Tithing has been a part of Christian practice for centuries, but many still have questions about this important financial practice. As Christians, we are called to honor God in every aspect of our lives, including our finances, and tithing is one way that we do this. Understanding Jesus’ teachings on tithing can help us gain a deeper understanding of this important practice.
In this blog post, we will explore what Jesus said about tithing and how it fits into the larger picture of giving in the Christian faith. We will examine the Old and New Testament perspectives on tithing, as well as the heart behind giving. Through this exploration, we hope to provide Christians with a better understanding of the importance of tithing and how it can help us develop a generous lifestyle that reflects God’s heart for giving.
We will examine Jesus’ teachings on tithing in detail and provide examples and illustrations to help clarify the biblical perspective on this important topic. Whether you are new to tithing or have been practicing it for years, this post will provide a comprehensive overview of Jesus’ teachings on tithing and help you better understand how it can help you honor God with your finances.
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What did Jesus say about tithing?
In the Bible, Jesus mentions tithing several times. In Matthew 23:23, He says:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.”
Here, Jesus is rebuking the religious leaders for their focus on tithing while neglecting the more important matters of justice, mercy, and faith. He emphasizes the importance of both tithing and living a righteous life that reflects God’s heart.
Jesus also uses the story of the poor widow in Mark 12:41-44 to illustrate the heart behind giving. The widow gave two small copper coins, which was all she had, while the rich gave out of their abundance. Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” (Mark 12:43-44)
The meaning and purpose of tithing
In the Old Testament, tithing was a practice that was required of the Israelites as a way to support the Levites who were responsible for the upkeep of the tabernacle and later the temple (Leviticus 27:30-33, Numbers 18:21-24). Tithes were also used to help the poor and needy (Deuteronomy 14:28-29).
God commanded the Israelites to bring their tithes into the storehouse so that there would be enough food in His house. He promised to bless them abundantly if they obeyed Him in this matter. (Malachi 3:10)
In the New Testament, tithing is not explicitly commanded, but it is still recognized as a valid practice. In Matthew 23:23 (quoted above), Jesus affirms the practice of tithing while also emphasizing the importance of living a life that reflects God’s heart.
Christians are called to give generously, not just a tenth, but whatever they can give cheerfully from their heart. (2 Corinthians 9:7) In fact, some Christians believe that the New Testament standard for giving is even higher than a tenth of their income.
The heart behind tithing
While tithing is an important practice, it is not simply about giving a specific amount of money. Jesus emphasizes the heart behind giving in Matthew 6:1-4:
“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.”
Jesus warns against giving with the wrong intentions, such as to be seen by others or to receive recognition. Instead, He emphasizes the importance of giving from a pure heart and seeking to honor God rather than ourselves.
Paul, in 2 Corinthians 9:6-8, explains that giving should come from a cheerful heart. He says, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
The relationship between tithing and generosity
Tithing is just one aspect of the larger practice of giving in Christianity. As Christians, we are called to be generous with our time, talents, and resources, giving not only to support the church but also to help those in need (2 Corinthians 9:6-8). Tithing can be a helpful starting point for developing a generous lifestyle that reflects God’s heart for giving.
When we give generously, we reflect God’s generosity towards us. In Luke 6:38, Jesus says, “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 promises to bless those who give with a pure heart and a generous spirit.
In conclusion, Jesus affirms the practice of tithing as an important way to honor God with our finances. However, He also emphasizes the importance of living a life that reflects God’s heart, including practicing justice, mercy, and faith, and giving with a pure heart and the right intentions.
Tithing is a way to honor God with our finances, but it is just one aspect of the larger practice of giving. By seeking to honor God with our giving and developing a generous lifestyle that reflects His heart for giving, we can live out the call to be good stewards of all that He has given us. Whether we give a tenth or more or less, we should do so with a cheerful heart and a desire to reflect God’s generosity towards us.
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