For those of you who don’t know what “tithing” is, it is giving 10% of your income or support which comes in, to the Lord. It is not like God needs the money but it is merely acknowledging God for the sustenance He provides. The earliest record of tithing was when Abraham gave a tenth of his spoils of war to the ‘Priest of the Most High God’, Melchizedeck (Gen14:17-20) and later Jacob promises to give God a tenth of his income.
20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear,
21 and I return to my father’s house in safety, then the LORD will be my God.
22 “This stone, which I have set up as a pillar, will be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”
Tithe (as per the Google dictionary) is: one tenth of annual produce or earnings, formerly taken as a tax for the support of the church and clergy.
I have noticed that there are Christians who believe that tithing is nothing but a free will offering of one’s choice. However, tithe by its very definition as indicated above is 1/10th of ones earning. As much as one who graduates cannot claim he is first class graduate unless he secures a minimum 60% in his exams, so too one cannot claim to have paid their tithe unless they have paid 1/10th of the income towards a cause that progresses the Gospel or to their Church. Biblically, an offering is only considered as a free will offering after one has paid their tithe, else the Bible teaches that disposition as equivalent to robing God.
8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.
9 “You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you!
10 “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.
While writing this particular blog post, I must add that my writing ministry is self-sustained and I do not receive any foreign funding to this end. Tithing is for Christians, not for the unbeliever who does not trust his sustenance to God. As A. W. Pink aptly puts it in his booklet on Tithing, God’s promise for those who tithe is one which is temporal, meaning those blessings that have to do with our necessities of food, clothing and shelter.
24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
I understand that 10% would make any Christian feel the pinch but that is precisely how God intends it to be because, as over we relying on money to sustain us, He prefers to leave a little pebble in our shoe that we may always know that it is God who sustains and provides for us.
In a Theocratic nation, which is nation governed under Biblical Law, no state is allowed to collects taxes from the people, except for the tithe, which went towards the Church. You see it is the duty of the Church, not the State to run schools, hospitals and build on national infrastructure. You might question then saying, that would be too much power given the Church. However, throughout history it has always been that when the Church fell slack under corruption, it did not gain power but rather lost power, such is God’s design who reigns in His righteousness through Christ (Col1:16-20).
Today with State playing Church, we have people looking to the government for succour as over, looking to God. A Christian paying his tithe under these conditions needs to understand that the 10% he calculates to give God should be calculated on the whole (Gross) counting even what the apostate state has usurped as its own tax. This is done so that the believer realizes God presides over him/her even as over the state presides over the believer.
In the context of tithing, I must warn you also of preachers who misrepresent scripture to suit their own vested and greedy motives. There is nothing wrong with being rich but as a believer you ought to let Christ dictate His terms to your conscience as your Lord and Saviour (Jn14:15), which means you must be prudent enough to know how your money is being used to progress the Gospel. Many a times preachers misquote Mk10:21 and rob people’s livelihood. However, the same scripture must be understood along the lines of Jesus testing the person in question on the very first commandment, which caution every believer against idolatry.
3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.
18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments, ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” 20 And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” 21 Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” 22 But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.
When a person is moved by the Gospel, there is a transformation which takes place in that person’s heart, where by delighting in God, the individual is moved to give cheerfully to see the Good News of the Gospel progress and reach many people as it has done with themselves (Rev22:17).
Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
I must reassert the fact that tithing is for the Christian, who is given to trust God concerning his sustenance and though Christians may have other ideas for their tithe, we should all know that we are all called to live out the Gospel and if that means putting our money where our month is then so be it.
41 And Jesus sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. 42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. 43 Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.”
In concluding with the widow’s story, we learn about how when one is born from above (Jn3:3), the individual holds nothing dearer to self as he/she does hold on to God in faith. Trusting our sustenance to Him as over relying on our own understanding (Prov3:5) outside the good pleasure of God.