Your pastor will probably use Malachi 3 to tell you to "test God" by giving 10% of your income to God (meaning giving 10% to your pastor's employer, the 501(c)3 he works for).
But why give 10% as the "test"? There are two parts of this tithing teaching out of Malachi that can be tested: one is that if you tithe, God will "open the windows of heaven" and you'll reap financial rewards. The other part is that if you DO NOT tithe, that God will curse you and your finances. One of my former pastors even said that "God collects" and God will get the un-tithed money you owe him through calamity he will bring your way, such as leaking roofs, wrecked cars, etc. I never figured out how God would collect the money I pay my roofer or my auto mechanic, unless maybe they attended the same church and THEY tithed...but I digress.
So don't tithe to see if God will bless you; instead, let your pastor know you've decided to give NOTHING to the church, to withhold what you were giving, and to cut it to zero, to test God and see if he curses you like the pastor claims. That is a much easier way to test God in this area, because presumably you are ALREADY receiving blessings - it will be much easier to detect a blessing decrease as you give nothing. Be sure to let your pastor know that you appreciate him giving you the challenge, but you've decided to stop giving until God curses you. Tell your pastor if God does curse you, you will resume giving at the 10% level.
This reverse tithe challenge has a number of benefits to you, the church, and all of Christianity:
1. You can experience the freedom to be a blessing to other people with that money you were giving to the church. You can donate it to another Christian organization, or you can use it to bless your immediately family by paying someone's rent, or buying a new set of tires for your spouse, or even take a much needed trip or cruise to mend a strained marriage or relationship. YOU decide what you will do with it!
2. Your church won't have the burden of possibly raising their spending in response to members' tithes only to have to return it all when God doesn't bless. This reverse tithing challenge will instead require them to tighten their financial belts while they wait for you and others to see if God will keep his word and heap coals of cursings on your head. If God keeps his promise and curses you as your pastor says will happen, then your pastor and staff can rejoice that God cursed you while you reluctantly "bring the tithe" to remove the curse. What a day of rejoicing that will be!
3. God might actually REALLY bless you when he sees you've decided to use your money more for what he really wants it used for: helping people in need, taking care of your family, planning for your future so you can meet needs in the future...rather than using it for lavish buildings and to pay salaries of professional religious men who haven't yet learned a marketable trade.
Anyways, why give your 3% or 5% to the church when the man of God is telling you that you are still cursed since you aren't meeting some phony 10% threshold? Use your charitable contributions to bless other ministries that will actually thank you for being a blessing, instead of one that pronounces cursings on you because you didn't give enough.
So give it a try, church members. It is a novel, fresh, innovative way to put God to the test as he says to do in Malachi 3! But be sure to let your pastor know that you're taking "Watchdog's Reverse Tithing Challenge"!
Of course we already know what the outcome of this "challenge" will be. The only "curse" involved will be the reduction in revenue at your 501(c)3 - THAT is the real curse that your "man of God" fears, and it is what drives him to preach such nonsense. A perfect example of how much these men of God fear this curse is this quote from Stovall Weems in his tithing sermon last month entitled "Yes, the Church Wants Your Money":
"When you get that check, when you get that $2000 check, before you look at your bills, before you do anything else, before you even know if you have enough money to do that, you take $200 and you bring your tithe - to Jesus, through the house of God, your local church."
Stovall and those like him don't want you to even think about or budget your giving. This is greed that knows no bounds. They want - they need - you to blindly give the first chunk of your income before you even consider caring for your own family's needs. It is sick and twisted.
When you get down do the bottom line, THIS is the curse that currently exists in the church, that greedy men twist the Bible to raise revenue at their church.
Break the real curse, by taking the Watchdog's Reverse Tithing Challenge.