth seeds,
which would then multiply themselves. In the book of Genesis we read:
Then God said,“Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind,
whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind.
And God saw that it was good. And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth,
and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.” Genesis 1:11-12, 29 Also in Genesis 8 we read:
While the earth remains, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease. Genesis 8:22
These and other scriptures from the New Testament are used to prove the idea of financial sowing and reaping: Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. Galatians 6:7
If you study every scripture used to connect finances into the law of sowing and reaping,
you will notice that they are all taken out of context.
Sowing and giving are two different concepts.
Sowing seed and giving money (tithes, offerings, and gifts) are two completely different principles.
One cannot give money to a needed cause and expect that money to be returned to him multiplied.
Some even use the parable in Mark chapter four, where the Lord Jesus taught the condition of man’s heart, to say that the returns on their giving would be thirty-fold, sixty-fold, or one hundred-fold.
Money, a Seed?
Giving and sowing are two different concepts. One cannot mix these two concepts and expect the same result.
You cannot give an apple to someone and expect thirty, sixty, or one hundred apples in return.
Now, if you were to sow an apple seed into the ground, after many years the ground would yield an apple tree.
From this tree you may harvest thirty, sixty, or one hundred apples.
In like manner, you cannot give money away and expect it to be returned to you multiplied.
If you were to take your money, however, and invest it wisely, then you may get a thirty, sixty, or one hundred-fold return.
If what they are saying is true, then every Christian who has ever given money would be extremely wealthy.
The United States of America gives billions of dollars in grants every year to various third world nations. Yet,
the United States is up to her neck in trillions of dollars of debt.
To justify the promised return, they say that one must believe when one gives – “sow into a good ground.”
Thus, they are mixing the concept of the Law (if you give) with the concept of Grace (faith). This teaching in and of itself is contradictory.
The Law does not need faith. Galatians 3:12 Grace, however, does. Romans 5:2
How can one keep the Law and believe for its manifestation at the same time? It is like believing that when I maintain the speed limit,
the policeman will not give me a ticket. What? Of course he will not give me a ticket if I am going the speed limit.
Yet, in churches, we are told to believe God for a great return on our giving!
There is even a new saying, If you do not expect back a return on your giving, you have not given properly! And then, they quote Luke 6:38.
Giving & Sowing
Giving relates to the attitude of the heart, while sowing is a matter of being diligent in our labor. If we mix these two concepts, we will develop an attitude of laziness – a mentality which believes in getting things easily, such as debt cancellation, debt forgiveness, money multiplication through giving, promotion without hard work, favor, open doors, and on and on. This kind of teaching will produce in us an ineffective spirit. We will become unproductive. I believe this is what is happening in the modern church today. People want an easy way out, and they call it faith. We are giving birth to a generation of men and women who expect things without working hard for it. It is one thing to believe God’s promises and blessings, yet it is another to desire things to be handed to us. The Scripture commands us, If anyone will not work, neither shall heeat. 2 Thessalonians 3:10 This teaching makes Christianity to dwell on the receiving end rather than the giving end! It is a teaching for a self-centered gospel!
This idea of giving in order to get back is not in accordance with God’s loving nature. It is the nature of greed and selfishness. I become the subject matter. To give is to love. John 3:16
If you expect to receive back what you have given, you have not loved. An investment in a company does not necessarily mean you love that company. You bought shares and rightfully expect a return on your investment. Some folks will take legal action against a company that does not fulfill what was promised to them. Could this be why so many Christians these days are mad at God?
A true act of giving has no other motive than love itself.
If you expect to get back what you have given, you have not truly given.
The very fact that you have given means that you do not expect back. We call it an offering, a donation, or a sacrifice.
More on this subject may be found in Pastor Reza's book: Blessings in the Light of Our Redemption
Tithe or Tithing (Part II)
A note from Pastor Reza Safa on the subject of Tithing and Blessings
The following is a Note taken from Pastor Reza's Facebook View on Facebook
Are Christians Cursed?
Every Sunday, all around the world, many preachers and pastors use the same scriptures from Malachi that were specifically given to Israel, telling their people that they are under a curse because they do not tithe.
It is said that only 3% to 6% of all Christians tithe. If what these preachers are saying is true, then 94% to 97% of all Christians are cursed with the curse of the Law.
Deuteronomy 28 This means the Body of Christ has, for the past 2000 years, been operating under the curse of the Law. Is this really true?
You mean to say, Christianity has been under this curse for the past two thousand years and Jesus never set us free from the curse of the Law?
I guess Galatians 3:13 is not true then, since Jesus did not redeem us from the curse of the Law after all.
