In view of the recent controversies and debate on tithing, I dug up a piece I first wrote and published in 2013. It still rings true and even more so with this latest debate.
Key Passage: Malachi 3: 8-12
Key Text: Malachi 3: 10 – “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.”
Half knowledge can be dangerous. Those who profess to know must understand that they have a great responsibility towards those they are leading. Recently an article was published that said ‘every Pastor that receives tithes is a thief’. The arguments the writer espoused were quite compelling and in most of the parts rang quite true. Also, he was in a sense ‘playing to the gallery’, because he like many others are totally fed-up with the ostentatious lifestyles of some of the Pastors and church leaders in that particular country. Some Pastors have either bought private Jets or have been ‘blessed’ with one. This appears too much for a country where most of the citizens are living under the breadline. Worse still, is the simple fact that most of the church members are poor and perhaps the arguments that these resources could be used more judiciously to alleviate some of the poverty issues in the church, are justified. I am not going to call this one or judge, as I personally know that these church leaders are accountable and know that they would give account. I also believe that they have acted in their best judgements, based on the demands of their ministry.
But the issue of tithes is a contentious one, and most people believe that pastors are fleecing the sheep, by demanding the tithe. This is the issue. The tithe is 10 percent of your produce. It was widely practiced in the Old Testament and Jesus spoke about it once, in a sense affirming the practice, but also instructing the religious leaders to pay closer attention to the weightier matters of the law.
I would clearly say here, that Pastors should not demand the tithe quoting Malachi 3, and scaring the believers with the curse. This is a stretch of the truth and as such should be stopped. No one is cursed because they are not tithing. People in the old testament were under the law and as such, they were compelled to tithe. But Romans 10:4, tells us “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” Those who profess Christ as Lord are no longer under the law nor are they bound by the law. But does that make the law wrong?
Here is my view; the bible is the whole counsel of God. Whatever is in it is for our admonition and direction. 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” So if you chose to obey a command of God, not as trying to fulfil the law, which is actually a sin, but as a principle and an evidence of your changed life and heart, then you cannot be wrong. Let’s look at something quite extreme. The Law commands us not to murder. But because we are not under the law does not make it right to murder, but because we are saved and redeemed, the law of God works naturally in us, so we do not murder or steal or commit adultery etc.
Again in 1 Corinthians 10:11 – the bible tells us “Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.” Referring to the Old Testament as it relates to the New Testament believer. Abraham was a ‘tither’, I am sure Isaac tithed and clearly we see that Jacob understood the principle and pledged his tithe.
Let me say this unequivocally; Tithing is a biblical principle and practice that is steeped deeply in the honour of God and the worship of God. It’s origins are based on men who clearly placed a premium on their worship of God and were moved by the awesomeness of God to decide that the first tenth of their income belongs to God. So is this practice wrong .
Also in Leviticus 27:30-32 -we read the following:
“Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the Lord’s; it is holy to the Lord. 31 If a man wishes to redeem some of his tithe, he shall add a fifth to it. 32 And every tithe of herds and flocks, every tenth animal of all that pass under the herdsman’s staff, shall be holy to the Lord.”
The tithe belongs to the Lord. It is His own and though we are no longer under the law, we nevertheless, respect God enough to honour His word and honour His name. So we tithe, not as a way of fulfilling the law, but as an evidence that God is our God and what He says we do.
I totally disagree with the Pastors that teach tithing as a law to be fulfilled. Who bludgeon the people of God with the word of God scaring them into feeling they have committed a grave sin if they chose not to tithe. Some even go as far as ostracizing the non-tithers in the church. This is shameful and deplorable and I abhor this. Tithing would not make you a child of God. It will not take you to heaven. And most certainly does not make you a member of the church of Jesus Christ.
However, I totally affirm the principle of tithing, as a voluntary act of worship and honour to God. I believe that it truly has spiritual dimensions beyond just giving. It shows where one’s heart is. Jesus said clearly where your treasure is there your heart will be. So as a ‘tither,’ you have elected to practice the principle of ‘God First’ and you give this tithe as an act of worship and honour to God.
So it is a matter of choice. Albeit and informed choice, that some of us tithe. We also recognise that the ministry is not cheap and needs to be funded, so we willingly pleadge and give our tithes to the local church as part of our personal act of worship and honour to God, whilst we understand that what we have given will help sustain and resource the ministry and work of God. We are not bound to tithe, but we bind ourselves to the principle of tithing. Period.
So please continue to worship God with your tithes and offerings and remain blessed!
Let’s pray: Father God, We thank you for your word and the liberty we find in the understanding of your word. Father, please help us to throw out that which is not good and hold on to eternal truths. Help us not just to be hearers of the word, but doers also. Thank you for the grace to be a tithing member of the body of Christ. Keep my heart pure and undefiled, in Jesus name I pray. Amen.
5 thoughts on “Should we tithe?”
Thanks for this piece,some how am encouraged to continue to Tithe yet,will continue to support the work of God in other way.
very well argued. thank you
Thanks so much for bring the word to us daily – essential to living Gods way
This is very interesting and worth sharing.
