• Understanding The Tithe

  • Scripture records a second kind of tithing that Jesus Himself condemned which we refer to as “tithing as legalism”. The Jewish leaders had taken the covenant tithe and perverted it with self-righteousness and greed (Matthew 23:23-24). They had turned the blessing of giving into a burden.
    We as Jesus followers today are not bound by Mosaic Law. We also stand with Christ against the burden of legalism in religion. Given this, it may seem that using the Scriptural “tithe” may not be an appropriate model of giving for today’s believer.
    There is however a third principle of giving called “tithing as worship” that predates the Old Testament Law. It began when Abraham gave a tenth of his plunder to the priest of God, Melchizedek (Genesis 28:10-22). The tradition continued through Jacob who pledged a full tenth of everything to God after He had revealed Himself to the patriarch in a dream.
    While certainly not a requirement for any believer, the act of tithing as worship is still Scripturally sound today. While introduced in the Old Testament, tithing was never abolished in the New Testament. Hebrews 7:1-10 actually defines the significance of Abraham’s worship. It is an act that acknowledges God as God, declares our allegiance to Him and expresses the thanksgiving in our hearts. Please understand that while tithing is still relevant today and can be used as a benchmark for giving, tithing as worship is not about a percentage or an amount. It is about the overflow of one’s heart. Before we can give a penny to the Lord and have Him receive it, we must first give ourselves to Him. This is beautifully exemplified by the body of Christ in Macedonia during the 1st century:
    Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, what God in His kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia. They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity. For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will. They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem. They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do. - 2 Corinthians 8:1-5 NLT