30 May Why You Should Stop Tithing Immediately
*Note: this is not an exhaustive study on Old Testament or New Testament giving. Readers should do further research prior to making decisions about their personal giving models. This is also not an excuse not to give or to give miserly.
What Was The Tithe?
Tithe means “ten percent.” In short, this was part of the Old Covenant Law. Those who were part of the covenant had to give 10 percent of their production (particularly livestock and crop). In fact, it is believed that multiple tithes were stacked, totaling up to roughly 23.3%!
What Is The New Testament Precedent On Giving?
You may be surprised to hear that there is no mention of the New Testament Church tithing. In fact, the only usage of the word tithe in the NT is used in a negative context when Jesus rebukes the Pharisees for the way in which they tithe (Mt 23:23, Lk 11:42)! We know from the context that they were being overly legalistic, giving exactly what they had to give. More importantly, in a separate passage, we discover that the hypocrites were giving for public recognition and praise (Mt 6:2). Their motives were wrong. It’s not that giving ten percent was frowned upon. Jesus was not attacking the Law. He was addressing the heart of the giver.
Though the NT Church did not mention tithing (giving ten percent), giving was foundational to their model. It is important to recognize that the expectations and standards in the New Covenant are actually considerably higher than those of the Old Covenant (see: the Sermon on the Mount). While the Law set parameters, the Holy Spirit guides to perfection! While the Old Covenant Law demanded ten percent, the New Covenant model produced a community of individuals who gave everything that they had. Listen to the picture painted in Acts 4:32-35.
“All the believers were of one heart and one soul, and no one said that what he possessed was his own. But to them all things were in common. With great power the apostles testified to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was on them all. There was no one among them who lacked, for all those who were owners of land or houses sold them, and brought the income from what was sold, and placed it at the apostles’ feet. And it was distributed to each according to his need.”
Do you see a pattern?
No, I do not believe Christians should tithe (give ten percent out of legal obligation). I believe we should give all of ourselves to God and His kingdom. After all, it is not ours to begin with. We are only temporary stewards of God’s resources. The great struggle of the Christian life is the continual willingness to release control – totally, with thanksgiving and joy. Second Corinthians 9:7-10 gives us the perfect picture of New Testament giving, “Let every man give according to the purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver. God is able to make all grace abound toward you, so that you, always having enough of everything, may abound to every good work. As it is written: ‘He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness remains forever.’ Now He who supplies seed to the sower and supplies bread for your food will also multiply your seed sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness.” Ten percent makes for a good initial boundary (in fact I believe there is something special about hitting that minimum marker), but we should not be giving out of compulsion or out of requirement. Givers are blessed both in their giving and in God’s response to the giver. Therefore, give and give cheerfully. Stop tithing and start trusting God with all that you are and all that you have!
WHAT DO YOU THINK? Should we be bound to the tithe or the unction of the Holy Spirit? Leave a comment below and share to get your friends in on the conversation.
For more like this, check out: IS THE CHURCH A BUILDING OR A PEOPLE?