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.” Galatians 3:13
To justify the above scripture, this argument is brought forth: Since tithing was before the Law, tithing surpasses the Law.
Thus, people are under the curse because they do not tithe.
Now, I want you to realize how contradictory this theory is.
Pay attention, the above verse states that we have been redeemed from the curse of the law. This means the curse is related to the Law, if it is the curse of the law.
There could not have been a curse before the Law because the Scripture says, For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Romans 5:13
Notice that "sin is not imputed when there is no law."
For example, if you break the speed limit in a 25 mph zone, you will get a ticket. But where there is no speed limit sign you cannot be ticketed if you drive 35 mph.
So, the curse of the law could not have existed before the Law. Therefore, Galatians 3:13 does relate to the Law of Moses.
If Jesus redeemed us from that curse, then we cannot be under it any longer. Can we?
You have to get this, or religion will confuse you with all kinds of philosophies and it will eventually condemn you. So now we ask, “Is tithing for today?”
Is Tithing An Everlasting Ordinance?
If tithing were an everlasting ordinance that surpassed the Law of Moses, then Paul would have definitely taught about it in his Epistles.
In regard to giving money to the church and the needs of the house of God, Paul taught two whole chapters: 2 Corinthians 8 and 9. Paul does not mention tithing a single time in these two chapters or in any other of his Epistles – not once.
The only place in the Epistles where we see the word tithe being mentioned is in Hebrews chapter 7, which we mentioned earlier. Again, it was in regard to Abraham and Melchizedek.
Tithing takes away the principle of sonship. Tithing belongs to servants and those who are not members of the household of God. Tithing is an ordinance for a servant.
It was all that God could get out of a man who is not born again.
In regard to giving, David was the only one, in the Old Testament, who operated beyond the covenant bindings.
David actually acted more like a son than any other Bible personality under the old covenant.
Read chapters 28 and 29 of 1 Chronicles and you will understand what I mean.
Notice the following verses in chapter 29:14, 16: But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly as this?
For all things come from You, and of Your own we have given You. “O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have prepared to build You a house for Your holy name is from Your hand, and is all Your own.”
Somehow David’s relationship with God surpassed the Law. He did not fit well under the Law. He acted as a son, although he never experienced the new birth. I think it is because of David’s heart for God that caused him to give like he did.
He was not required, according to the Law, to give in this manner. He gave over one trillion dollars in offerings for the building of the Temple in Jerusalem.
What was it? He was in love with God. He acted as a son.
The Law Limits Sons
Sons cannot fit under the Law of Moses.
The Law condemns sons. The Law binds a son and prohibits him from operating in the fullness of his relationship with the Father.
This is evident in the way the Lord Jesus broke, on several occasions, the rules of Sabbath. In one instance, He healed a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath. Luke 6:6-11
The so-called keepers of the Law plotted against His life because He had healed someone on the Sabbath. Jesus broke the Sabbath. Why?
To heal someone. Of course, that religious bunch did not realize the Sabbath was given for our sakes, for us to rest – not vice versa.
Plus, Jesus was the Lord of the Sabbath. He instituted it. He was the Sabbath Himself. He is our rest.
The Law brings condemnation. The Law is a ministry to condemn people. It is known as the ministry of condemnation. 2 Corinthians 3:9
The Law is called the ministry of death. 2 Corinthians 3:7
The letter kills. 2 Corinthians 3:6
Every time a preacher speaks on tithing, he condemns his people.
Every time a pastor teaches his people from Malachi 3:10, he robs people of their generous spirit. He is actually telling his people that they are bad givers.
This is what the Law was for.
The Law was not given to make people generous, but for people to realize they do not give as they should. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Romans 3:20
Yet, many use the Law to force people into a higher level of giving.
That is foolishness!
The Law does not have such capability. If it did, we would have no need for Jesus.
You have to get this. This is a paramount truth that will set Christianity free and set it on fire for God.
Every preacher that preaches on tithing condemns his people and hinders them from giving.
He actually binds the spirit of sonship –a generous spirit in God’s children.
The Jewish people were under the curse because they broke the Law of God.
Notice the following verse: For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” Galatians 3:10
Paul is talking about the Jews who mixed the Law with the Redemption of Jesus!
Israel has been ruled and subjected by almost every force known to man. The only time Israel had an era of blessing and victory was during the reign of David.
Even so, David caused several major curses to come upon God’s covenant people. You need to study the time of David in the Old Testament.
We need to pray for Israel and the peace of Jerusalem; that the eyes of their understanding may be enlightened, and that they may be delivered from the bondage of the Law.
