Reader’s Question: Every Sunday my husband and I tithe something but it’s not always 10 percent of our check is this bad?”
There are a lot of questions floating around out there for today’s believers on the area of tithing. Questions like the following:
“Is it relevant for today or is it just and Old Testament principle?”
“Do I have to tithe 10%?”
To begin answering these questions we must first take a look at Matthew 6:21; “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”. When we choose to give God 10% of our income, it shows that our heart doesn’t belong to our money, but rather that we love God more than our money.
A lot of people get caught up on the thought that tithing is mandatory. As if it keeps us in bondage within our relationship with God. But God’s standards were not put in place to keep us in bondage but rather to bless us. There are a lot of standards throughout the bible that God desires for us to follow after. One such standard is to keep sex within the context of marriage. This standard isn’t to make us miserable, but to protect us from all the bad that can come from having sex outside of a life-long commitment to each other that is made through marriage. Tithing is meant to be a blessing in our lives. It blesses us as we are able to help bless others through our obedience in giving God our first tenth. Again this not about our works saving us (we dealt with that on Friday); we are only saved by the grace of God and the sacrifice of Jesus. Tithing is not a salvation issue.
As far as the 10% goes, does the amount matter? The reason I believe God puts a percentage on it is because He is aware of our selfish nature. God wants us to give out of a cheerful heart, but a lot of times we need to just take the steps in giving the full amount asked by God, which is 10% of our first fruits (before taxes). If it is hard at first, this gives God the opportunity to soften our hearts as He shows us the blessings that can come through being obedient in our tithing. It all belongs to Him anyways. My husband and I used to not give the full 10%; we were younger in age and in our spiritual walk with Christ. We found ourselves in some hard financial spots, to the point where we weren’t sure if we could tithe anything at all. Finally, my husband made the decision that regardless of the amount coming in the full 10% of our first fruits would go back to God. It was really hard to put that check in the offering plate at first, but through the first few months of being obedient we witnessed God step in to our finances and do amazing things with them. As we became more aware of the fact that we are stewards and what we have belongs to God, we became more careful as to where we spent our money. There were months our number of what needed to go out ended in the red, but we tithed and somehow we always had enough. Now as we continue to be faithful in our tithing, we are constantly seeing God provide for us in ways we couldn’t imagine. In ways I honestly think wouldn’t be there if we weren’t being obedient in tithing and being good stewards of what God has given us.
To answer the question about whether tithing is just an Old Testament principle or if it can be applied to the New Testament, I have chosen to directly quote Cortni Marrazzo from her article, Is Tithing for the New Testament Believer: (actually a lot of her thoughts line up with mine on the topic of tithing and I used this article as a guide for my post today)
“Whether the tithe is only for Old Testament or if it is also included in the New Testament is probably the most debated issue. The scripture most frequently referenced regarding the tithe is indeed in the Old Testament (Malachi 3:10-12), but the tithe is also referenced in the New Testament. In Matthew 23:23, Jesus talks to the Pharisees, condemning them for tithing to the penny but neglecting the more important issues of justice, mercy and faith. He then goes on to tell them that they should in fact tithe, but that they shouldn’t neglect the more important things. Jesus recognized the importance of keeping the tithe and we should, too.
There are many practices in the Old Testament that don’t make sense to us today, yet many of these ancient ways carry over to the New Testament law of grace as part of Christ’s promise to not abolish the law, but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). For instance we no longer sacrifice animals but as believers we are called to offer ourselves up as a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1). Men no longer are required to be circumcised, but we all have a circumcision of the heart through the Holy Spirit (Rom 2:29). Most of us don’t have grain and produce to bring to the storehouse, but we do have incomes that we can bring the first tenth of into the church. In other words, just because something is written in the Old Testament doesn’t mean it lacks application to us today in some way or another. While it is true that we are no longer under the old law, that we are under grace, we must not forget the purpose of grace: to help us live for God and do the things He wants us to do. Romans 8:4 tells us that Jesus came that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, not so that we could altogether dismiss it. And Romans 3:21-31 talks about how we have righteousness through faith and not through following the law, but verse 31 adds “Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.” God’s grace gives us the power and ability to tithe!
I hope this is a good starting point in answering the questions I’ve been asked about tithing. If you have any additional questions, seek God! He will surely direct your steps.
Hope you all have a great week!