This is a question I get all the time. The area of finances is one that is so personal. It’s so confusing to many. And many times, people just haven’t had good, solid, Biblical perspective given to them on tithing. Here’s some thoughts on tithing to help answer questions from God’s Word about tithing.
I’ve also included some great resources that will help if you want to dig deeper. This one’s a bit long, but I think that our finances are a great indicator of our trust in God. If we can learn faithfulness in our finances, it allows us to practically SHOW our trust in God.
I’m going to split this up with some bullet points to make it a bit easier to digest.
__ Tithing is an Old Testament principle that carries over into the New Testament times (now)
__ Malachi 3:6-12 talks about the tithe (by definition, “tithe” literally means 10 percent:
**Malachi 3:6-12 – 6 “I am the Lord, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed. 7 Ever since the days of your ancestors, you have scorned my decrees and failed to obey them. Now return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “But you ask, ‘How can we return when we have never gone away?’ 8 “Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me! “But you ask, ‘What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you?’
“You have cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me. 9 You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating me. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test! 11 Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them from insects and disease. Your grapes will not fall from the vine before they are ripe,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 12 “Then all nations will call you blessed, for your land will be such a delight,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
__ This is the part that refers to the local church (verse 10) when it says “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple.” Tithes back in the OT were given with the first 10%…the best…of the animals and food that was grown. Bringing it into the storehouse (the Temple) was our version of the local church.
__ As you can see…God clearly describes that there is a blessing – and a curse – that comes along with aligning our finances (or not). Quite simply, we fall under God’s blessing when we honor him with the firstfruits of our “harvest” (our income). When we do not honor him, we are outside of that Bibilical blessing.
**Exodus 23:19 – The first of the firstfruits of your land you shall bring into the house of the LORD your God. (another reference to the first 10% of our income being given to the “house of the Lord.”)
**Proverbs 3:9-10 – Honor the Lord with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase; So your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.
__The Apostle Paul talks about the importance of the FIRST fruits being given to the Lord…that the beginning has direct impact on the things that follow:
**Romans 11:16 – For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches.
__ When we give to God FIRST, it is placing your trust in God, rather than our ability to “make things work.” That’s why the first of our income is supposed to go to God. The first part of our income that we give to the Lord’s house redeems the rest of our income and opens God’s blessings in our finances.
__ Jesus refers to tithing in Luke 11:42, but he actually makes it seem like an elementary part of our faith that should be followed. As Jesus is correcting the religious leaders of the day for their behavior, he mentions that tithing is a principle that should be followed:
vs. 42 “What sorrow awaits you Pharisees! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore justice and the love of God. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.
__ I would really encourage you to pick up a copy of “The Blessed Life” by Robert Morris. Kind of a corny title to a book, but it’s the best, most clearly laid out description of tithing and the blessing that comes along with it that I’ve ever come across.
__ Also… here is a link to a sermon on tithing that might be helpful. It’s from a pastor in Washington, DC that I respect, Mark Batterson:
I’ll end with one last thought…Malachi 3:10 actually challenges us to “put God to the test.” There’s not many places in the Bible that say that, but it specifically says that there. I believe that God allows us to test him because the principle of tithing the first 10% of our income places our trust in him. And when we place our trust in him, he WILL NOT fail us.
I promise you this…if you allow God into your finances, you won’t regret it.