Every culture in the world understands their civil responsibility to those in higher authority. What has escaped most people—even many Christians, is that the HIGHEST authority is the Creator and Owner of all things. That is why Jesus Christ told us to do both: give to "Caesar" what belonged to him and to God what belonged to Him.
God deserves, and we are responsible to give HONOR to Him.
Several forms of "honor" are spoken of in the Scriptures: trust, love, obedience, etc., but we must not neglect to "honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase" (Proverbs 3:9). It is this PERSONAL "rendering" that seems to bring the most challenging pain—both to those who only render "taxes" to the government and to those who should render "tribute" to God.
God is clear about "rendering" a portion of our wealth to Him.
The New Testament is very specific that "every one of" us (I Corinthians 16:2), indeed, "every man according as he purposeth in his heart" (II Corinthians 9:7) is to give of his resources to our Lord. We are further told that it is to be "as God hath prospered him" (I Corinthians 16:2) and that it be "out of that which ye have" (II Corinthians 8:11). In more modern terms, we are to give proportionately (a percentage) of what we earn or possess. The only percentage tribute ever taught in Scripture is the tithe—10% of our "increase."
What's the Christian to do?
While not specifically demanded of the Christian, many view the tithe as a starting place for our thinking. We have both the obligation to give and the opportunity to give more. We are to give cheerfully (Acts 20:35; II Cor-inthians 9:7), lovingly (John 3:16; II Corinthians 8:8-9), expectantly (Luke 6:38 and II Corinthians 9:10-11), and sacrificially (Mark 12:41-44 and Mark 14:3-9). Our gifts should be directed to God-glorifying and Bible-honoring churches and ministries.
Can ICR help?
If we can help in your financial planning and thinking, please contact us.
Cite this article: Henry M. Morris III, D.Min. 2002. Honor and Tribute. Acts & Facts. 31 (5).