Tithing and the bible; the truth
Yes, we have said it in whispers, have briefly written about it, and have, on surface, tried to know what is true about tithing, but today is the day we dig it all; the day of truth.
Tithing, according to the Old Testament, was a requirement of the law in which Israelites were asked to give 10% of the crops they grew and livestock to the temple (Leviticus 27:30; Numbers 18:26; Deuteronomy 14:24; 2 Chronicles 31:5). Tithing can simply mean giving in a tenth part of something paid as a voluntary contribution or as a tax especially for the support of a religious cause. Actually, some great bible commentators highlight that about 3 forms of tithes were necessary (one for the Levites, for the use of temple and feasts, and one for the poor of the land), totaling to about 23.3%.What was the purpose of tithing? As already made clear, tithing is observing the law and the automatic result of obeying the law is forgiveness and blessings. Yes, the purpose of tithing was for cleansing and preparing for give back from God. Does not Malachi remind us of that? (Malachi 3:10).
The daily question is; is tithing still a law to be observed in our New Testament? But then is there a law we should drop because we are in the new era? Let us examine the bible. In the New Testament, there is no verse stating tithing as a law or concept to be observed. The only mentioning of tithing is when Jesus or any other preacher is trying to refer to the law, but the New Testament commands nowhere that we need to tithe.
However, the bible is clear that any genuine and committed Christian should tithe or give in something to help the church or God's kingdom advance, but there is no such thing as a tenth of something (Read 1 Corinthians 16:2 and 2 Corinthians 9:7). To preach that we should give in according to our prosperity and conviction is the right message and to start defining how much each should pay (10th) is the wrong message.
Actually, some bible writers and thinkers argue that if people were obedient to the law and yet had little or were under the law, how much should us who are under grace give in to show reverence and gratefulness to such kindness? Of course it should be much more.
Yes, there is a difference between giving and tithing and I seriously call upon all of us to see it. In giving, we are expected to consider it as a thanksgiving to all that God has done for us. We are to give because it is an opportunity to express our gratitude to the mercy and prosperity we have, and not because we are asked to or commanded to obey. Sometimes, we can give something beyond the 10th or something less than that or even nothing at all, depending on how prosperous we are and also how convicted or how we have loved to do it.
In other words, God is happy with a cheerful giver. On the other hand, tithing was a law (10th of everything: Nothing less, nothing more). Calculations were done, conditions met. Period. That is the biblical tithing, and for God's sake, we are no longer under the law but grace. This brings me to second question I started with; is there a law we should drop?
Jesus said, "I did not come to remove the law, but to make it complete or to fulfill it" (paraphrased). In other words, giving does not take away tithing, it instead perfects it. While we used to tithe out of our obedience to the law, we now give to the Lord out of love and gratefulness to His salvation. This makes giving more meaningful, helpful and complete compared to just tithing.
Listen to Billy Graham's words, "We have found in our home, as have thousands of others, that God's blessing upon the nine-tenths, when we tithe, helps it to go farther than ten-tenth without his blessings". Yeah, that is the essence in giving. However, as also cited by Graham, it is possible that some genuine Christians may do tithing as a respect to the Old Testament and use it as a good foundation to begin within their giving, this may not be right too.
That is the truth.
Summary: There is nowhere in the bible where Christians are obliged to tithing, at least not in our New testament of grace, but giving is emphasized as a good practice for genuine and committed Christians to support God's work.
"The matter of your giving is between you and God and He always puts into account our circumstances. He knows when they are beyond our power to direct and control. The important thing is that we see giving as a privilege and not a burden. It should not be out of a sense of duty, but rather out of love for the Lord and a desire to see his kingdom advanced"- BILLY GRAHAM
Personally, I have observed many churches; pastors and preachers of all kinds exploit this message for their selfish reasons. Our people have been robbed of their money in the name of giving or tithing and other forms of offertories. There is how these pastors keep maneuvering the bible verses to the point of making everyone feel it as a must to give, which is robbery.
We have had people get debts, sell off items, or face financial crises in the name of tithing. We have had some pastors preach the message, the more we give, the more we get blessed and so many people have sacrificed in their money, time, materials and things hoping to get more from God as if they have some kind of business with God, all that is wrong message.
Yes, we get when we give, but this is about our heart (faith) and not our money though money may just be given as to accompany our hearts or faith.
Lastly, I thought that every church should have a financial committee. The money and everything that people give in should be collected by trustworthy committee, and accounted for. It is okay to buy your pastor a car, if that is your wish. It is also okay to spend some money on your priest's inauguration day, if that is your decision as a church. But the habits of not making people know how much they have contributed, what activities they are working on, how much have been spent on what activity, and what balance is remaining, is all robbery in the church.
Remember, God will not remember us because we gave money in the church, but because we believed in Him and happily and wisely gave in to support his work. The tithe we give in ignorance makes us similar to the lady robbed on Kampala road.
Once again, we need to give even more than a tenth but always know God is concerned with our hearts and happiness than our obedience to some kind of guidelines. Please, spare something always to give in as your heart guides you.
God bless you
If you have been helped with this inspiration, just say Amen. And if you have not yet received Christ as your Lord and Savior today is your day, could you repeat this prayer after me? "Oh dear Jesus, I know I have been a wanderer for so long, but today I want to find rest in you. I am a sinner and have been fighting for myself, but today I call for your forgiveness and adopting me as your child. Please, accept me and write me in the book of life. Amen". Now, look up to God for all your answers and comfort in life. Find a good church near you and be part of the congregation
The Complete You Ministry, www.nemvicx.blogspot.com