Free Money Finance Post on Tithing

by Rocket Finance

This is an essay that I wrote for Free Money Finance a couple of months ago. Since I was unable to import it in my move from Blogger, I decided to re-post it here. Let me know what you think.

I appreciate the challenge from Free Money Finance to tackle the issue of the tithe in an essay. I have enjoyed many of the posts relating to this topic and recognize that there are many viewpoints in this audience. I need to mention that those of you in this audience who do not believe in God and have a relationship with Jesus Christ will understand little of this discussion.

Let me stake out my position and practice first and then deal with the biblical principles relating to the tithe. I was taught that a tenth of my earnings belonged to God for as long as I can remember. I always tithed a tenth of my net “after tax” income until approximately 18 months ago, when I began to tithe a tenth of my gross. I hope to increase my tithe in the future. Furthermore, I believe that the tithe belongs to the local church.

In Psalm 112:1-9, we find some characteristics of a successful man: “How blessed is the man who fears the Lord… Wealth and riches shall be in his house. . .he is gracious and compassionate and righteous. . ..It is well with the man who is gracious and lends. . . he will maintain his cause in judgment. . .he has given freely to the poor. . . One of the marks of a righteous man or woman is the wise condition of their finances. Another translation states that this man “guides his affairs with discretion”. In other words, he is a good steward of his belongings. Good stewardship may allow us to acquire great wealth, but more importantly, it should enable us to help others. The Geneva Study Bible Commentary is instructive in clarifying the thought: “He shows what the fruit of mercy is, to lend freely and not for gain, and so to measure his doings that he may be able to help where need requires and not to bestow all on himself.” We are to work hard, save, and invest so that we will have the means by which to help those who are in need.

There are many truths to take from this passage, but there are two that relates to our discussion. First: the believer accumulates wealth so that he can be a blessing to others. Second: a wealthy person knows the condition of his finances. Just the simple exercise of figuring the tenth helps a person to exercise prudence in dealing with their finances. As G.I. Joe always said, “Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.” “Tithers” know their financial condition, therefore one who tithes tends to make better decisions with his or her money.

That said, nowhere in the New Testament do we find believers commanded to give a strict tenth of their income. The Old Testament that was written to Jews who were under the Law was very clear on this point. Today, the giving of our financial resources is an act of worship on the part of the believer. All we have belongs to Him – our time, our activities, our families, our energy – why should our finances be any different?

Here are the financial priorities of the believer:

  1. A regular, predetermined portion of our income belongs to the Lord. A tenth is a great place to start, but if you are convinced that God is honored with a 5th or 15th or 90th – you are free to make that decision. We are to plan to give. I Corinthians 16:2 says, “On the first day of every week, each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper…” II Corinthians 9:7 states that “Each one must do just as he has purposed in hi heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Furthermore, the tithe is not a financial investment -it is an investment in eternity and a chance to show our love for Christ. Do not make the mistake of giving the tithe because you think you will be repaid monetarily.
  2. The believer must set aside money for the future. This is also an act of worship, just as important as tithes and offerings. I Timothy 5:8 says, “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” This passage certainly has implications for insurance and investing so that one’s family is cared for. The believer who is the head of the household who does not make proper arrangements to care for his or her family in an emergency is a reproach against Christ.
  3. Take care of obligations: living expenses, debt, etc. I Thessalonians 4:11-12: “. . .Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.” Proper stewardship in meeting needs is an act of worship.
  4. Offerings – this is giving that is not necessarily planned or predetermined in advance. It is giving for the purpose of meeting the needs of others. Galatians 2:10, They only asked us [Paul and Barnabas] to remember the poor-the very thing I also was eager to do. II Corinthians 8:14, “At this present time your abundance being a supply for their need, so that their abundance also may become a supply for your need…”

Every area of the believer’s life is an opportunity for worship, from the way we treat our spouse and fellow man to how we keep our yard to how we obey the laws of our government. God has given us the ability to accumulate wealth. Nothing we have comes from our own efforts. II Timothy 6:17, “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.” Furthermore, even if God were to take away all of our physical blessings as in the story of Job, we are to continue to love Him and serve Him.

Yes, the tithe is not commanded or required by New Testament Scripture, but after what Christ has done for us, why would a believer settle for anything less?

  1. 2 Responses to “Free Money Finance Post on Tithing”

  2. By Russell Earl Kelly on Sep 2, 2007 | Reply

    You conclude with the statement “Why would a beleiver settle for anything less?” You draw your conclusion from three false assumptions. (1) That the Bbile required everybody to tithe and (2) that everybody in the Bible began their giving level at 10%. And *3) that the early church taught tithign before the 6th century AD. Fact: 16 of 16 texts which define the CONTENTS of the tithe only mention FOOD from inside Israel. Fact: only landowners and herdsmen were required to tithe. Fact: carpenters, fishermen, tent-makers, etc were never required to tithe. Fact: there is no commandment after Calvary for tithes from anybody.

    Last year an article appeared in the news about a church which disfellowwhipped a lady who could not tithe because of heart operations and medical bills. I suppose you think that everybody is blessed and can tithe. That is cruel and you probably want to curse them. Gues what! Galatians 3:10 places you under the curse of Malachi 3:9-10 because you ignore the Mosaic Law context of the blessings and curses of Neh 10:29 and Deut 26 to 28.

    Stop the foolishness. Give sacrificially to the best of your ability according to 2 Cor 9:7 and stop worrying about percentages. There is no glory in that approach per 2 Cor 3:10.

  3. By rocketc on Sep 2, 2007 | Reply

    If you read the post, you will find that I agree with you.

    My statement at the end is editorial not exegetical: the tenth is a great place to start and why not do as much as possible?

    While the New Testament does not mandate a certain percentage, it clearly endorses regular, planned giving. Furthermore, Scripture does not exempt those in difficult circumstances from giving. (see: Widow’s Mite)

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