Updated: Mar 25
They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm. 1 Timothy 1:7
Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. Matthew 22:29
Many believers are living in weakness and error because of their ignorance of the Word of God.
Many, misunderstanding God’s purpose for instituting tithing and other types of giving, have ended up in confusion. Though the purpose of tithing is to open up believers to God’s blessing as we appreciate Him as our Source, the practice has suffered abuse and misuse like in all cases where purpose of a thing is not known.
This Question & Answer section examines scripturally God’s purpose for instituting tithing.
May you know the truth and may that truth set you free to enjoy great abundance that is ever available in the Lord.
Facts versus False arguments about Tithes
Tithes refer to a tenth part of a person’s earning, income or gift voluntarily paid as a contribution for the support of a local church. The first practice of “tithing “was recorded in the Holy Bible over four thousand years ago before the advent of the Old and New Testaments.
The Bible shows tithe as God’s idea for supernaturally blessing human.
I will now examine 12 major arguments often raised against the practice of tithe today and offer Bible solutions and explanations for the continuation of the practice..
1) TITHE IS AN OLD TESTAMENT LAW
Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, 19 and he blessed Abram, saying, "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. 20 And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand." Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything. Genesis 14:18-20 NIV
The practice of “Tithing”, like Holy Communion, actually began before the law so it has nothing to do with the Dispensation of Law. Abram tithed to Melchizedek 500 years before Moses, the giver of the law was born. Jacob paid tithes 250 years before the law was given to Moses.
Melchizedek shared Holy Communion with Abram after he gave him the tithe to signify the eternal importance of Jesus Christ in securing God's blessing over our lives.
The same way we take Holy Communion do we still tithe to Jesus Christ, in His office as Melchizedek even till today (Hebrews 7:8).
(1) Tithing practice preceded Moses Long time before Moses was born, tithing was practised by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Isaac tithed (Gen 26:12); Jacob tithed (Gen.28:22); and Levi tithed (Heb.7:9).
(2) God’s law are eternally purposeful. They are created to fulfil a purpose in people’s lives.
The ceremonial laws are temporary guide to the coming of Jesus Christ
We need to understand the laws of God and fulfil them in the Spirit of love to enjoy their provisions.
Under the Law, we are taught the minimum standard of relating to God. Under the dispensation of grace , Jesus as an expression of God's limitless love to mankind came to release us to express our maximum appreciation to the Lord beyond the limited standard of the Law. Law teaches the sinful man the right thing to do till the spirit of love takes over man in the Dispensation of Grace. The Law has come to guide us to the fullness of life available in Christ so we can live a life justified by faith (Galatians 3:15-25).
(3) Specific laws of God become obsolete only after they have fulfilled their intended purpose.
However, most of the Laws have come to teach man how to relate with God in this "Dispensation of Grace" and are still valid. Contrary to opinion of many ignorant people, Jesus Christ did not come to stop or destroy the Laws but to fulfil and make them perfect (Matt.5:17-20). In fact Laws are meant to teach us till faith takes over (Galatians 3:24-26). Laws did to people living under sin, what Holy Spirit does to people living in the spirit under grace. Once a person has learned to have faith, there is no more need to have the Law as a teacher. No more reason to live a legalistic life of a slave as one begins to live a life of a son of God made available in Christ (Gal.3:25-29).
Conclusion: Tithe is misunderstood by many ignorant believers because they mistook it to be part of the laws of Moses. Tithe actually predated Moses. It actually was in existence before Moses was ever born. The Bible says, “One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham, 10 because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor." Heb. 7:9
2) JESUS CAME TO CANCEL THE LAWS
"You are no longer under law but under grace." Romans 6:14
"Do we then overthrow the law by faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law." Romans 3:31
It is not true that Jesus Christ came to cancel the laws. Some people erroneously think that Jesus’ intention was to contrast His own teaching with that of Moses and thereby declare Himself as the true authority. Rather, Jesus came to correct wrong translation of the Law by the Pharisees and make the Law perfect and complete.
“The LORD is well pleased for His righteousness’ sake; He will exalt the law, and make it honorable.” Isaiah 42:21:
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches [a]others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever [b]keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:17-19.
