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Does God require me to give a tithe of all I earn?

Two kinds of giving are taught consistently throughout Scripture: giving to the government (always compulsory), and giving to God (always voluntary).

The issue has been greatly confused, however, by some who misunderstand the nature of the Old Testament tithes. Tithes were not primarily gifts to God, but taxes for funding the national budget in Israel.

Because Israel was a theocracy, the Levitical priests acted as the civil government. So the Levite's tithe  Leviticus 27:30-33  was a precursor to today's income tax, as was a second annual tithe required by God to fund a national festival Deuteronomy  14:22-29  Smaller taxes were also imposed on the people by the law Leviticus 19:9-10 Exodus 23:10-11  So the total giving required of the Israelites was not 10 percent, but well over 20 percent. All that money was used to operate the nation.

All giving apart from that required to run the government was purely voluntary (cf. 1 Chronicles 29-9 Exodus 25:2-1Each person gave whatever was in his heart to give; no percentage or amount was specified.

New Testament believers are never commanded to tithe.  Matthew 22:15-22 and Romans 13:1-7   tell us about the only required giving in the church age, which is the paying of taxes to the government. Interestingly enough, we in America presently pay between 20 and 30 percent of our income to the government--a figure very similar to the requirement under the theocracy of Israel.

The guideline for our giving to God and His work is found in 2 Corinthians 9:6-72  "Now this I say, he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully. Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver."
Again, you have in Luke 18:12 another reference to tithing and this is the only other mention of it in the gospels at all. 
 
 There is no exacting of the tithe on the church anywhere in the New Testament.  It is never required of the church.  It is always in reference to Israel's economy in the gospels and in the book of Hebrews it is only mentioned in reference to Melchiezedek and Abraham way back in the book of Genesis.  It has no bearing on the church at all.  

Point number one, giving is investing with God.  Giving is investing with God.  Luke 6:38, now this is a terrific verse.  Luke 6:38,.  "Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust doth corrupt and thieves break through and steal.  But "Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust is corrupt and where thieves do not break through nor steal, for where your treasure there will your heart be also."

Principle number two Giving is to be sacrificialGiving is to be sacrificial.  It isn't the amount, it's just what it cost you to give it.  Look at Mark 12:41.  And I know you're already running ahead of me.  Mark 12:41In Hebrews 13:16, it says, "But to do good and to share," that is to share your money, your possessions, don't forget.  Listen, "for with such sacrifices God is well pleased."  What pleases God in giving is sacrifice.  Sacrifice

Principle number 3, giving is not a matter of what you have.  Now, people always say if I only had more I would give more.  No, that isn't it.  I read about a farmer who the preacher came to see the farmer and he says, "hey there farmer," he says, "if you have $200.00 would you give $100.00 of it to the Lord."  He said, "I would."  He said, "If you had two cows, would you give one of them to the Lord."  He said, "I would."  He said, "If you had two pigs, would you give one of them to the Lord?"  He said, "Now that isn't fair, you know I have two pigs." 

Now go to Luke 16:10 and let me show you this principle in the Word of God.  It isn't how much you have.  You know, and we all have done that, haven't we?  If I had more oh I wish I could give more.  I wish I had more.  It's proportionate giving.  You may give more an amount, but you may not give more in proportion and it's proportion that God is after.

Principle 4, giving affects spiritual riches.  Stay right there in Luke 16.  This one of the most sobering statements in regard to giving anywhere in the Scripture.  Luke 16:11, "If therefore you have not been faithful in the unrighteous money," and money isn't righteous is it?  Money's just neutral, "who will commit to your trust the true riches?"  Boy is that ever potent.

If you can't handle money, which is earthly riches, do you think God is going to give you spiritual riches to handle.  Now listen to what I'm saying.  If you don't handle money wisely, you will never be given spiritual responsibility, that's what He's saying.

Number five, now this is so important.  Giving amounts are personally determined.  And for this, you look at Luke 19.  And this is a story that I remember so vividly from when I was a little kid.  Remember the story about the guy in the tree named  Zacchaeus?  Everybody remembers that.  One of the funny stories in the Bible, humorous.  Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.  And behold there was man named Zacchaeus who was the chief among the tax collectors, which of course, made him like the kiss of death.  Everybody avoided him, and he was rich.  And of course, he was rich, because he could exact any amount of taxes that he wanted.

