If Christians aren’t returning to the Lord at least 10 percent of their income, they literally are stealing from God, say authors Kyle Butt and John Farber in "The Truth About Giving: God's Dare to Give Scripturally."
"There is no record in the Bible where God ever accepted less than 10 percent from any of His followers," the authors write early on in a brief book that is backed by Scripture references throughout.
Butt, a deacon of the Stony Point Church of Christ in Florence, Ala., works in the Bible department of Apologetics Press, a church-supported nonprofit dedicated to the defense of New Testament Christianity. Farber is coordinator of Latin American Missions, overseen by the Forrest Park Church of Christ in Valdosta, Ga. Farber attends the Church of Christ in Orange Park, Fla.
With the premise set early, Butt and Farber lead readers through chapters that establish whose money it is in the first place, why God demands 10 percent, the concept of cheerful giving, God’s "dare" and ultimately why giving at least 10 percent of our income is good for us as Christians.
There are study questions at the end of each chapter, making this book appropriate for small group study and a chapter of frequently asked questions at the end, answering such queries as "Can a member give through his business to take advantage of tax breaks?" (Short answer: yes) or "If a member wants to support a cause that is not in the budget of his or her church, is it okay to use a portion of his regular contribution to support the work?" (Answer: It’s wiser to give 10 percent to each.)
This book will likely inspire Christians to dig deeper and give more, or, if not give more in dollars, to search their hearts to decide where they are storing their treasure.
Just as the Bible says a person's treasure can be stored in one of two places -- in heaven or on earth -- there is little wiggle room in the eyes of these authors. "A Christian who claims to love God but does not give scripturally and liberally does not really love God," they write.
I can recommend this to Christians who want to explore the scriptural basis for tithing and who are ready to face an uncomfortable challenge — a dare.
JIM STAFFORD is a communication specialist for i2E, Inc., and a member of the Quail Springs Church of Christ in Oklahoma City.
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