Jesus fulfilled the Messianic prophecy concerning Him about “exalting” and “magnifying” the laws of God. “The Law” referred to the first five books of the Bible, the books of Moses in which God’s laws were written down. “The Prophets” referred not only to the writings of the biblical prophets, but also to the historical books of what came to be known as the Old Testament.
Jesus said He has come to fulfil them. The Greek word pleroo, translated “fulfill” in Matthew 5:17, means “to make full, to fill, to fill up or “to render full, i.e. to complete” & make perfect (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 2002, Strong’s number 4137). In other words, Jesus said He came to complete the law and make it perfect. How? By showing the spiritual intent and application of God’s law.
God's Law has always remained the same but only Jesus could express it perfectly.
Jesus fulfilling the Law of God does not mean we no longer need to keep it.
Neither does it mean that the law has no further obligation on His followers?
The Law came to guide us to Grace. The Law guided the sinful man till Jesus Christ came in the Dispensation of Grace to connect us to the fullness of God's promises (Gal. 3:19-25).
Conclusion: Jesus Christ has come to fulfil the law. The same God is the Author of Old and New Covenant alike; there can be no vital conflict between them. Rather the fundamental laws of morality underlying both are in full accord. God tells us in Malachi 3:6, “I am the LORD, I do not change.”
3) JESUS CHRIST HAS CANCELLED TITHES
“"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices--mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practised the latter, without neglecting the former.” Matthew 23:23
There is no place it is written in the Bible that Jesus Christ had cancelled tithing!
(1) Jesus did not cancel tithe. He in fact endorsed it. In Matthew 23:23 when He said, "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices--mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practised the latter, without neglecting the former.”
(2) There is no place it is written in the Bible that Jesus Christ did not tithe or asked people not to tithe! He once paid the “temple tax” for himself and His disciple (Matthew17:24-27.) The fact that Jesus Christ, was permitted to enter Jewish temples and partake in their traditions is a pointer to His acceptance as a correct practising Jew otherwise, the Pharisees and Sadducees would have rejected him from attending Jewish temples or reading the Word of God.
(3) Unless it is at least a tenth of your income, it is not tithes. So many unscriptural teachers exist today confusing (scriptures on) tithes and offering together. God has not changed neither had his instructions (2 Peter 1:21). If it is not tenth of your income , it is never a tithe. Offering is whatever you give after tithes. While tithes is decided by God, offering is free-will and self-determined. Under the Law, God gave the minimum standard of a tithe, under Grace, there is no more limit. Giving in love rather than as a legalistic obligation should not necessarily be less than God's standard during Law or we will simply be calling God unjust and unfair. To whom much is given, much (not less) is expected. Jesus Christ, as a matter of fact, demands more from New Testament stewards (Luke 12:33-48).
Conclusion: Jesus' life demonstrated strict obedience to Jewish rules. He clearly stated, " 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. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:17-19 (ESV)
4) CAN I USE MY TITHE TO TAKE CARE OF MY FAMILY OR THE POOR?
Jesus said "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and to God the things that are God's. Matthew 22:21
Jesus encouraged balanced and responsible stewardship. When questioned about the need to pay government's tax. His answer was, “to give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar (tax) and to God what belongs to God (tithes, offering etc.).
(1) No type of giving should contest, replace or substitute another (Mark 12:14-17) That you pay tax to government or tithes to church is no reason not to pay rent to your landlord, give love offering to the poor or take good care of your parents and family. The problem with many people is greed. They prefer to rob Peter to pay Paul. They will prefer to use God’s tithes to take care of their other responsibilities instead of using their personal money. Why don’t you use your government tax, landlord’s rent or family upkeep money as gift to the poor or as present to other people? Giving sacrificially is personal and it should hurt you not other people (2 Sam. 24:24). It is an act of irresponsibility to convert God’s tithes in your hand to other use except the purpose God intends it for. Be responsible.
(2) We are all stewards of God’s resources and will one day be called to give account
Whatever you may have in your possession is not really yours. Everything belongs to the Lord (Psalm 24:1), we are all just stewards temporarily placed in charge of God's resources.
