Why should we tithe?
These days, the topic of tithing can bring great controversy. I have personally heard a lot of debate over whether or not tithing is relevant for us today. This controversy leaves us all questioning “Is tithing necessary?”
If you are reading this article, I think it is safe to say that you are probably a Christian who is looking to honor God in every area of your life. Though let’s be honest, part of you is might actually be wondering “Do I have to tithe?” Well, let’s dive in to find out why tithing is important.
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What is Tithing?
There tend to be some misconceptions about what tithing is. So let’s start by clearing those up by looking at the definition of tithing. In Hebrew, a tithe means ‘one-tenth part of something.’
Traditionally, tithing meant to give one-tenth of one’s annual produce or earnings. It was used as a contribution or a sort of tax in order to support the Church. The church had more power over citizens back then than it does today.
Today, however, tithing tends to get swapped with the word offering. Though the two words are very similar, they are not exactly one and the same. A tithe was used as an offering, but it specifically means one-tenth of something.
We now know what tithing is; but how can we apply this to us in the 21st century. Do we need still need to tithe?
Tithing in the Old Testament
The tithes required by the Israelites were a part of the Mosaic Law. Jesus became the fulfillment of the law when he died on the cross. So therefore, the law to tithe was technically ended with Jesus’ death on the cross.
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. Matthew 5:17 NIV
We No Longer Need to Tithe in Order to Gain the Grace of God
Through our faith in Jesus, we receive God’s grace and forgiveness. And it is through that grace by faith that we are reconciled with God.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
The commands given in the Mosaic covenant are no longer in force for believers. Therefore, tithing is not necessary for us to gain salvation or God’s forgiveness.
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. Ephesians 2:14-16 NIV
Now that we have discovered that tithing is not technically necessary, why do all of our churches keep telling us to give?
What Does Jesus Say About Tithing?
When we think of the word tithe in the Bible, most of us think about the Old Testament. However, tithing does get discussed many times in the New Testament as well. We even see Jesus talking about tithing.
Some argue that Jesus did talk about tithing and therefore it is still necessary for Christians to tithe today. But technically this was before the New Covenant was made through his death and resurrection.
However, it is clear that Jesus still values giving. There are plenty of Bible verses that talk about giving that makes it evident that it is an important part of our journey as Christians.
In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” Acts 20:35
Even though through the New Covenant we are not required to do any work in order to gain salvation, Jesus still highly values works as a means to worship. They show how we have been transformed into a new creation.
Some of the works that Jesus values include, but are not limited to, going to church, reading our Bibles, giving, fasting, serving, and caring for the poor, widows, those in prison, etc.
Bible Verses About Tithing
So, what else does the Bible say about tithing? There are quite a handful of Bible verses about tithing to help us understand the importance of tithing.
The most popular Bible verses about why we should tithe are found in the book of Malachi.
Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. (Malachi 3:8-10 NIV)
These 3 short verses are packed with information about the importance of tithing. But there are many more to help you understand why tithing is important.
Tithing Is Giving to God What Belongs to Him
The first (and in my opinion most important) reason why we should tithe is that we’ll be giving back to God what belongs to Him.
In these verses from Malachi, God tells His people that they’ve robbed Him of tithes and offerings.
From the verb ‘to rob’ it becomes clear that the tithes and offerings belong to God, not us. He even literally declares:
The silver is mine, and the gold is mine. (Haggai 2:8)
A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord. (Leviticus 27:30)
Unfortunately, we have a tendency to hold fast to our worldly treasures instead of fully trusting in God. Without realizing it, we’re serving mammon and have made money one of our many idols.
And the more wealth one has, the more difficult it seems to depart from the tithes and offerings. Remember Jesus’ words? He said:
Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24)
Tithing is a test of faith
‘Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. (Proverbs 3:9-10)
Do you truly trust God? Do you trust that He won't leave you high and dry? When you give a tithe, this is a test of your faith in His many promises.
Tithing will bring a blessing
Finally, if we do decide to tithe and give back to God what belongs to Him in the first place, He will bless us greatly.
God even says ‘Prove me now herewith’, meaning that He wants us to try Him and see for ourselves. Once we start tithing, the blessings bestowed upon us will be so great, we’ll hardly be able to contain them.
What a promise!
Why We Should Tithe and Give Back to God
When we tithe, we are simply giving back to God a portion of what is already His!
If you’re not tithing yet or only make small offerings to your church, pray to God for guidance. Are you afraid you won’t have enough to support your own family after tithing, pray! No matter your current reason for not tithing yet, pray to God and He will hear you.
Remember the words of our precious Saviour – who didn’t even have a place to rest His head (Matthew 8:20):
Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’(Matthew 25:40 NIV).
It may also be worthwhile to have a chat with your church leaders and ask them what they use the tithes and offerings for. They should be able to give you all the answers you need.