There are many in the church today who teach and approve of the Tithe specifically for church organizations. But is this what God has commanded? Is this what was taught by the Apostles, to be required by Christians, in God’s Church? The answer, to the shock of some, is no. The Tithe is for the nation of Israel, the tribe of Levi, and primarily was paid in agriculture and livestock, not money.
God said, “To the Levites, I have given every tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service that they do, their service in the tent of meeting.” Numbers 18:21
“You shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year. And before the LORD your God, in the place that He will choose,” “At the end of every three years you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in the same year and lay it up within your towns. And the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance with you, and the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, who are within your towns, shall come and eat and be filled, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands that you do.” Deuteronomy 14:22-23,28-29
We are to give today, absolutely. But what we need to give, how much, and to who is not specifically laid out as a rule from the Lord unless you are an Israelite. You should give from a generous, loving, and compassionate heart to those in need. Especially to the poor, widow, and orphan. Not necessarily to the church organizations, but it can be to that too. But it should be as the Lord leads you.
Jesus said, “Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” Luke 6:30-31
If we were to look at Tithing historically, we find that encouraging people to give a tithe of money to the church was not introduced until the 6th century, and then it was forced on the people by the 8th century. In the 1st century, it was a free-will gift, just as Paul described.
The modern teaching of tithing 10% of your income to the church is a practice taught by men, not God. Though again, it is not wrong to give to your church but teaching that God requires it to your local church is. In many cases, it has been used and abused by leaders and pastors to gain wealth for themselves and for their religious organizations.
God has not commanded you to give 10% to your church. Jesus expounded on the principle of giving and said to sell your possessions and give to the poor. Which, for many, is far more than 10%. He also says nothing about giving to the church or to the leaders.
Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Matthew 19:21
Jesus said, “Thus when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:2-4
Some of the charades that go on in the churches of this age regarding the tithe and giving are downright despicable. The vast wealth, luxury, and grandiose behavior of those in leadership in large to mega-churches are reprehensible. I assure you, God is revolted by their wicked hearts and their judgment is at hand.
The point is this, it is good for a Christian to give to the LORD’S work. Cheerfully, generously, and without bounds, they should give as the Lord leads. Not by following the teachings or commandments given by men.
Do you understand that because of these modern teachings the church organizations, pastors, and leaders of this age are robbing the people of their income? They are stealing their last pennies, in some cases, when all they can do is scrape by. They are giving and holding out hope that God will shower them financially. Because that was what they have been promised.
Most importantly church leaders are robbing God by forcing the tithe, calling it sin if they do not give, and promising them many things that will not come true. This is what God means when He says, “Will man rob God?” “for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you.” Malachi 3:8,9
While they buy luxurious homes, construct expensive buildings, and live above the people, not lifting a single finger to help those they were supposed to be helping. They feed themselves, disregarding the poor, and God’s precepts. I am not just talking about the prosperity preachers but about a large portion of leaders great and small leading the people astray.
These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever. Jude 1:12-13
They may do good works, but it is not to serve God and the people. It is to be seen by men. Jesus rebuked the Pharisee and in the same way, He rebukes the wicked religious leader of this age.
“The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.”
“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.” Mathew 23:2-4,14-15
This applies to all people in the Lord’s church. He is not pleased with the behavior of these shepherds who steal and teach falsely. He calls for them to repent and turn from their evil ways. To truly take up the lowly position of the shepherd. To do good and not evil, to help the poor and helpless. To serve and not to be served.
To you, God’s servants, turn and listen to the Lord. Give with open hands and a full heart to those in need. Spread wide your arms to help the poor according to what God has directed you. Give generously above and beyond what you think is possible, not for the tithe, but to help those who suffer. Because that is where God’s heart is, for the lowly. In so doing, you will build up treasures in heaven that are beyond compare to anything we could hold onto here.
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written, “He has distributed freely, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.” 2 Cor 9:7-9