“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10).
I read an article recently where the author boldly declared that tithing is not for today, even stating that churches which teach tithing are guilty of taking money from the disadvantaged! Others say that tithing is Old Testament and therefore not applicable to New Testament believers. But what does the Bible say?
Although tithing was incorporated in the Mosaic Law, it predated the Law by at least 430 years. Abraham paid tithes (Genesis 14:20), and so did Isaac (Genesis 28:22). Tithing is recognizing God’s ownership of all things and my responsibility of stewardship. If an important official came for dinner, we wouldn’t dare to serve yesterday’s leftovers, but that is precisely what we do to God by holding back our finances. Tithing teaches me to honor God and to put Him first.
“And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thy oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always” (Deuteronomy 14:23).
Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21). Wherever I put my money, that’s what becomes important to me. If I say, “Lord, I want to put You first in my life,” but I do not put Him first in my finances, that is a contradiction. Jesus also commended tithing in Matthew 23:23, saying it ought to be done.
To suggest that Christians today should do less under grace than Old Testament believers did under the law is also to say that Sinai is stronger than Calvary. Yet, the sad truth remains that only about 3% of churchgoers today practice tithing, or giving the first ten percent of their income to God.
Tithing is important because it provides the needed funds for God’s work to continue. It is equitable, because it is a percentage, not a flat amount. Without regular funding, churches are hampered in maintaining programs, staff, and evangelism, to name a few.
The truth is, we cannot afford not to tithe. As Dr. Billy Graham has said, “We have found in our own home, as have thousands of others, that God’s blessing upon the nine-tenths, when we tithe, helps it to go farther than ten-tenths without His blessing.”
When we honor the Lord by giving Him the firstfruits of all our increase (Proverbs 3:9-10), He promises to meet our needs and to abundantly bless us as well.