In this post I want to talk about tithing. The question that often comes up is “Are Christians expected to tithe today?” More bluntly I hear “Tithing is under the Law, but we are under grace so we are no longer required to tithe.” Let me answer these questions first by stating that the practice of tithing is not required for you to go to heaven. So you should not feel any condemnation or guilt if you do or don’t tithe. However, it is undeniable that the blessing and the curse of the tithe is still in effect.
Tithing Was Established Before The Law.
In Genesis 14:20 we see the first mention of the tithe. Abraham gave a tithe to Melchizedek, a shadowy figure that most scholars accept was a type of Christ. Now I know there are critics that would say that Abraham tithe only once to Melchizedek, but he did tithe! That fact that the father of Faith tithed establishes the concept of tithing well before the establishment of the law.
The concept of the tithe before the law is important because of the motivation behind the tithe at that time. The motivation behind the tithe before the law was trust. Abraham refused to take anything from the King of Sodom because he didn’t want anyone to be able to say they made him rich. (Gen. 14:21-23) Why? Because he trusted God to make him rich!
Tithing Was Mandated In The Law.
In Leviticus 27:30 we see where God gave the mandate to tithe. Here God establishes two things: the tithe is Holy, and the tithe belongs to Him. By establishing these to facts about the tithe God branded the tithe just like a rancher brands his cattle.
Latter in Malachi 3:8-10 God reiterates that He is the owner of the tithe. Then He establishes the blessing of the tithe. Basically if they obeyed they would receive the blessing and if they didn’t they would operate under the curse because the motivation for tithing under the Law is obedience!
Tithing Was Endorsed In The New Testament
In Luke 11:42 Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for tithing without the Love of God. He states: “…These (tithing) you out to have done, without leaving the others undone.” In this statement Jesus endorses the practice of tithing, but we need to do it in love, because the motivation for tithing in the New Testament is Love.
Jesus Gives us His Expectation to Pay the Tithe.
In Matthew 22:17-21 Jesus gives a group of Pharisees who were trying to entangle Him in front of the Herodians, His expectations for paying taxes. He states that taxes belong to Caesar because Caesar’s image was on it and he established the tax rate, so “…render unto Caesar the things that belongs to Caesar.” Then in the same breath Jesus said give God what belongs to God. What is Jesus referring to? Jesus is talking about the tithe. Why? Because God’s image is on it and God established the tithe rate (10%) as his.
Finally when it comes to tithing the proof is in the pudding. This is the only area that God says you can try Him. I encourage you to do just that. Set your heart on tithing. Even if you can’t start with the full 10%, begin moving towards it. God will not only reward your efforts, but He will help you. To help you get started I suggest the following steps:
Find out exactly how much is your tithe. Write down exactly what your tithe is and ask the Holy Spirit to help you pay it.
Write down the promises of the tithe. The promises of the tithe are found in Malachi 3:10-12. I suggest you write them down on the same sheet of paper that you wrote your tithe amount so that your mind will associate the tithe amount with the promise.
Cut discretionary spending until you can consistently tithe. This proves to God you are making His kingdom a priority. When you make God’s finances your priority, He will make your finances His priority.