Tithing is God’s plan for meeting the material needs of His work on earth through the obedient and worshipful giving of His people. God’s work was performed in the Old Testament by priests in the Tabernacle and Temple. God’s people were to worship Him by bringing tithes of all their increase into the temple “storehouse”, which would thereby meet the needs of His work.
When Jesus came He told His disciples He would now build His church (Matt. 16:18), and the “Church Age” replaced Old Testament systems. God’s work on earth would now be accomplished through local churches that would still be financed by tithes brought by His people into the New Testament “storehouse”.
- Tithing is giving back to God 10% of the “first fruits” of all the increase that God blesses us with. (Gen 28:22 “… of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.” Lev 27:32 “concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD.”)
- Tithing is an opportunity to show God that we love Him (2 Cor. 8:8, 24 “… to prove the sincerity of yourlove. Wherefore show … the proof of your love.”) It is a true saying that “We can give without loving, but we cannot love without giving”.
- Tithing is an opportunity to show God that He is first in our lives. (Col 1:18 “… that in all things he might have the preeminence.”)
- Tithing is an opportunity to show God that we accept His ownership of everything. (James 1:17, “every good gift and every perfect gift … cometh down from the Father.” Psa 24:1 “The earth is the LORD'S, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.”)
- Tithing is an opportunity to honor God. (Prov.3:9 “Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:”)
- Tithing is an opportunity to show thanksgiving to God by giving back to Him part of what He has given to us. (Psa. 50:14 “Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High:” Jonah 2:9 “I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving;”)
Who is to tithe?
God’s people throughout all ages are to tithe:
- Abraham tithed 400 years before God gave the law. (Gen. 14:18-20)
- God’s people tithed in Jacob’s day, before God gave the law to Israel. (Gen. 28: 20-22)
- 400 years after Abraham God instituted the Mosaic Law and officially spelled out what His people already knew - God expects His people to tithe.
- Christ confirmed that God’s people were still to tithe. (Matt. 23:23 “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”)
What is the correct motive for tithing?
LOVE! Giving is a matter of the heart.
- Mat 22:36-37 “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love theLord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”
- Matt. 6:21 “… where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
The greatest motive for giving a portion of our treasure to the Lord is our LOVE for Him.
How are we to tithe?
- Willingly and sacrificially. (2 Cor. 8:2-3, 12 “… the abundance of their joy … deep poverty … their liberality. … beyond their power they were willing … a willing mind ...”)
- Cheerfully. (2 Cor. 9:7 “God loveth a cheerful giver.”)
- Proportionately, based on income. (1 Cor. 16:1-2 “as God hath prospered him”). The tithe ( 10% ) is the Bible-taught proportion (ratio, percentage).
- Through the local church. The Old Testament Temple had rooms where the tithe was stored (the “storehouse”). The Church is the New Testament “storehouse” during this age. The tithe is set back “in store” to support the work of the Lord.
- Off of the “firstfruits” - calculated on the gross, not the net. (Pro. 3:9 “Honour the LORD with … thefirstfruits of all thine increase:”)
- On Sunday, the “first day of the week”. (1 Cor. 16:1-2 “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him.”)
What are the benefits of tithing?
- God will bless us! (Mal. 3:10 “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Also Luke 6:38; Phil.4:19; Pro. 3:9-10)
- God will grow our faith! Giving to God is an exercise that increases our faith. It is also an indicator that our faith is growing. As we obey God and give, and witness Him meeting our needs, the stronger our faith grows. (Phil.4:19 “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus”; also 2 Cor.9:7 – 8.) “Tithing is not God’s way of raising money; it is God’s way of raising strong children.” God can make 90% of a tither’s income go farther than 100% would go without tithing.
- The work of the Church can be done. (Mal.3:10 “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house…”) “Meat” = food. God’s plan for financing the work of His church is for His people to faithfully tithe. (not Bingo, fish fries, etc.) (1 Cor. 9:14 “Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.”)
How are our lives affected if we do … or do not … tithe?
As children of God, blessings and cursings are affected by our giving.
- If we do not give tithes and offerings to the Lord, He says we are robbing Him. We are keeping for ourselves that which belongs to Him, and we will be cursed.
- Mal. 3:8-9 “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? Intithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.”
- If we obey, honor, and trust Him with our finances, we will be blessed.
- Mal. 3:10 “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, andprove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”
- Luke 6:38 “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”
May we all strive to be more like the Macedonian Christians, who sacrificially gave not only of their substance, but“first gave their own selves to the Lord”.
"Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God."
(2 Cor 8:1-5)