One day, we will give account to Him concerning how we use His resources. Giving a portion of God's resources back to Him does no harm to anybody. Nobody dies by tithing in the last 4000 years of the history of tithing. Ingratitude is what is destroying people.
Conclusion: Robbing Peter to pay Paul is a gross act of irresponsibility. You should be using your personal money to help the poor and your family, not God's own money kept in your care. Sacrifice is what you do from your own resources not from another man's money. Jesus' stand is to "Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and To God what belongs to God (Matthew 22:21)!"
5) ARE WE EXEMPTED FROM TITHING IN THIS GRACE DISPENSATION?
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. Matthew 24:25 (NIV)
“Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least [by those] in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven”. Matthew 5:19
Jesus likened the continuation of the law to the permanence of heaven and earth. By this, he was saying that the law is immutable, inviolable and unchangeable and can only be fulfilled, never abrogated.
(1) The dispensation of grace demands our faith to be at work. Grace works effectively by faith. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:8-10) The truth of tithing works better in grace dispensation for everything under grace works by faith. Can you show me a new dispensation way of bringing “food in to God’s house” that can perform or outperform God’s recommendation (Malachi 3:10)?
(2) The law of tithing is a law of faith relevant for all dispensation. The Just shall live by his faith (Rom. 1.17). Jesus Christ taught us that, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished (Matthew 5:17-18).”
(3) Tithing is a faith avenue to partnership with God in all dispensations.
We still tithe under grace. Jesus is still receiving tithe under the dispensation of Grace. " In this case mortal men receive tithes, but in that case one receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives on. (Heb. 7:8)." The Bible says, "As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease (Genesis 8:22)."
Conclusion. There is no old or new truth in the Lord. The truth of God’s word is timeless and everlasting. The Word of God is valid in all generations and dispensations. God is forever faithful to whoever who take Him by His Word, regardless of the dispensation you live.
6) TITHE IS PART OF LAW SO IT IS AGAINST GRACE
"As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease." Gen. 8:22
Giving offering, tithes and sacrifice to God began from time immemorial.
Abraham gave tithe before the law (Gen. 14:20; Genesis 14:18-20).
(1) Grace has nothing against the work of faith
In fact, grace prepares man for the work of faith. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them (Ephesians 2:8-10)".
(2) Fruitful life demands faithfulness
A man is revealed through his work. By their fruits, you shall know them. Profession of faith without the action of faith is barren. "So you see, faith by itself isn't enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless (James 2:17)."
(3) Tithe practice grows more under grace
The Leviticus tithe is the minimum, in the New Testament era. In the New Testament dispensation, to he that much is given, much is expected. In Acts 4:36-37,"Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means "son of encouragement"), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles' feet." Joseph, a Levite went beyond the Old Testament standard of "10 percent" to give "all" the proceeds from the sale of his field. Even dishonest believers like Ananias and Sapphira tried to copy that performance (Acts 5:1-11).
Conclusion: Tithing and all types of giving comes before the Law. It started from the onset of human sharing relationship with God. It is an expression of human gratitude for God's goodness and faithfulness and that practice will exist forever. Giving was a vital part of New Testament Church (1 Cor. 16:1-2; 1 Cor. 7:6, 25; 2 Cor. 8:11) and it will continue to be a practise of believers till the return of Jesus Christ and forever more.
7) TITHING IS ONLY FOR JEWS
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28 (NIV)
What I say to you, I say to everyone 'Watch!' Mk 13:37 (NIV)
One can as well say that Jesus Christ died only for the Jews, or that the Bible is written for the Jews only. I have even heard some people claimed that non-Jewish pastors should stop collecting tithes since they are no Levites. Though I have never seen the name of many nations in the Bible yet I still believe that the message of the Bible is targeted to all mankind.
(1) In fact, the Bible has been translated into almost all the languages of the world today for all people. The same way Bible is not written only to Jews or any human race is the principles of Bible, in this case tithing, not limited to a particular group or race of people (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
(2) There is no more racial and gender differences in Christ. He has made one all nations (Acts 17:26). Jesus did not address any of His speech above to specifically Asians, Africans, Americans, Australians or Europeans. He speaks to us all.
