Does tithing buy happiness?

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That is the title of an article I read on  Monday December 12, 2011 from the USA Today Newspaper. The writer Laura Vanderkam, author of the forthcoming All The Money in the World of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors had some interesting observations in her article. Consider some of her points as quoted below:

1. Churches see an upside to people loading down the collection plate but new insights from happiness research suggest that tithing could benefit the giver too…

2. While 10% sounds like a lot, tithing advocates note that it’s only a lot in the context of giving. In the context of, say housing, 10% sounds cheap.

3. This idea of framing giving in terms of the blessing one receives from it sounds strange, but some people take that idea literally-that if you tithe, God will give back to you. The most clear-cut benefit is a boosted mood.

4. Tithing helps build the ultimate social network: a thriving community of people who will care for you, pray for you and help you in tough times.

5. People who have close-knit networks are happier and healthier than others, too. Breast cancer patients, for instance, are less likely to die or suffer a relapse if they have strong social ties.

6. Most tithers don’t cite “happiness” as a reason for their generosity.

Vanderkam’s conclusion: If a tithe comes with a high likelihood of actually purchasing that elusive state [happiness] it start to sound pretty cheap.

Here is why I choose to tithe and give proportionately (Faith Promise Missions, love offerings, helping the needy through our Food pantry at the church, building programs, & support of our Assistant Pastor) to the Lord through my local church:

A. God commands it. Even though I don’t live under the Old Testament Law the principle of honoring God first is one that the Scripture promotes even in this period of grace that we now live in. Malachi 3:10  Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

B. God commissions and blesses it in the New Testament as the Apostle Paul was used of God to communicate to the Corinth church in I Corinthians 16:2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. 

C. God would have me be joyful in my giving, “cheerful” and there is no better way to be so then to honor Him faithfully as recorded in 2 Corinthians 9:7  Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

Personal note: after serving in the pastorate for more than thirty years I have documented the most content people are those who have learned stewardship-giving God their time, talents, treasures and testimony. The most dysfunctional people are those who are “Christians” but are operating without being good stewards, they tend to be bitter, argumentative, anti-social and unattached to a local assembly. The “renegade” spirit is a disguise in this humble parson’s opinion, for disobedience to the Lord and to put it bluntly, they are selfish. As an umpire once said to me after I was called out on the third pitch, “I call it as I see it, son!”

Dr. Timothy W. Jackson 01-24-2012

Pastor Community Baptist Church of Lansing

2 Responses

  1. Fairy Tanberg

    Hi there! This post could not be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my good old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

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