Tithe/Tithing

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This was an OT law where 10% of the crops grown and the livestock raised was contributed to the operation of the tabernacle (and later the temple), enabling the priests and Levites to apply themselves fully to serving God and ministering to the people (Lev 27:30; Num 18:21,26; Deut 14:22-28; 2 Chr 31:4-6). As the people gave materially to the work of God this 'tax' enabled the priests to care for the spiritual needs of the people and it was considered one aspect of their worship (Heb 7:5). God promised them bountiful blessings for obeying the law but said if they did not tithe they were robbing Him and putting themselves under a curse (Mal 3:9-12). Above and beyond their tithe the Israelites were also told, “No one is to come empty-handed but to give in proportion to how God has blessed” – that is, to be generous (Deut 16:16,17).

The purpose of tithing (supporting the work of God) continues today. If we don’t give financially how do we expect the Kingdom of God to advance and those working full time in Christian work to survive? Christians need to be practically minded as well as spiritually in serving the body of Christ! The early Christians, first gave themselves to God in loving devotion, then responded in sacrificial giving and reaching out to others with the motive of loving them – which is described as ‘pure religion’, the kind accepted by God (Act 4:34-37; 2 Cor 8:1-5,10-15; Jas 1:27). Similarly after the ongoing surrender of ourselves to the Lord, the church we attend is our first responsibility, followed by gifts or offerings over and above the tithe to other Christian organisations, ministries and people (2 Chr 31:12).  Considering Christ gave His all to rescue me from hell, how much of myself, and then my resources, do I surrender to Him so others might be in heaven?

If we obey His principles we will be blessed, for those who honour Him with their resources will be abundantly rewarded, thus it is ultimately for our benefit that God asks us to give (Deut 28:1-14; 1 Sam 2:30; Prov 3:9,10; Gal 6:7,8).

Every Christian should diligently pray and seek God as to how much to give. Believers who understand the importance and benefit of voluntarily giving often consider 10% of their income as a minimum, while aware giving to God does not negate their earthly responsibilities (Mt 22:17-21, 23:23; Mk 7:9-13; 1 Tim 5:8). While giving to God’s work is

Do I honour the Lord with what I have                              been blessed with?

important, living out the principles of the faith, such as justice, mercy and faithfulness is of greater significance. "Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each person should give what they have decided in their heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver" (Lk 6:38; 2 Cor 9:6,7). A good pattern to follow is that which Paul shared with the Galatians who systematically gave on the first day of the week, according to their income, rather than in a haphazard manner (1 Cor 16:2).

Another OT requirement was for the people to make an offering of the ‘first fruits’ of their harvest, indicating God had caused the crops to grow and blessed them in their labours. The priority of giving our ‘first fruits’ to God before other commitments acknowledges that all we have belongs to Him anyway and we are only stewards of what is His as He’s the one who gives us the ability to get it in the first place (Lev 23:9-14; Deut 8:18; 1 Chr 29:14).

Our investment into the Kingdom of God will be reflected in the lives of people who can take their place in heaven forever and also in our eternal rewards (Mt 6:19-21; 1 Thes 2:19). Love for God, not personal recognition or praise, is to be the motive of our stewardship and all we do to advance His Kingdom (Mt 6:1-18; 1 Cor 13:3). The widow

We can't take our money to heaven,                but can send it on in advance

was highly commended by Jesus because her meagre offering was a sacrifice, not just a token gesture of what was surplus (Lk 21:1-4). Does my giving to God's work 'cost' me?

Recognising all that Jesus Christ has done for us, we will count it a privilege and want to offer ourselves humbly and completely to God as living sacrifices of worship with the giving of our resources one aspect that flows freely from hearts filled with gratitude (Rom 12:1).

See also: blessed or cursed, finance, generosity, gifts and giving, money, prosperity doctrine, sacrifice and offerings, sow and reap, stewardship.

 

 


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