Tithing is an Old Testament Concept
In the Old Testament, God commanded Israel to give ten-percent of their income. This included any increase in flocks, herds, or crops. The old English word for one-tenth is “tithe.”
Besides the tithe, God required His people to make “offerings” for the maintenance of worship, care for the temple, and the salaries of the priests. Other offerings given out of love were also accepted. When Israel failed to tithe, God accused them of “robbing” Him (see Nehemiah 13:10-13 and Malachi 3:8-13).
Some Christians feel tithing doesn’t apply to them. But tithing to the priesthood of Jesus existed long before the law was given (see Hebrews 6:20; 7:4-10).
Christians are to be free from the “love of money,” and every earthly attachment. (Timothy 6:10).
Whether Christians are supposed to tithe is debatable, but there’s no doubt we’re to be givers.
Jesus said if we’re generous with others, God will be generous with us. He is our model of generosity. (Luke 6:38; 2 Corinthians 8:9). Collections in the New Testament were given to help the poor and supply the needs of ministers.
Some Christians claim tithing has boosted their income, and you may hear stories about businessmen who started giving ten-percent; as they prospered they gave twenty-percent, then thirty, and so on. But there’s no magic to tithing.
The real issue is stewardship. Stewardship implies that everything we have belongs to God. Being a good steward is managing our resources well, using them in ways that please God, but not wasting them or striving to become rich. Tithing is one aspect of good stewardship.
Principals of Christian Giving
First, Christians are to give themselves. Giving “self” is more important then giving money (2 Corinthians 8:5).
Secondly, giving is similar to planting and reaping. “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly” and “whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (2 Corinthians 9:6). The reaping, however, may not occur in this lifetime.
Thirdly, you have to determine in your own heart how much you can give “cheerfully.” The Bible forbids forcing anyone to give. You are to give only within your means (2 Corinthians 8:12, 9:7).
Fourth, God will bless “givers” to do even greater things (2 Corinthians 9:8-15).
Fifth, Paul tells Christians to first give to the ministry meeting their spiritual needs. Afterwards one may consider other worth causes. (2 Corinthians 9:7-14; Galatians 6:10).
Sixth, God wants us to be “rich in good works” (1 Timothy 6:17-18). He wants us to be personally involved in helping others and not merely anonymous donors.
For us, giving is worship. It’s a spiritual sacrifice, an expression of gratitude, because everything we have and enjoy comes from God. It’s a free expression of our love for God, whose gift to us infinitely outweighs anything we could ever give in return.