The second reason given for why we tithe is that it is an expression of love and worship. I take no issue with this as general premise that speaks to giving. I am not against giving beloved. I have always said that if you are in a gospel centric church it is the best investment for your money. I am against beating the sheep into submission by enforcing laws that do not apply to them and setting them up for losing their faith by imagining promises God never made. Smith cannot leave well enough alone here as he uncorks another trite sound bite:
When God touches your heart you pocketbook always gets saved." -- Eugene Smith
There simply appears to be no depth he is not willing to sink to in order to get your money. He is saving his lowest for last and that is always the Malachi card. Smith plays it here by claiming the third reason why we tithe is to keep from being a thief! Yes you read that right. Now Smith has declared if you are not tithing you are in fact a thief. He of course abuses Malachi 3:8-10 for this point:
Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, 'How have we robbed you?' In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. -- Malachi 3:8-10 (ESV)
One of the most abused set of verses in all of Scripture, Malachi chapter three was not written to or for the church. Perhaps if Smith ever bothered to read the entire book he would see that this letter was not even written to the people in the days of Malachi. It was in fact written to the priests. Smith claims that the people were giving haphazardly -- giving God their leftovers, which is a common theme amongst tithing teachers. This is simply untrue. If we cross reference Malachi with Nehemiah, we can gain some interesting narrative to support what Malachi was complaining about. This is Nehemiah speaking after returning from a trip back to Babylon only to discover the "robbing of God"
I also found out that the portions of the Levites had not been given to them, so that the Levites and the singers, who did the work, had fled each to his field. So I confronted the officials and said, "Why is the house of God forsaken?" And I gathered them together and set them in their stations. Then all Judah brought the tithe of the grain, wine, and oil into the storehouses. -- Nehemiah 13: 10-12 (ESV)
The people were tithing but the leadership was not apportioning out to the Levites what they deserved. They also were allowing a pagan to live in the temple. Nehemiah came back and cleaned house putting God's house in order. Anytime you hear someone preaching from Malachi about tithing you can rest assured they are twisting the scripture. We are not Israel beloved. The tithe and offering system was set up specifically to provide for the Levites. The tithing teacher does not want you to know that because it would set you free from the bondage of compulsory giving. Having reached bottom, Smith now starts to dig with his final point that tithing gives God and opportunity to prove He exists and wants to bless you.
Yes, in the depraved mind of Eugene Smith and tithing teachers everywhere, God needs our assistance to provide Him with an opportunity to prove He even exists. Not exactly a powerful God he is selling. He cannot even bless you unless you allow Him to apparently. When you boil everything down to money you cheapen God. His existence is testified to by the very planet. This last teaching point also reveals one of the more disgusting aspects of tithing teaching. It reduces God to a transactional being. That if we give money; then He will bless us. Calvary is the ultimate blessing and it required no down payment. Not to mention that when you apply this as general principle when it is not you set people up to doubt God. Remember the story of the man facing the padlock of his house? He was taught that blessing is a result of tithing so he tithed. Then he lost his house. God only knows what was left of his faith.