Very good article, as most of us know we cannot pick and choose what we want to follow out of the Old Testament. Also in case some do not know the mosaic laws were for the Jews. They were the chosen people of The Lord. Tithing is a big topic in Christianity. Some say we should some say we shouldn’t and we could go all day back and fourth. But I believe if you belong to a church you should contribute. As it says in the bible give with your heart. But I will say from studying this subject I’ve come to find that no where in the New Testament do the apostles ask for any tithes. Also nowhere in the Old Testament does it say how often Abraham tithed. The word tithed means A tenth part of one’s ANNUAL income contributed voluntarily or due as a tax, especially for the support of the clergy or church. Moving on…..The law of Christ (Galatians 6:2) has all the components of the moral law of the Old Testament but none of the ceremonial law (Tithing, circumcision, ceremonial washing, Saturday worship, etc.). Not to say that we don’t have some ceremonial aspects (communion, water baptism) but these are not requirements to maintain a proper relationship. These are requirements to maintain a proper perspective of what Christ has done. While in the old law circumcision or tithing were mandatory or you were not right with God. But we can do without communion or water baptism and still maintain our salvation. The fact that we are free from the Old Testament law is a revelation that Paul received and one he fought hard for. This concept was very difficult for the other apostles to completely grasp at first but eventually it was a revelation they received. Jesus talked about the law being fulfilled and thus passing away but they did not have ears to hear that. If we try to fulfill the law today it puts our salvation in jeopardy. Galatians 5:3-4 “we are severed from Christ if we keep the law”. No. 1 no one except Jesus ever did it. No. 2 if you break one law your guilty of them all and deserve death. That’s what the punishment was in the Old Testament. Trying to keep the law is trying to develop your own righteousness. Accepting Christ is accepting his righteousness and realizing you can’t be good enough. So God wants us to stop trying. God wants us to stop trying to obey the Old Testament law. When we receive Christ he writes his law on our hearts. Our salvation is both immediate and progressive. Our walk includes a progressive salvation of our soul by allowing the life in our spirit to renew our soul one step at a time, from glory to glory. Our spirit becomes a new creation instantly; our soul is renewed day by day. God’s word cuts through the veil of division of the soul and spirit to release the life changing power of the living word within us. The Holy Spirit will let us know when we violate the inward law. Tithing, circumcision, ceremonial washing, Saturday worship, holy days, dietary laws, Temple worship, stoning, all are part of the Old Testament law. Do them all or NONE AT ALL.
The law was fulfilled. In fact the Bible says this law was “until John the Baptist”. Jesus was “born under the law” and so he told the Jews they should follow the law. That was only true until his death, burial and resurrection. I’m sure Jesus followed every point to the Old Testament law and I’m also sure it pains him to see us try to do the same. He did it so we wouldn’t have to. He nailed that system to the cross. (Col. 2:14) I’m free, I’m free, I’m free indeed. Let us hear what the New Testament says about being under the Old Testament Law:
Matthew 11:13 law prophesied till John,
Luke 16:16 law and prophets until John then gospel of the kingdom,
Matthew 22:37 Love God with all your heart with all your soul etc-love your neighbor-these two ARE the whole law and prophets,
John 1:17 law through Moses Grace and truth through Jesus,
John 7:23 circumcision a must to keep the law,
Acts 13:39 not justified by law,
Acts 15:5-20 observe law? Saved through faith,
Acts 18:13 these men want us to worship contrary to the law,
Acts 21:21 you teach to forsake Moses,
Romans 3:19 want the law says it says to those who are under the law, Romans 3:21 apart from the law is righteousness manifested,
Romans 3:27 the law of faith,
Romans 3:28 saved by faith apart from the law,
Romans 4:1-16 faith not law,
Romans 6:14 we are not under the law but under Grace,
Romans 7:4 we are dead to the law,
Romans 7:6 we are released from the law,
Romans 8:3-4 the law is fulfilled,
Romans 10:4 Christ is the end of the law,
Romans 13:8, 10 love fulfills the law,
1st Corinthians 9:20 not being under the law,
Galatians 2:16 we are not justified by the law,
Galatians 2:21 if righteousness is through the law Christ died in vain, Galatians 3:2 does the spirit comes by the law or faith,
Galatians 3:5 are miracles by law?,
Galatians 3:10 if you’re under the law your under a curse,
Galatians 3:11 were not justified by law,
Galatians 3:13 we are redeemed from a curse,
Galatians 3:17-29 not by law but by faith we are linked to Abraham’s blessings,
Galatians 5:3-4 we are severed from Christ if we keep the law,
Galatians 5:14 law fulfilled by love,
Galatians 5:18 we are led by the spirit thus not under the law,
Galatians 6:2 law of Christ,
Philippines 3:9 we are made right by faith not by law,
1st Timothy 1:9 law is not for righteous,
Hebrew 7:12 priesthood has changed and is necessary to change the law,
Hebrew 7:28 after the law comes the son,
Hebrew 8:6 we’re under a better covenant,
Hebrew’s 8:7 after the first; there is the second,
Hebrew’s 8:13 the 1st has become obsolete and is ready to disappear,
Hebrews 9-10 describes the first being the law and the second being faith.
I just want to make a better understanding on this subject. Let the Holy Spirit guide you.