To Tithe or not to Tithe?

When I first became a sweet and innocent new Christian I watched the Christian TV shows, and I learned about tithing (giving a tenth of your income to the Lord) and flush with newborn enthusiasm I started tithing faithfully.

After a good start it started to get very difficult. I was newly a single Mom, Christmas was looming and I wanted my children to have a lovely Christmas after a tumultuous year. The Lord spoke to my heart and said Who are tithes for? The fatherless. Your children are fatherless in the world so I want you to put half your tithes directly to improving their life for 3 months.

Wow. Okay Lord, I thought, and so I did and we had a lovely holiday season.

In the new year I went back to tithing and all was well again for a couple of months. Then I started jiggling my tithes around to help my cashflow. Nearly immediately I had hold ups with my income coming in. It was exactly as if the Lord was saying, if you mess with the timing of My finances, I can easily mess with yours! I immediately repented, and went back to tithing in a timely manner!

After a few months I again found myself stretching to make ends meet. By now you would have thought I would recognise the test. Would I have faith to push through a slightly trying time? At this very moment I happened across a teaching that clearly explained that tithing was an old testament concept, that it was part of the law, that we gentiles aren’t under the law but under grace and anything the Lord does for us is by grace and nothing we do, or don’t do, will affect our abundance which is a gift of God by grace. All of this teaching appeared firmly supported by scripture. Further the teaching said that, by tithing, we put ourselves under the law and therefore under the possibility of the curse. After reading this very convincing, scripture quoting, teaching I was actually feeling AFRAID to tithe. Now by this time hundreds of hours of bible study and my own experience should have shown me this was a false teaching, but I checked out the quoted scriptures and they all appeared to support the argument. The very fact that this teaching used FEAR should immediately have been a red flag. Who is fear of? the Lord? No. The enemy Yes.

What happened? Well I stopped tithing for two months, because of this false teaching, and both months I ended up having to borrow money just to get my bills paid. there were days when my family actually struggled for groceries. I was out of faith. I felt distanced from God.

I prayed about it and immediately the Lord gave me this simple scripture.. in Jesus’ own words, as clear as clear can be (my emphasis):

Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practised the latter without leaving the former undone. Luke 11:42

So I determined to go back to tithing. I thanked God for the guidance. The very next day I had a letter telling me I was owed some considerable money, and a very useful amount monthly from that month onwards. Oh yeah!

My view now? Yes tithe. But not out of fear. Yes it’s new testament, yes it’s new covenant. Jesus says so.

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  1. #1 by Gary Arnold on July 8, 2011 - 5:15 pm

    Jesus did not tell us to tithe. Jesus told the Scribes and Pharisees they ought to tithe because they were under the Old Covenant law. Jesus was born, lived, and died under the Old Covenant. The New Covenant didn’t begin until after Jesus died on the cross.

    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 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 didn’t tithe as a carpenter. Paul didn’t tithe as a tent maker. Peter didn’t tithe as a fisherman.

    OLD TESTAMENT – THE FIRST OF THE FRUITS SHOULD GO TO GOD
    Proverbs 3:9 (KJV) “Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:”

    NEW TESTAMENT – THE WORKER SHOULD BE FIRST TO RECEIVE A SHARE OF THE FRUIT
    2 Timothy 2:6 (KJV) “The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.”

    When was the last time you heard a pastor say that you should spend the FIRST part of your income on yourself and your family?

    1 Timothy 5:8 (KJV) “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”

    The New Testament makes it clear that we are to use the FIRST of our income to take care of ourselves and our family. We are talking about needs, here, not just anything we want. Then we should give generously from what is left.

    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.

    • #2 by gum on July 8, 2011 - 5:25 pm

      Thanks Gary. Thank you for adding so fully to the discussion 🙂

      I’m sticking to tithing for 2 reasons 1. My own experiences. When I haven’t tithed I haven’t felt peace about it and 2. When I specifically prayed about it, I was given that very verse from Luke including the emphasis!

      I make sure I tithe where I know the tithe is going to good use. I offer on top of tithing, and I also give in time and goods etc.

      Thanks again for your contribution to the discussion.

      • #3 by Gary Arnold on July 8, 2011 - 5:57 pm

        If you are led by the Spirit to give ten percent of your income, by all means do it. But don’t confuse giving a tenth of your income with the Biblical tithe. They have nothing to do with each other. The Biblical tithe was a payment, like a tax.

        Here are some similarities between a tax and the tithe:

        Tithe – paid by those who inherited the promised land.
        Inheritance or Estate tax – paid from the estate or inheritance.

        Tithe – ONLY on property owners.
        Property tax – ONLY on property owners.

        Tithe – used to run the theocracy.
        Income tax – used to run the government.

        Tithe – doesn’t apply to the poor.
        Luxury tax – doesn’t apply to the poor.

        Tithing can also be compared to sharecropping.

        Tithing was always taxation so that the programs of the government could run: the priestly program, the national religious program, and the welfare program.
        Taken from God’s Plan for Giving, John MacArthur, Moody Press, 1985, page 76.

        God placed all of these verses in our Bibles to remind us that Levites were public officials of the state and tithes were included as state-taxation to support them.
        Taken from Should the Church Teach Tithing, Russell E. Kelly, Ph.D., page 70.

        Even the Jewish Encyclopedia, Encyclopedia Judaica, agrees that tithes were political taxes.
        Taken from Should the Church Teach Tithing, Russell E. Kelly, Ph.D., page 71.

        Keep giving as the Spirit leads you and may God Bless You.

        See also William Hendriksen and Simon J. Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of Thessalonians, the Pastorals, and Hebrews (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1995), 187, for support of the relationship between taxes and tithing.

  2. #4 by gum on July 8, 2011 - 6:03 pm

    Thanks again. My post was necessarily a potted version of my tithing and offering experiences which have been astounding. I’m an accountant by trade so I keep accurate financial records. I will try to update my testimony page with a longer explanation of my tithing experiences to date shortly. It appears to be a hot topic!

    Bless you for your contribution. M.

    • #5 by Gary Arnold on July 8, 2011 - 6:25 pm

      Interesting that you are an accountant. I am a retired accountant and tax auditor.

      If you study the Biblical tithe you will find that the tithe was always a tenth of assets and never a tenth of income. The tithe always came from God’s miraculous increase of crops and animals (assets). The Israelite farmers got their income from the sale and/or barter exchange of those assets, but NEVER tithed on the income. The three Biblical tithes were NEVER money, and NEVER came from income. Yet they were required to pay the Temple Tax (called tribute in the KJV) with MONEY, so they obviously had money.

      No Christian Church ever taught anyone to tithe on their income until 1870.

      Yes, tithing is a hot topic. Being a Money & Finance Minister, I teach the topic and have even written a book on tithing which has been downloaded over 2,150 times.

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