(3) God’s dealing with mankind is progressive and inclusive. Right from His dealing with Adam, to Abraham (Gen. 12:3) all the way to Jesus Christ (Rom. 4:11; Gal. 3:7, 13-14, 29).
Conclusion: God‘s dealing with mankind from Adam and Eve till today is for the benefit of us all. Shun any attempt to limit the focus of the Holy Bible to a particular group of people alone. Bible is all inclusive and it is written for all people and situation. Otherwise the argument will not be about Bible targeting one particular race or people but about it being written for individual persons. So you will need to show me a Bible written for me for me to obey the contents.
8) JESUS AND HIS DISCIPLES NEVER PAID TITHE
"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. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Matthew 5:17-18
But so that we may not cause offense, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours." Matthew 17:27
There was no place, in the Bible, where it was mentioned that Jesus Christ and His disciples never tithed. There was no place also where Jesus Christ or His disciples taught against tithing. One thing was however clear. Jesus and His disciples were practising Jews. They were not "Law breakers" or the Pharisees and other critics would have openly accused them. Tithes for them must have been a kindergarten practise they mastered from early age. Jesus and His disciples observed great standard of God's Law. Apostle Paul's lifestyle exemplified strict standard of early church leaders. They were "faultless" as to righteousness in the law (Philippians 3:3-9). Their righteousness, however went beyond that of the Law, to that of "faith in Christ".
They have graduated from "School of Law" to "School of Faith in Christ"! They were no more slaves to Law but have become sons to God through their faith in Christ.
(1) The purpose of tithe is to exempt people of the Lord supernaturally from poverty and lack!
Only greedy mind-set makes man doubt and rob God. God has not changed His mind to bless!
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Heb. 13:8). The early church leaders were righteous, God loving people. They knew and understood God's purpose for tithes and like people in their days, they lived in obedience not in rebellion as is common today.
(2) Jesus never came to break or stop laws but to fulfil them
Which is weigher, the laws of God or the laws of man? Jesus Christ even refused to break the laws of men. He paid His temple tax and paid that of peter too! Jesus Christ's integrity prevents Him from recommending others to do what He will not do Himself.
(3) Bible records showed Jesus Christ obeying laws and tradition of His people
Once asked to pay the “temple tax,” Jesus obliged and sent Peter to pay for both of them (Matthew17:24-27). Once, the Pharisees came to tempt Him and asked if it is right to pay Caesar’s tax, He taught us that it is right to do the right thing at all time to every institution and authority we serve under. He answered the people, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and to God the things that are God's. (Matthew 22:21).”
Conclusion: Since Jesus obeyed the commandments of God, it follows that His disciples also did. The disciples kept the commandments and taught others to do the same. 1 John 2:2-6; 2 Tim. 2:2
9) LEVITES ONLY ARE TO TAKE TITHES. PASTORS HAVE NO CLAIM
And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation. Acts 17:26 (KJV)
Now about the collection for the Lord’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. 2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 (NIV)
Apostle Paul instructed Christians to gather offerings together every Sunday for the work of the ministry.
(1) The gathering is to be co-ordinated by church leaders either they are called elders, pastors, Levites or labourers. The purpose of gathering the offering is to run the activities of the church.
(2) Claiming only Levite and not pastors can gather tithes and offerings from the congregation is like claiming that the Bible is only writing to the Jews only or saying that Paul’s writing is directed only to Timothy. We can then say that every church should stop following Bible instructions or that church leaders should stop reading “Pauline Charge” for ordination (2 Tim 4:1-5). That is too simplistic!
Conclusion: We are peculiar people. We are His Temple (1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Ephesians 2:22) and His priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). We are peculiar people, called out of the darkness of the world into His marvellous light. There is no more demarcation or separation among the body of Christ. We are all one in Jesus Christ.
10) GOD DOES NOT LIVE IN A HOUSE, SO WHERE DO I GIVE MY TITHE?
