Chalcedon Report No. 200, April 1982
Tipping is a form of rewarding service. If a waiter serves us well, we give him a generous tip; if his service is indifferent or poor, we either do not tip him, or we give him a very trifling tip. A tip is from a superior to an inferior. It is normally to someone who is poorly paid and must depend on tips to make a reasonable salary.
Most tipping is perfunctory; we do it because it is expected of us, not because we are strongly motivated to do so. It is a social form we abide by, whether we like it or not.
Most giving to God is simply a form of tipping, a perfunctory act we feel obligated to perform. We are more often motivated by what others expect of us than what God requires. Too few tithe to God. A tithe is a tax paid to the sovereign God: it is His due. We cannot give a gift to God unless it is above and over the tithe, because anything other than that is simply a debt and an obligation.
If we try to tip God, we incur His wrath and judgment because we treat Him then as an underling, not as the sovereign. We are then thieves, trying to rob God of His due tax, and Malachi 3:8–12 makes clear the kind of judgment God brings upon all such thieves. Men know that the state takes very seriously any tax evasion; can they imagine that God is any the less angry when men evade His due tax?
Our giving puts a price on God’s government. We say in effect, when we refuse God His tax, that the government is much better left on our shoulders. We say that we can put the money to better use than God can, and that our rule is the primary and essential one. We make clear, by our refusal to tithe, that we are humanists.
We also deny God’s power and Word. We say in effect that the promises of blessings and curses pronounced in Malachi 3:8–12 and Deuteronomy 28 are not to be taken seriously, and that God’s Word is not as important in our lives as our own word and will. We doubt God’s statement, too, that our disobedience can carry us to a point where He will not hear us (1 Sam. 8:18).
How we give makes clear who is the lord in our lives, the triune God, or ourselves. It manifests whether we are idolaters or believers.
- R. J. Rushdoony
Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965. His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.” He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.