I’m a fairly new Christian and the concept of tithing is new to me. I make a comfortable living, but the thought of giving 10% of my money away is very uncomfortable. Am I required to tithing?
In the Old Testament God called the Israelites to be His people. He led them, provided for them, and asked that they give Him 10% of their livelihood as a remembrance of what He had done for them.
God ordered Israel to use the tithe for the maintenance of the temple and to provide for Israel’s priestly tribe, the Levites, who ministered to God for the rest of Israel. The Levites were not to own property or till the land. Nor could the Levites engage in any other activity as a means of supporting themselves. Instead they were to live on the generosity of the people. This would free them up to do the work God called them to do. Though the Levites relied solely on the support of others, they also were responsible to tithe from what they received. (Lev. 27.30-34, Num. 18.21, 26)
Tithing in New Testament Times
The New Testament does not require a 10% tithe. Some people believe this means tithing is no longer required. However, God still provides for us. Everything we have is a result of God‘s provision. He created us and created all that we use to make our own livelihood. God’s blessings are exceedingly abundant. Even in the midst of our trials and suffering, He still blesses and provides for us. Tithing is something we do out of gratitude for all God has done for us.
I was recently visiting a church and heard a pastor give a great sermon on James 5. During the sermon, he shared his own journey. When he was dating his now wife, he did not tithe at all. He quickly learned tithing was not only something she did, but a strong value for her as well. When they eventually married, he agreed to tithe. They could not initially afford to tithe 10%, but began working toward it. Today, 10% is now the starting point for them as they pray about what God would have them do.
Tithing was never meant to be a burden. Instead it is a way we can express our gratitude to God for everything He has provided for us. And in response to being obedient in this area, God desires to shower us with many blessings.
Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. ~Mal. 3:1
This is the only place in scripture where God tells His people to test Him. The implication from this verse is that if we tithe as God calls us to, He will bless us. If we choose not to tithe, we miss the blessings God would otherwise pour down upon us.
Early in his life, my husband felt he to choose between paying the electric bill or tithing. He took God at His word and chose to tithe, trusting God would provide. And God did. To this day, my husband doesn’t know how the electric bill was paid, but he never went without electricity.
God is gracious and the choice is always ours. Tithing may be counterintuitive in our culture, yet God’s favor waits for each of us when we choose to tithe. I encourage you to trust Him wholeheartedly in this area.