As long as I have been a Christian I can remember people arguing and debating about tithing. Some say it was only an Old Testament Law that doesn’t need to be followed as believers under the New Covenant. And some say that it is just a relevant to New Testament Christians as it was in the Old Covenant.
I recently wrote about my tithing experience and I’d like to offer my thoughts on tithing in the New Testament…
It isn’t a means of salvation
You can’t earn your way to Heaven by giving and you won’t be excluded from Heaven by your lack of giving.
Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
Out of our Faith, our good works manifest. So, in my opinion, if someone truly understands how great of a gift they have been given, they will expend a lot of energy giving back.
Can you be blessed without tithing?
Some say you won’t be blessed if you don’t tithe. I kinda think this completely depends on the person and their maturity level as a Christian. You expect more from a 13 year old than a 5 year old – right? I don’t think God is any different, He knows where were are on our walk and will meet us where we are.
I was a Christian for a while before I started tithing and I think I was doing okay. I know some Christians who don’t tithe and seem to be very blessed. But, I don’t really think there is any getting around the fact that you will be MORE blessed if you tithe, than if you don’t. And to be honest, giving 10% should just be a mile marker on our giving journey. If we truly understand how much we have been given, we will spend our whole lives trying to give way beyond 10%.
The Bible says that there will ALWAYS be seedtime and harvest (Gen 8:22). What we sow, we will reap. If we give, it will be given back to us in good measure. So the bottom line is that there is undoubtedly a blessing that comes to givers.
Luke 6:38 (NIV)
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
God loves a cheerful giver
2 Corinthians 9:7 (NIV)
Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
God loves a cheerful giver, not under compulsion, if you aren’t giving with the right attitude, don’t waste your time… If you have a bad attitude about it and want to change it, just ask God for help. He will, I promise.
Tithing verses in the New Testament
There are a ton of verses about tithing in the Old Testament and a lot fewer in the New Testament. Actually, it is true that tithing isn’t talked about nearly as much in the New Testament as the Old Testament. Personally, I don’t believe that in anyway nullifies the value of it as a practice.
Under the New Covenant our salvation is not based upon our obedience to the 10 Commandments, but does that mean that we shouldn’t still follow them? Are they suddenly of no value? I think the same can be said of tithing. While you can debate all day long about whether or not it is a command for New Testament believers, it will still provide a blessing just like it did in the Old Covenant.
FMF brings up two great points about New Testament tithing…
1. Jesus endorsed the tithe
In Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:42 Jesus referred to tithing as something that should not be neglected…
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”
2. As New Testament believers we are called to a higher calling
Like it or not, we are living under the New Covenant and as a result, we have increased responsibilities in certain areas.
Luke 12:48 (NIV)
…From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
“No longer are animal sacrifices necessary, but we are now to sacrifice our own lives and live for Christ, not ourselves. No longer is ‘an eye for an eye’ appropriate but we are to love our enemies and ‘turn the other cheek’. These are only two examples of heightened responsibilities Jesus taught His people. As such, I can only conclude that the same holds true with the tithe. While it used to be the requirement, it should now be the minimum.”
He said we could test Him
Do we have any better invitation that to actually test it out and see if it really works? Most of us who do tithe were probably in the same spot as the non-tithers and didn’t believe it ourselves, but we tried it out. Guess what, just like God promised, things are better after tithing! It really is like all the other areas of our walk with God – it requires FAITH. No it doesn’t make sense that when we give all this money away, things will actually be better – but I have found it to be true in my own life and others have as well.
Malachi 3:10 (NIV)
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.
It is so much bigger than us
The much bigger issue here is that God’s Kingdom needs to be advanced!
Who does He use to do that? Us, the believers! If we aren’t funding and financing Kingdom activities, then who will? How are the lost going to be reached if we don’t send those to preach? (Romans 10:15)
We shouldn’t be getting all caught up in percentages and what we “have to do” according to the Bible – what we (as God’s people) need to do is to forget about our ambitions, goals, and motives and pick up God’s plan. We have been saved from eternal separation from God by grace! With all that we have been given, how can we do anything else but give all we have?
What if we all got our minds off of our own earthly bank accounts and focused on sowing into things that will have eternal value.
“I judge all things only by the price they shall gain in eternity.”
- John Wesley
I know it is difficult to comprehend, but eternity is a LONG TIME! We can either be doing things with our time and money that may benefit us for a few years down here, or we can see ourselves as the eternal beings that we are, get our priorities lined up with God’s, and starting giving in a way that will actually last for eternity!
Matthew 6:20 (NIV)
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
When we give into our churches and into ministries that are reaching the world, we get to be included in their eternal reward. We are the BODY of Christ, we all have a part to play.
…from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
The amazing thing is that as we start getting our focus off of ourselves and on meeting the needs of others, we will have our needs taken care of. It is just the way God set it up. He is so good, isn’t He?
I would love to hear your comments – so please share them below. Disagreeing is absolutely okay, just please be civil. Deal?