Many years ago I did not believe in the doctrine of tithing because I am not really “convince,” or should I say have not really seriously studied the Scripture about giving. A few years after that I came to believe that a Christian should give their tithe to the Lord. Eventually, I saw myself engaging in a dialogue with sincere Christian believers on the area of giving. Once more, I immerse myself in this controversial subject that involves many Christians in a healthy (and sometimes not so healthy) table-talk debate. As a result of that dialogue, I now understand fully that a New Testament Christian believer should not be bounded anymore by tithing as a law. Now, before you pronounce me as a “heretic” let me explain first what I mean by that statement and please do not stop reading for you might misunderstood me.
There are many Christian believers today who are at a lost in understanding this doctrine about giving. In fact some of them may use the following excuses for not giving their tithe:
Excuse No. 1: I don’t believe tithing is for today! Period!
Excuse No. 2: Anyway, even if I give less than ten percent what’s important is I give with a cheerful heart.
Excuse No. 3: I may not give my tithe to the church but I surely am helping our pastors and missionaries.
Excuse No. 4: We need to understand that God does not look at the amount. He looks at our heart.
Excuse No. 5: Tithing cannot be found in the New Testament because the apostles did not teach it.
Excuse No. 6: Our church is “rich” already so it doesn’t need my money anyway.
Excuses like this can generate into hundreds and even thousands. Unfortunately, many of them didn’t really took the time to dig down deep and study the word of God carefully to see how the Old Testament unites with the New Testament before they even dismiss this subject on tithing. A great number of them are confuse whether they should give below ten percent with a cheerful heart or give ten percent as part of their obedience to God (with a cheerful heart). You will also be surprise to know that those who give their tithe regularly claim that they give with a cheerful heart so no need to compare. Now, let me start by saying that I do believe tithing is a law restricted only in the Old Testament. This is why Jesus Christ mentioned the word tithe in reference only with his clash with the legalistic Pharisees. This is also one reason why we cannot see the apostles mention this practice in the New Testament epistles. If tithing is a ceremonial law bound for the Jewish Israelites in the Old Testament then that simply means they were giving under the law. Surely Christian believers are not living under that law. In the New Testament it is a given fact that when Christian gives they are not giving under the law but by the grace of God. In order to give generously by grace a Christian believer must decide to give more than the ten percent from what he regularly receives to surpass that tithing law. Remember, grace does not undermine the law but grace goes beyond the law. For instance, a Christian believer who observes the Sabbath literally by ceasing to work starting Friday, 6:30pm to Saturday, 6:30pm (i.e. sunset to sunset) does not understand that he has to go beyond the law by finding his true rest in Christ. In other words, if a believer continues to give through tithing while deciding not to exceed that law simply means he is still bounded by the law in the area of giving. A Christian believer can only transcend the law of tithing if he decides to give more than the ten percent baseline which could be 11%, 12%, 20% 50% or more. No wonder Robert Colgate, the owner of the famous Colgate, a toothpaste company returned back more than ten percent which is ninety percent of what he earns monthly. What’s amazing is that God’s financial blessing still abounds even if he decides to live within that remaining ten percent. Of course, that may not be an overnight thing for many of us. But when that kind of generous giving happens, we truly are under the grace of Christ and not under the law. It simply shows that our heart is not really focus on the treasures of this world but rather on Christ. Truly, there is freedom in the grace of Christ. We should be free from the law by deciding to give cheerfully what our hearts are suppose to give above the law, that is, above ten percent. Those who give below ten percent does not really understand what true biblical grace really means. God does not look at the amount if a person gives 11% of his monthly earning compared to the 90% of the monthly earning of another person. After all, our manner of giving will surely increase as we see the abounding grace of God working in our very lives. No wonder the apostle Paul encourage us to “excel in this grace of giving.” So, why not start giving more than ten percent and see how God will bless you. (See Matt. 23:23; Rom. 6:14; 2Cor. 9:7; Matt. 11:28; 6:21; 2 Cor. 3:17; 1 Sam. 16:7; 2 Cor. 8:7)
By Ptr Jun Divierte
Copyright © by Jun Divierte, 2011
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One thought on “Is tithing for today?”
The Biblical tithe always came from God’s miraculous increase of crops and animals (ASSETS) and never from man’s income.
Giving did not begin a ten percent under the Old Testament law. The ONLY people in the Old Testament that were commanded to tithe were those who INHERITED THE PROMISED LAND WITH EVERYTHING ON IT. They got the land, house, animals, crops, etc. ALL FREE AND CLEAR. No mortgage payment or rent to pay. And THEY were commanded to tithe on the crops and animals and take it to the Levites who INHERITED the tithe INSTEAD OF the promised land with everything on it. No one else tithed. Wage earners did not tithe. Jesus did not tithe as a carpenter. Paul did not tithe as a tent maker. Peter did not tithe as a fisherman.
NO ONE, absolutely NO ONE pays the Biblical tithe today.
Leviticus 27:30-33, Numbers 18: The First Tithe – a tenth of crops and animals and commanded to take the tithe to the Levites.
Deuteronomy 14:22-27: The Second Tithe aka The Festival Tithe – a tenth of crops, plus add to that the firstborn animals, and take for the yearly feast.
Deuteronomy 14:28-29: The Third Tithe aka The Three-Year Tithe aka The Poor Tithe – a tenth of crops, kept at home, and invite the Levites, widows, orphans, stranger to eat.
Now, tell me. Which of the above three tithes commanded by God does anyone follow today?
The New Testament teaches generous, sacrificial giving, from the heart, according to our means. For some, $1 might be a sacrifice, while for others, even giving 50% of their income might not induce a sacrifice. In the Old Testament, ONLY the farmers tithed, and it was equal percentage (a tenth). The New Testament teaches the principle of equal sacrifice instead of equal percentage. Equal sacrifice is much harder to achieve, if not impossible, than giving ten percent.