Number six.  Giving is also to be in response to need.  And I'll just mention this, it is true that giving is to be spontaneous and voluntary just pouring out of a loving, thankful heart, but giving also in the New Testament is to be response to need.

For example, in Acts 2:43 to 47 there were Christians, remember, at the time of Pentecost that had need.  And it says there that they were selling and parting with things and were holding things in common.  In other words, they were sharing their goods with those who had need. 

Number seven Giving is to demonstrate love and not law.  Giving is to demonstrate love, not law.  2 Corinthians 8, I'm going to skip along a little bit here.  Look at 2 Corinthians 8:8 and 9.  Love, not law, not a system of law that you're under.  "I speak not by commandments."  Now did you get that?  This is not a legal system.  This is not a prescription for percentage.  "I speak not by commandments, but by occasion of the earnestness of others and to prove the sincerity of your," what, "of your love."

I'm telling you all this information about giving which dominates this chapter, "not by way of a command, but simply as a test of your love."  Oh that's good isn't it? Giving is a test of your love. "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that though He was rich for your sakes He became poor that you through His poverty might be rich."  You know the pattern.  You know the example love gives everything.

Number eight,   Giving is to be planned.  1 Corinthians 16:1, Now here was Paul's plan, he gave it to the churches in Galatia, all of them.  He gave it to the Corinthian church here.  "This is my plan," he says, in verse 1 for taking the offering.  Verse 2, "Upon the first day of the week," that's today, the Lord's day, "let everyone of you lay by him in store."  Every Christian, you say well I don't give money, I give my talent. 

Well, I don't give money I give my time or I give my mind, my thoughts, my ideas.  No, no, no, that doesn't teach you stewardship of your money.  No every one of you, you lay by and store.  That is the store may be your place it in the budget of the church.  It may be that you have a special bank account you deposit it there so that you have a reservoir out of which to meet needs, but weekly preparing in your heart, you lay it in store as God has prospered.  That means proportionately on a percentage basis.  "That there be no gatherings when I come." 

Number nine and just briefly, giving is to be generous. This is a New Testament principle.  In 2 Corinthians Chapter 8 verse 2, he says, "Their deep poverty abounded under the riches of their liberality."  They were poor, but they gave generously.  Chapter 9, verses 5 and 6, you'll notice the word "bounty."  And again, the word bounty and again in verse 6 bountifully, bountifully.  Now that word means liberally, generosity is the idea. Giving is to be generous, sacrificial. 

In Philippians Chapter 4, the Apostle Paul was so grateful for the generosity of the Philippian church.  He says, "I rejoice greatly that now at the last your care of me has flourished again and you were mindful of me, not though I need things," he says.  "The Lord meets my needs, but I'm so thankful for what you've given me."  He says, "In return for what you've given me," and this leads us to the last point, "my God shall supply all," what, "your needs according to his riches."  That's ten.

 

Acts 20: 35 And I have been a constant example of how you can help the poor by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Acts 6:38 If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving—large or small—it will be used to measure what is given back to you.”

Proverbs 3: 9 Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything your land produces. 10 Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with the finest wine.

Proverbs 22:9 Blessed are those who are generous, because they feed the poor.

Proverbs 19:17 If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord—and he will repay you!

Proverbs 11: 24 It is possible to give freely and become more wealthy, but those who are stingy will lose everything.

25 The generous prosper and are satisfied; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.

Deuteronomy 24: 19 “When you are harvesting your crops and forget to bring in a bundle of grain from your field, don’t go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. Then the Lord your God will bless you in all you do.

2 Corinthians 9: 6 Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. 7 You must each make up your own mind as to how much you should give. Don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves the person who gives cheerfully. 8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. 9 As the Scriptures say,

Matthew 6: 25 “So I tell you, don’t worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food, drink, and clothes. Doesn’t life consist of more than food and clothing?

31 “So don’t worry about having enough food or drink or clothing. 32 Why be like the pagans who are so deeply concerned about these things? Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, 33 and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.

Matthew 23"

 “How terrible it will be for you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest part of your income,* but you ignore the important things of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but you should not leave undone the more important things.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
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