What Is Tithing?
A tithe (plural tithes) is literally, one-tenth part. In Christianity, tithing is usually giving or paying of the increase from profit. Sounds simple enough. So what is all the hype about? Bible scholars disagree. In Christianity, proponents of tithing affirm that it is an exhortation supported by Old Testament scripture and is not an out of date practice as opponents purport. Opponents of tithing argue that while tithing is expounded in the Old Testament, it is not a topic of exhortation in the New Testament – nor is it so much as mentioned at all.
With no difinitive answer on the question of tithing today, how do you determine whether or not you should participate? No doubt you have heard the words of Malachi 3:10-12 in support of tithing. Remember?
“10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. 12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.” Malachi 3:10-12 KJV
Now, ask yourself if you believe the Bible. If you answered, “Yes,” keep reading. If you answered, “No,” keep reading because I already cashed the bonus! (If you did not smile, rinse and repeat).
A perhaps less quoted, yet precious insight is in the single verse, II Timothy 3:16: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (KJV)
Whether you believe the New Testament is “missing something” for lack of reitterating an Old Testament truth, or you think the Old Testament is a history lesson to be learned and not forgotten, if you believe the Bible, you may agree with II Timothy 3:16.
Now, ask yourself if you believe God. Exactly. Whether you answered, “Yes,” or, “No,” you have your heart’s reply to the “do” or “don’t” question.
If all scripture is profitable, it follows that if you partake in tithing with the mindset that you are fulfilling the Gospel according to Malachi 3:10, it is neither a question of the Old or New Testament, nor of the person receiving the tithe, as to whether it is a necessary practice. The “…Prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts,…” should be enough to get your motor running! One of the benefits of faith in God, is the ability to stand on His promises. Even if the skeptics are right about tithing not being mentioned in the new Testament, God made a promise. You can take it to the bank.
WHOSE MONEY IS IT?
Finally, an easy question. When the Bible says, “…Saith the Lord,” Just say, Amen. If you tithe with the proper heart condition (cheerful giving), understanding that God is the only one who can give you a return of 30, 60 and 100 fold (Mark 4:20) more than you gave, you will understand that the important question is not who gets the (seed) money – the important question is who gave the seed?
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Galatians 6:7 KJV
If we want God to be King in our lives, we can not place limits on the topics and places that He should reign. If there are habits, aquaintances, or other areas of our lives that cause us to neglect, ignore, or water down our relationship with Christ, we need to make it our prayer that God will help us to steer those areas to His will.
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” I Corinthians 1:13 KJV
The unction to use our tithes for anything other than a token of obedience to God’s instruction in Malachi 3:10, is a type of temptation that we must resist. When some people think of tithing, they may feel that it takes away from the income they have to do things such as pay bills. God is challenging us to consider that “window” of heaven that He promises to open.
Did you know that in the original Hebrew translation of the Holy Bible, the context of the “window” in Malachi 3:10 is not exactly like the window that we have come to know in houses and business offices?This prophetic window, from which the blessing so great that we will not have the capacity to reap all of its benefits, is more like a flood gate. Now, think about that. A window is really to let something in – sunshine; fresh air; etc. A flood gate is to hold something back, lest it overtake, or completely flood what lies beyond the gate. Therefore, when we tithe as God commands us, we are “proving” to God that we believe He is able to open the flood gate of blessing upon us, that we shall be overtaken of His blessings and good favor!
NOW THAT’s GOOD NEWS!
And do not forget… when God promises to rebuke the devourer for our sakes, He is speaking only of what He knows He can do, not what He thinks will happen. Do not allow circumstances and other people to tell you what they think you should do other than to be obedient to God. God is able to do more than we can ask or even think. And He understands that choosing His will is not always the popular thing to do – but it is not for the people, it is for God. He said that if we love Him, we would keep His commandments. When he prepares the blessing for those who keep His commandments, He will not pass you by.
1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. 2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: 4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. Matthew 6:1-4 KJV
If we do not follow God’s plan of salvation, we will not be saved. If we do not follow His financial plan, we should not expect wealth either.
“14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” Ephesians 3:14-21 KJV
To an audience complaining of hearing a “repeated” sermon, a pastor responded, “When you get that one, we’ll move on to something else.” (unknown)