We don’t need to tithe?
It is common for people at church to give one tenth of their income to God(to church). This act of giving a tenth is called tithing. But are we required to give tithe?
To give the conclusion already,
“No, you don’t need to tithe”
This statement will probably raise issues with some people. However, I want to state this as clearly as possible.
What is tithe?
We see tithing first in the book of Genesis of old testament. After his victory in battle, Abraham gives a tenth to Melchizedek the king-priest. Abraham gave, not because it was required of him to give by law, but by his own will.
When you move on to the book of Deuteronomy and Numbers of old testament, we see tithing in the laws for the Israelites. There are actually 3 types of tithes :
- Tithe for the Levites(Num.18:21)
The Levites had the privilege to serve God, but they did not own any land. Therefore they needed food from the other people to live. The people gave a tenth to support the Levites
- Tithe for the feasts(Deu.14:22-27)
God commanded the Israelites to keep a tenth of their harvest and put it aside. This was to be eaten during the celebrations to God, or was to be sold for money to purchase whatever was necessary during that time
- Tithe for the poor(Deu.14:28)
Every 3 years there was another tithe collection. This was to be distributed by the city to the poor and the needy
So if you wanted to keep to the tithe in the old testament, you would need to give 20-30% of your income.
Should we tithe?
So what about now? Do we need to keep the tithe as written in the old testament laws? In the new testament, Jesus has many teachings about money, but he never talks about tithing. Also, you will not find anywhere in the new testament about how much we should give.
We as Christians do not live by the old testament laws, but we live in freedom through God. Therefore we do not need to keep the laws. That is why I say “we don’t need to tithe”.
Then why do we still ask for tithe?
But why do churches urge us to give a tenth of our income? Where did this idea come from? Typically Malachi 3:10 is used to explain the need to give tithe. We see God urging us to tithe in this verse. But if you have a good look at the verses before and after this verse, we see that there is more. God is accusing the Israelites of robbing from God by not tithing according to the law, and God is urging the Israelites to trust in God and tithe.
As a Christian church, there are no clear scripture that tells us how much we should give. Therefore, saying “you need to give a tenth of your income” is not really Biblical at all.
What should Christians do?
So what should Christians do? Should we give?
I believe there are 2 important guidelines for us in 2 Corinthians 9:7 :
- Give according to how much YOU decide
Don’t give how much someone else told you to give, don’t try to give as much as everyone else, give according to how much you decide
- Give cheerfully
Don’t give un-cheerfully. Be cheerful when you do give. If you cannot be cheerful, stop and think about it
We have freedom in God, and my hope is that each one of us can choose freely on our own on how much we can give cheerfully!
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