But you are to seek the place the Lord your God will choose from among all your tribes to put his Name there for his dwelling. To that place you must go; 6 there bring your burnt offerings and sacrifices, your tithes and special gifts, what you have vowed to give and your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks. 7 There, in the presence of the Lord your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the Lord your God has blessed you. Deuteronomy 12:5-7 (NIV)
Was God living inside a house before?
God does not live in house but we do. Some might still say, “Where is it written in the Bible that tithe must be given to the local church you attend?” Why wouldn’t you give your house rent to another landlord? Will you have preferred to eat in one restaurant and pay to another?
(1) Bible expects us to use our common sense also in worshipping God Common sense dictates that you contribute to the local church that is providing for your spiritual well-being. That is same common sense that decides that you be paid salary for the work you do and that the money not be paid to another person. So tithing is not written in New Testament? Is paying your house rent to your Landlord or paying restaurant where you buy food written? Many of the pastors are graduates and have families and responsibilities. Do they have the right to earn salary from the Church they work so they can take care of their family like you are taking care of yours (1 Cor. 9:3-8; 1 Timothy 5:18)? If footballers, entertainers, comedians and you deserve salary, why not your pastors and other church workers who devote their lives to delivering, healing, saving, teaching and helping others? It is common sense that every labourer deserves his wage.
(2) Every believer belongs to a local church, same way every man belongs to a biological family
No believer is expected to live a loner's life. We all belong to the Body of Christ and must find our place there so we may be well fed, live accountably and be ably supported in our walk and work for the Lord (Hebrews 10:25). Building and maintaining a house for believers to gather is natural, normal and done from Old Testament day till the present day for the well-being of God’s people- accommodation, administration, organisation etc. Contributing financially to the upkeep of such a place is therefore an expected responsibility of every believer.
(3) Maturity demands taking responsibility for the continuity of your spiritual family
It is a responsible conduct to contribute your tithes, offering, vows and other kingdom investments into your local church for the furtherance of her services. Your Church needs to pay her building bills, pastors’ salary, administrators, cleaners, expenses, conferences etc.
Tithes are to be used by the church authority, to take care of widows, the helpless, and to maintain services in the house of God. People that are working in the ministry have to be paid and the organisation has to be run. .
Conclusion: It's important that you give your tithe to the church that feeds you spiritually. If you're a church member, you should honour your own church with consistent financial support, since membership entails responsibilities as well as privileges. You can give alms to orphanage and the poor anywhere but you need to take your tithes to your local church.
11) SHOULD I TITHE WHILE IN DEBT?
Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. 43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything - all she had to live on. Mark 12:41-44 (NIV)
Jesus watched the poor widow gave her last two copper coins and did not stop her.
Can you imagine Jesus Christ paying attention to people and how much they were putting into the offering bowl? He is still doing it today. The reason is because people’s giving lifestyle says a lot about their faith, trust and obedience to God.
(1) It is a matter of heart. Jesus Christ did not stop the widow from giving all her money because He knew that “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:21).” The widow was richer to God than all the rich people giving from their surplus wealth.
(2) It really all comes down to trust. The widows gave it all out trusting God to be her Source.
Do you trust that God will truly supply all of your needs according to His own riches in glory or do you just trust in your own ability and plans? That will determine if you honour God with your tithes even in your needy situation. Giving money to the work of the Lord while you are broke is a proof of trust in the Lord (Proverbs 3:5, 6).
(3) It is a matter of obedience. Do you believe in honouring God at all times and in all situations or your obedience is situational? Does your plan include God or exclude Him? Are you selfishly balancing your personal account watching for your personal family and business legacy while you betray your Church and leave keeping God’s legacy to the few mature and committed members of your church? Some people actually ignored the house of the Lord while building their personal legacies and God was not happy with them (Haggai 1). May God stir up obedience in your heart so you can join the blessed hands joyfully building the House of the Lord.
(4) It is a matter of faith. The righteous is expected to live by faith and not by sight or logic.
It takes real faith to give your tithes and offering while you are in lack or debt yet it is your faith in giving that God will use to take you out of your debt, not your lifestyle of unbelief. If you do not have faith to sow, you will never have the grace to receive harvest. The Bible says, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you (Luke 6:38)." The only way the enemy can rob you of harvest is to deny you from sowing. The only way to harvest love, care, friendship, wealth, joy etc. in your life is to sow it. Give and it shall be given unto you!