When preachers enforce any Law of Moses, including tithing, they enslave God’s people back into the bondage of the Law.
They literally bring curses upon their people. They bind and condemn God’s people who are purchased freely by the Blood of God’s Lamb.
Notice what Paul tells the churches of Galatia:
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” Galatians 3:10
Not only are they under the curse, but they have also fallen from Grace.
Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. Galatians 5:4 KJV
This means if you trust that you will be blessed through your giving, Jesus’ works (2 Corinthians 8:9) will have no effect in your life.
It means His Grace is ineffective in the area of your life where you lean on your own works.
This is a serious matter.
I believe this is the reason why many churches, which preach on tithing, are struggling financially!
The Spirit of A Son
The spirit that God has put in a son is greater than any given law. God’s Law is engraved in that spirit. Jeremiah 31:33
The spirit of a son is a generous spirit because it is one spirit with Jesus. 1 Corinthians 6:17
When a son is brought under the Law, the spirit that is in him is undermined.
By enforcing Old Testament laws on a born again Christian, one actually asserts that a spirit of a son is a rebellious spirit and needs to be brought under the Law.
That is the reason the Law is being used to make people give. If Malachi 3:10 was the means through which God would get money out of His children, then:
1. He has failed in creating a new spirit in them. Ezekiel 11:19
2. He did not write His Law in their hearts. Jeremiah 31:33
3. The only way for us to obey the Father would be through fear, repercussion, punishment, and curses.
Do you believe that?
By the way, if we are still under the law of tithing, why aren’t churches following the biblical patterns of tithing? These are:
1. To support the priests and Levites – church ministers and workers. Numbers 18:21
2. To bring a portion of it to the church for a communal meal with the Lord. Deuteronomy 14:23-26
3. To support aliens, fatherless, and widows who dwelt in the land of Israel. Deuteronomy14:28-29
4. Give a tenth of the people’s tithe to the Lord’s work. Numbers 18:26
Of the above commands on tithing, churches only practice point 1. Wouldn’t they also be under the curse themselves, since they are not fully following the tithing commands?
More on this subject may be found in Pastor Reza's book: Blessings in the Light of Our Redemption
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Home » Topical Studies » Spiritual Life » Beyond Tithing … Living The Abundant Life Beyond Tithing … Living The Abundant Life Saturday, October 28th, 2006 Spiritual Life Tithing A Bible Study by Jack Kelley
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)
We don’t solicit contributions here, so that’s not what this is about. What it’s about is the incredible gap between the Bible’s promises and believers’ experiences. In spite of passages like John 10:10, the average Christian lives no better than his unbelieving counterpart, and in the opinion of many he’s really worse off. Simple observation would indicate that those who exceed the average do so more because of their worldly skills than their piety. (Thankfully, some are gracious enough to give God the credit anyway.) And we don’t want to even mention the portion of our “abundant life” that’s made possible through the acquisition of debt rather than wealth.
And yet, as the advocates of the so-called “prosperity gospel” are quick to point out, the Bible is full of promises of material blessing for the faithful. It turns out that they might have the right idea but are appealing to the wrong motives. And as you know, with the Lord, motive is what it’s all about. Here’s what I mean.
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. (Malachi 3:10)
In the financial area there are two Biblical principles that Christians routinely violate. Doing so prevents us from living the abundant life the Bible promises here on Earth, and will deprive us of treasure in Heaven. The first is the law of tithing. As a group we’re so far below expectations that it’s no wonder we’re not being blessed.
It’s a simple matter. The Lord views 10% of our increase as belonging to Him. (Leviticus 27:30) When we give it back, we’re only doing what’s required. But very few of us do this. The average is less than 3%, and nearly half of all born again believers never give the first penny back. New Testament Christians who’ve fooled themselves into believing that the tithing law was canceled at the cross have cost themselves the loss of untold blessings in exchange for withholding the paltry amount the Lord asks as an expression of our gratitude for what He’s given us.
Before I started tithing I couldn’t imagine anyone doing it. But I was a brand new Christian and wanted to be obedient, so I bit the bullet and took the first 10% of each paycheck and gave it to the Lord. I didn’t worry about pre-tax or post-tax or deductions because I was taught that you can’t out give the Lord. Financial problems don’t occur because we give too much, but because we give too little. Then I prayed that He would stretch the other 90% to do everything required. It took some adjustment on my part but He was faithful to His promise. Now I would never consider holding back any of my tithe.
