SHOULD YOU BE TITHING IN CHURCH
This is a piece written by a fellow sister in Christ.
This is a controversial subject. Are we called to tithe as New Testament Christians? Truly, the answer to that question is no. However, we are told to be a cheerful giver who gives not begrudgingly, but from the heart with sincere motives.
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: 2 Corinthians 9:7-8
WHAT IS TITHING
Ten percent is not the everlasting standard for giving to God’s kingdom.
What about the tithe before the Law of Moses? When Abraham returned from battle with the people and the goods, the new king of Sodom and Melchizedek, king of Salem, came out with bread and wine to pronounce a blessing upon Abraham. Genesis 14:20 states that Abraham “gave him tithes of all.”
God did not command Adam or any other Old Testament saint to tithe until Moses was given the law. Genesis 14 takes place nearly 2000 years after Adam and Eve. While it is mentioned in Scripture that Abraham gave a tenth, this was not a tithe on income, these were the spoils of a battle (Hebrews 7:4); and it was only this one time. It is not the same thing as tithing.
This is not teaching tithing for the church. The spoils Abraham repossessed from the enemy kings went back to the owners, Abraham gave the remaining 90% in his possession back to those to whom it originally belonged.
Abraham was never taught or instructed by God to give a tenth. This is NOT a tithe, but a FREE WILL OFFERING that was a tenth. He did this only once.
Tithing did not become a command until Moses’ time. The Hebrew word for tithe is ma`aser, translated “tenth,” but a tenth does not equal tithing.
Tithing was something instituted under the Law of Moses for the children of Israel to be self-sustainable as a nation. Something often overlooked- tithing was rarely money.
TYPES OF TITHES
There were three tithes in the Old Covenant – tithes were the crops, grains, the produce of the soil was to be tithed, the fruit of the trees, every year new wine and oil, the firstborn of their herds and flocks, land, houses (Leviticus 27:30-33 according to 2 Kings 22:15-18), and it was not something you chose out of all you had, you had to give the best of everything.
Therefore, if you have a number of parcels of land, and you were to tithe, you must give your best acreage.
One tithe was used to support the Levites (Numbers 18:21-32), who were not allowed to own property like the other tribes of Israel. This was ten percent.
Malachi 1:1 begins with: “The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel.” The tithe was part of the Old Covenant to Israel. Therefore, Malachi 3, in its context, is to the nation of Israel, and more specifically, the Levites.
In the New Testament, tithe or tithing are found eight times (Matthew 23:23; Luke 11:42; 18:12; Hebrews 7:5-6, 8-9). All of these passages refer to the Old Testament usage. No New Testament epistle contains any instructions or a rebuke for
failing to tithe.
The necessity of giving is mentioned, but only with the right attitude. God does bless his people who want to give with the correct motives.
We are commanded to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
In the sacrificial days of the OT, we see that God instructed the animals, which were to be sacrificed as an offering before the LORD, were to be cut up and divided into parts. Why is this? Why not just burn the entire animal whole without dividing it into parts?
It is very easy for a person to say they have given their body as a living sacrifice. However, what if we took and divided ourselves into parts to be sacrificed?
I would have to say to God,
- “These are my eyes, Lord. They have seen many wicked and sinful things. They have looked upon others with lust. Take my eyes Lord and I make a covenant with you to sacrifice my eyes that they may not behold that which is sinful.
- “These are my hands, God. They have accosted others in anger. They have been used to steal. My hands have been used also in lust and immoral practice. I give you my hands Lord that I may crucify them. Lay aside the wickedness these hands have partaken in and let them do that which is good in thy sight.”
- “My tongue dear God. My tongue has been the source of much heartache. It has scathed others. Been naughty and unmerciful. Degrading and vulgar. Father, I want to put this tongue to the fire and put hot coals to my lips that I may be cleansed from the iniquity of my mouth.”
These are just small parts of me. Yet, think about how it delights the Lord to form us into the mold which resembles Him more and more with every part of us which is yielded unto Him.
Can you see that to take ourselves and break our bodies down part by part to be cleansed and sanctified is much more difficult, but necessary if one wants to give their entire body as the living sacrifice?
We are told we should tithe. In fact, many preachers will tell you that, as a believer, one should and is expected to give. Yet, we don’t hear much about offering our bodies as a living sacrifice.
If one has to choose between the two things, of course, they will choose to tithe. Even though we are not commanded to do it, tithing is much easier than crucifying the flesh and offering ourselves up to be made holy.
Saying all this, I am not against freely giving. Whether this is with monetary, goods or services. It should be done as needed by the body and with the motive of helping other brothers and sisters in need.
It just isn’t right to teach the body they MUST tithe and that if they do not, they lack faith or should be ostracized or looked down upon. The early church gave of themselves freely and purposed their giving for the needs and sustaining of the body of Christ.
The emphasis for Christians today should be dying to their flesh each day and presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice, which is their reasonable service.
Written by Candice Knuth-Winterfeldt