As long as the earth endures, seed-time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease (Genesis 8:22).
Conclusion: Poverty is no excuse not to give. Bible does not only encourage cheerful givers. It also encourages sacrificial givers, “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them." (Ps. 126:5-6)
12) IS GIVING TO THE POOR THE RIGHT WAY TO TITHE?
Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done. Prov. 19:17
But you are to seek the place the Lord your God will choose from among all your tribes to put his Name there for his dwelling. To that place you must go; 6 there bring your burnt offerings and sacrifices, your tithes and special gifts, what you have vowed to give and your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks. Deuteronomy 12:5-10 (NIV)
It is a good thing to give to the poor. However, giving to the poor is not a correct way to tithe, same way giving to the poor is not the correct way to pay your tax to government or rent to your landlord. We give tithe to God to honour Him as our Source. You can not pay Him tithe since it is already His (Psalm 24:1), you can only give Him back some of what He has given you. The only right way to give your tithe to God is to give it to the local church where you are spiritually fed.
(1) Giving to the poor is one way of giving to God among many . It is not the only way!
a) Supporting the minister of gospel is another way. "Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person's reward (Matt 10:41)".
b) Supporting the work of God is another. "After this, Jesus travelled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, 2 and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; 3 Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod's household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means (Luke 8:1-3)".
(2) Giving to the poor is not a substitute or replacement to giving to God
People were fast to condemn Mary when she poured an expensive perfume on Jesus Christ. For them, she should rather have used the money to feed the poor. "Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected. 5 "Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year's wages." 6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it (John 12: 3-6).” The all-knowing Jesus refused to condemn Mary. Rather He said, "Leave her alone," Jesus replied. "It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 9 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me (John 12:7-8)." Every giving is unique and purposeful so long it is given from a cheerful heart.
(3) Giving to the poor is not a substitute or alternative to tithing. Jesus taught people to be a responsible giver. You should not make your giving at the expense of the rightful receiver. "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and to God the things that are God's" (Matthew 22:21). As much as it is a good thing to give to the poor, that should not be done at the expense of others. It should be done from your personal money, not from God’s money that is placed under your stewardship. It is an act of irresponsibility to use God’s money placed in your care for your personal alms. You should offer sacrifice from your own personal resources. If you do not feel the pain, I doubt if it is a sacrifice or if it is ever done in faith!
Conclusion: Give to the poor what belongs to the poor (alms) and Give to God what belongs to God (tithe & offering). It is wrong to use your tithe to feed your family, friends or the poor. Why wouldn’t you use your government tax or landlord rent to feed the poor or take care of your family? It is an abuse of responsibility and misplacement of importance. By refusing to pay your tithe to your local church, you are sabotaging the service of your church. Tithes are to be used by the church authority, to take care of widows, the helpless, and to maintain services in the house of God. People that are working in the ministry have to be paid and the organisation has to be run.
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. Eccl. 12:13-14
The conclusion of the whole matter is to love God by obeying His instructions (John 14:15).
We should only be giving to the Lord from a heart, filled with love and understanding.
Like it was with Abraham, we should intentionally attract the blessing of God through our giving.
If you want Abraham's blessings, then you need Abraham's lifestyle of addictive giving!
"Abraham's blessings are mine" should be more than a song. It should be your lifestyle.
And if we obey God out of love and adoration, it can never be burdensome for us.
God is a gracious Lover and a wonderful Giver. Our obedience to His instructions is for our good. The reward of loving God is amazingly great. As it is written, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him (1 Corinthians 2:9).”
This “Q &A” has taped into the light of the Word of God to put wrong conceptions about tithing into the trashcan of history where it belongs. The revelation here is for your elevation.
Remember, it takes obedience to eat the goodness of the Land (Isaiah 1:19).
May your obedience to God cause you to enjoy the goodness of God flowing in the “Promised land” that your Lord has given you. Amen.
In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome. 1 John 5:3
“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." 1 Corinthians 2:9