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38)
It’s The Least I Can Do Then I learned that the tithe is only the minimum requirement. It’s what you do with the rest of your money that really counts. They say that it isn’t how much you earn that matters, but how much you get to keep. For believers, that’s not quite true. It should go like this. It isn’t how much you earn that matters, but how much you get to give. That’s because with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Like I said, you can’t out give the Lord. It becomes a game to see how much you can give. You begin looking for ways to trim your expenses so you can give more, and as you do the Lord makes more available for you to give. As it is with everything the Lord gives us, there’s an endless supply of wealth and we’re meant to be a channel, not a reservoir. And that brings me to the second principle. It’s a matter of two little words we’ve ignored. The words are “so that” and they’re found in 2 Cor 9:11. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
The Lord didn’t promise us wealth so that we could spoil and pamper ourselves with obscene amounts of luxuries and toys. He promised that we would be rich in every way so that we could be generous on every occasion. There’s a cause and effect relationship at work here. Being made rich is for the purpose of being generous. This is the Divine Law of Reciprocity. The Lord is generous with us and we repay Him by being generous with others. This prompts Him to be more generous with us, allowing us to be more generous with others and so on. In failing to be generous, we violate the Law of Reciprocity and impede the flow of resources. And remember, tithing is not being generous. It’s meeting the minimum.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matt. 6:19-21) “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:20-21)
You see, the idea is not to accumulate wealth for ourselves here where we’re only going to spend 70-80 years. The idea is to trade the earthly wealth we’re given for treasures in Heaven where we’re going to spend eternity.
Now before you say, “OK, Lord, make me wealthy so I can start being generous,” remember He said that those who are faithful with a little will be given more, and those who are not, even what little they have will be taken from them. So it’s progressive, and we have to start where we are. Not so the Lord can see how we’ll respond. He already knows. It’s so we can see how we’ll respond. When we see that we’re naturally selfish and self-centered, we’re supposed to ask Him to help us change. If we don’t, the process breaks down and eventually comes to a halt. Maybe this is the reason that having been given so much, we wind up with so little.
Sacrifice? What sacrifice? I’ve noticed that those who trade earthly wealth for treasures in Heaven don’t talk about the sacrifices they’re making, nor of their heavenly treasure, but of the joy that comes from giving. They have learned that the reason God is making them richer is so that they can be more generous. Instead of pleading with God for the money to meet the payment on their second mortgage that they took out so they could remodel their kitchen again, they’re asking Him for the money to help the missionary they just met, because they’re excited to be a part of God’s work and want to help wherever they can.
My recent emphasis on Eternal Security has shown me that there are a lot of Christians going around trying to lower the population in Heaven by excluding all those whose behavior they don’t like. But where are those who should be exhorting us to increase the quality of our eternal experience, to not settle for the free gift of salvation but instead to press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward? (Phil. 3:14) In our earthbound mentality, we’ve made salvation the goal, not the means to achieving the goal, which is eternal life. Because of that most of us never give a minute’s thought to the Biblical principle of working here to accumulate treasure there. But with so much End Times talk around us that even the secular press is beginning to take note, it’s long past time for us to be developing an eternal perspective. After all, it’s going to happen soon. We have to get past our immature view of the abundant life as being a hedonistic flow of creature comforts and leisure activities. Instead we need to view it as experiencing the joy of giving, with the Lord increasing our capacity as we increase our desire, living truly rewarding and meaningful lives here, while accumulating vast treasures for ourselves in eternity. This is where the prosperity gospel preachers miss the point. Preaching their “give to get” philosophy from an Earthly perspective is misleading at best, and serves to enrich only the preachers. Instead, they should be preaching about giving on Earth to accumulate treasure in Heaven, where it counts, enriching both the giver and the recipient. Give Us An Example I know an American couple here in Mexico that I wish you could all meet. They came here in their late twenties about 12 years ago to re-open a defunct orphanage. They had never run an orphanage and weren’t (and still aren’t) being sponsored by any group or denomination. They just heard the Lord’s call and responded. Since then they’ve raised and educated nearly 500 children through high school in a country where the average kid quits after the 6th grade. At the same time they’ve increased the size of the orphanage by a factor of 4, with 120 kids currently in residence, built and given away a dozen free houses to needy residents of the community and are one of its biggest employers. All with cash the Lord sent them because they learned the Law of Reciprocity. And because of them, thousands of Americans from church groups all over the country visit our little town each year to help out at the orphanage, do community projects, and share the gospel. When you ask them about sacrifices they’ve made, they’ll tell you about the abundant life they’re living.
Can you imagine a life more rewarding? Or the treasure in Heaven they’re accumulating? It’s not too late for you to develop an eternal perspective and begin living your version of the abundant life. But it soon will be. Don’t miss out. Selah 10-28-06