A tithe is defined as ten percent of your income voluntarily paid as a contribution to a religious establishment.
A very popular, often quoted, scripture in regards to tithing says “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you such blessing, that there will not be room enough to receive it.” (Malachi 3:10).
In the Old Testament, God set a law in place that the first tenth of all their increase was to be brought and given to Him.
They had cattle, land, wheat, and fruit and vegetable harvests. A principle known as “first fruits” was how they lived.
The firstborn calf, or the first firstborn lamb, or the first harvested fruits were dedicated and set aside for God. In our modern economy, we have money. So, our “first fruits” becomes setting aside ten percent of our paycheck and earnings first, before we pay bills or spend on anything else.
But, isn’t tithing an Old Testament law and not required for believers in the New Testament?
Is God going to punish me if I don’t tithe?
Will I still go to Heaven if I don’t tithe?
As you study the teachings of Jesus, you learn that He spoke about money more than anything else. In our modern economy, money is not the root of all evil… but it is the “love of money” that is the root of all evil. Jesus teaches us that laying up treasures in Heaven, our willingness to return to God His set aside portion of our income, and giving to the poor, are much more beneficial than having large bank accounts. When we learn to return to God that portion that belongs to Him, we invest in His kingdom, we are promised that we will see Him operate greatly with the ninety percent we have left. When we refuse to return to Him the set aside ten percent, it doesn’t mean that He punishes us, but we are not following His principle of “first fruits” and therefore the results of His principles do not touch our lives either. So, no, He doesn’t “punish” us, but we cannot, and should not, expect the promised blessing of “pour out for you such blessing, that there will not be room enough to receive it”.
Isn’t tithing and giving the same thing?
Tithing is returning to God the portion that already belongs to Him, the ten percent. Giving is when you go above and beyond and take from your portion, the ninety percent, and give it. If your friend loans you their car for a week while your car is being worked on, and at the end of the week, you return the keys to your friend… you did not just “give” your friend a car. You returned to them what already belonged to them. If you take your own personal funds and go and buy your friend a car… that would be giving them a car. That is the difference between tithing and giving. Tithing returns to God the portion that is already His. Giving takes your portion and sows it into the Kingdom of God. Jesus said, “when you give…” in Matthew 6. He expected us to be willing to give.
Read John Chapter 10.