10Bring 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.
11And 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. (Malachi 3:10-11, KJV)
Not Just a Regulation …
There are some who say that tithing is a “work of the law” that was no longer necessary after Jesus’ sacrificial death. Indeed there are quite a view verses dedicated to tithes and other mandated offerings in the Pentateuch.
However, the first tithe mentioned in scripture was given before the law was given. While the law regulated the manner in which the tithe was given – and received –, the tithe pre-dated the law.
Furthermore, while that first tithe was given sacrificially by Abram (Abraham) to acknowledge God’s role in a military victory, the tithe’s purpose was to provide sustenance to the priesthood.
23“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. (Matthew 23:23, NIV)
Here in Jesus’ denunciation of the legalistic practices of the Pharisees, Jesus brings a moral imperative in connection to tithing (“You should have …”). He shows that while tithing is proper, it should not be at the expense of higher spiritual values.
In an earlier post, I referenced II Corinthians 9:7-8 which posits that giving should not be under compulsion but done in a cheerful manner. Tithing is NOT mandated under our New Testament dispensation. It is encouraged, however, and should be a joyful, natural result of our generous character instead of an unsatisfying completion of a legal checklist.
Investing In Your Church
9And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
10As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:9-10, KJV)
21For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matthew 6:21, KJV)
As believers, we should be hooked up with a local church. We should be participants and not just occasional attendees. The benefits of church membership can not be overestimated: fellowship, edification, service to others, etc.
It is the Pastor’s job to oversee our souls and to guide us along in our spiritual development. We should see to our church’s temporal needs while they attend to our spiritual needs (1 Corinthians 9:11). While we may debate the requirement of tithing, we can’t debate that pastors still need to be fed and provide for their families. Pastors are scripturally entitled to a steady income (1 Corinthians 9:14)
Our giving to our local church should be ongoing. The tithing of our income ensures that it is. When the Lord blesses our substance over time, the church is rewarded proportionately. It is a fair and reliable arrangement.
While tithing is not a New Testament command, it is a New Testament principle.
Keeping Your Priorities
33“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33; NASB)
However, don’t stop at 10%! Malachi 3:8 mentions tithes and offerings. Giving should be inculcated into our lifestyle. Giving to the poor, good ministries, righteous causes, etc. over and above your tithe should flow naturally from you as you seek His kingdom. Malachi 3:10God promises to take care of you as you take care of His Kingdom. He even promises systematic increase along the way (Luke 6:38). If give God financial preeminence, your needs will be taken care of, you’ve got His word on it.
Are you up to the challenge?
9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:9-10; NKJ)