Tithing is a practice that has been around for thousands of years, yet it remains a controversial topic in the Christian community. While some Christians view tithing as a spiritual discipline and a way to support the work of the church, others see it as an outdated requirement that is no longer relevant. In this blog post, we will explore the purpose of tithing, the biblical basis for tithing, common misconceptions about tithing, alternatives to tithing, and practical tips for tithing.
As Christians, it is important to understand the purpose of tithing and to approach it with a spirit of obedience and generosity. Tithing is not simply a financial transaction, but it is a way of acknowledging God’s ownership of everything and investing in his kingdom. By tithing, Christians can support the work of the church, provide for the needs of the poor, and develop a generous spirit.
However, tithing can also be a controversial and misunderstood topic, with many misconceptions and differing opinions. It is important for Christians to approach tithing with a spirit of openness and to seek guidance from the Bible and the Holy Spirit. In the following sections, we will explore the purpose of tithing, the biblical basis for tithing, common misconceptions about tithing, alternatives to tithing, and practical tips for tithing.
- Supporting the Work of the Church
- Providing for the Needs of the Poor
- Acknowledging God's Ownership of Everything
- Developing a Generous Spirit
- Blessings that Come with Tithing
- Tithing is Only for the Old Testament Era
- Tithing is Only for the Rich
- Tithing is a Legalistic Obligation
Biblical Basis for Tithing
The practice of tithing can be traced back to the Old Testament, where it was a requirement for the Israelites. In Leviticus 27:30, it says, “And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s. It is holy to the Lord.” This verse indicates that the tithe belongs to God and is set apart for his purposes.
In addition to Leviticus, there are many other Old Testament passages that refer to tithing. For example:
- Deuteronomy 14:22-23 says, “You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year. And you shall eat before the Lord your God, in the place where He chooses to make His name abide, the tithe of your grain and your new wine and your oil, of the firstborn of your herds and your flocks, that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always.”
- Nehemiah 10:38 says, “And the priest, the descendant of Aaron, shall be with the Levites when the Levites receive tithes; and the Levites shall bring up a tenth of the tithes to the house of our God, to the rooms of the storehouse.”
In the New Testament, Jesus affirms the practice of tithing 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.” Jesus is not saying that tithing is the most important thing, but he is saying that it is still important and should not be neglected.
The Purpose of Tithing
So, what is the purpose of tithing? Here are several reasons why Christians should tithe:
Supporting the Work of the Church
Tithes help to fund the activities of the church, such as paying for staff, maintaining the building, and funding outreach programs. Without tithes, it would be difficult for churches to operate and carry out their mission. Tithing is a way to show support for the work of the church and to invest in its growth and impact.
Providing for the Needs of the Poor
In Deuteronomy 14:28-29, it says, “At the end of every third year you shall bring out the tithe of your produce of that year and store it up within your gates. And the Levite, because he has no portion nor inheritance with you, and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are within your gates, may come and eat and be satisfied, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.” Tithing can help to provide for those who are in need. Churches can use tithes to support local and global outreach efforts and to provide for those who are struggling.
Acknowledging God’s Ownership of Everything
Tithing is a way of acknowledging that everything we have comes from God and belongs to him. Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.” By tithing, Christians recognize that they are stewards of God’s resources and that they have a responsibility to use them wisely and for his purposes.
Developing a Generous Spirit
Tithing can help Christians develop a generous spirit. In 2 Corinthians 9:6-7, it says, “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” Giving generously and with a joyful heart can help Christians become more like Christ, who gave everything for our salvation.
Blessings that Come with Tithing
While tithing should not be viewed as a way to earn God’s blessings or favor, there are many passages in the Bible that indicate that blessings often come with obedience. In Malachi 3:10, it says, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.” Tithing can bring blessings in various forms, but Christians should not tithe solely for that reason.
Common Misconceptions About Tithing
There are several common misconceptions about tithing that need to be addressed:
Tithing is Only for the Old Testament Era
While tithing was a requirement for the Israelites in the Old Testament, Jesus affirms the practice of tithing in the New Testament (Matthew 23:23). Tithing is still relevant for Christians today, and it is a way to honor God and support the work of the church.
Tithing is Only for the Rich
Tithing is not just for the rich; it is for everyone. In fact, tithing can help those who are not wealthy develop a more generous spirit and trust in God’s provision. Even if someone has a small income, they can still give a portion of it to support the work of the church.
Tithing is a Legalistic Obligation
Tithing should not be viewed as a legalistic obligation but rather as a way to honor God and support the work of the church. Christians should tithe joyfully and with a willing heart, not out of a sense of obligation or guilt.
Alternatives to Tithing
While tithing is a common practice among Christians, there are alternatives to tithing for those who may not be able to tithe for various reasons:
Christians can give sacrificially, which means giving more than the tithe or giving in a way that requires sacrifice. In Mark 12:41-44, it says, “Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.'”
Giving sacrificially can be a way to honor God and support the work of the church, even if someone cannot give the full tithe.
Giving to Specific Needs
Christians can also give to specific needs within the church or community. For example, they could donate to a food bank, a homeless shelter, or a missionary organization. By giving to specific needs, Christians can make a direct impact on the lives of others.
Volunteering Time and Talents
Finally, Christians can give of their time and talents by volunteering at their church or in their community. They can use their skills to serve others and make a difference in the world. Volunteering can be just as valuable as giving money, and it can help Christians develop a deeper sense of purpose and meaning.
Practical Tips for Tithing
Here are some practical tips for tithing:
Budgeting for Tithing
Christians should budget for tithing just like they would budget for any other expense. They should make tithing a priority and plan to give a certain percentage of their income each month. By budgeting for tithing, Christians can ensure that they are consistently giving and supporting the work of the church.
Many churches and organizations offer online giving options or automatic bank drafts. Christians can set up recurring donations to make tithing more convenient and consistent. Automating giving can also help Christians develop a habit of giving and make tithing a regular part of their lives.
Finding Joy in Giving
Tithing should not be viewed as a burden or obligation but rather as a way to honor God and support the work of the church. Christians can find joy in giving by focusing on the blessings that come with obedience and by developing a generous spirit. By giving with a joyful heart, Christians can experience the true purpose and meaning of tithing.
In conclusion, tithing is a biblical practice that remains relevant for Christians today. It is a way for Christians to support the work of the church, provide for the needs of the poor, acknowledge God’s ownership of everything, develop a generous spirit, and receive blessings from God. Tithing should be approached with a spirit of obedience and generosity, not as a legalistic obligation or a way to earn God’s blessings.
While tithing may not be feasible for everyone, there are alternatives to tithing, such as giving sacrificially, giving to specific needs, and volunteering time and talents. Whatever the method, Christians should approach giving with a spirit of joy and willingness, recognizing that it is an opportunity to invest in God’s kingdom and make a difference in the world.
As Christians, we should continue to seek guidance from the Bible and the Holy Spirit regarding our approach to tithing and giving. Ultimately, our goal should be to honor God and support the work of the church, not to satisfy our own desires or agendas. By following biblical principles and practical tips for tithing, we can make tithing a consistent and meaningful practice in our lives and experience the blessings that come with obedience to God.