Tithing

Tithing

 

      What does the word tithe mean? If you look it up in the dictionary, it will say one tenth. The bible also gives us the same meaning. In Genesis 14:20, Abraham gave tithes of ‘all’ to Melchisedec. In Hebrews 7:2, the writer says that Abraham gave a tenth part of all to Melchisedec. Verse 4 tells us that all is ‘the spoils’. In verse 6, the writer says that Melchisedec received tithes of Abraham. So you see, the bible uses the words ‘tithe’ and ‘one tenth’ as meaning the same thing. So many Christians today think that tithing is from Old Testament law and it’s like a dirty word. You can see that it started long before the law was given. It was approximately 420 years prior to the law. If you go back further to Cain and Abel, in Genesis 4:2-5, Abel was a keeper of sheep and Cain was a tiller of the ground. Cain brought of the fruit of the ground as an offering and Abel brought the firstlings of his flock. Notice the difference between the 2 offerings. It has nothing to do with whether or not it was animal or vegetable. Abel brought the firstling, the first born, the firstfruit of his flock for an offering. Cain brought just the fruit of the ground, not the firstfruit. His offering was not of the best. This shows that they were giving back to God part of what God gave to them. Cain’s offering was rejected because it was not his best, not because it was not a blood sacrifice for sin. Look at Numbers 18:17 and you will see that Abel’s offering was not for sin either. Also, there is nowhere in scripture that says a first-born animal had to be sacrificed for sin. The only requirement was that it was ‘without blemish’.

      The words tithe or tenth are not mentioned here, but don’t you think that God had to tell them about giving. It must be the same amount as He specifies later on. The bible teaches us that God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, so why not in giving. Tithing is God’s plan for the economy of His church and His people. Do you really believe that God would allow us to choose what we want to give for the economy of His church? NO WAY! The only choice we have is to do it His way or our way. God is very specific in what we give and where it is to go, the storehouse or the treasury. What is the storehouse or the treasury? For us today, it is the local church. Not any church, but the church we belong to. Whatever church we join and are a member of, that is the one we belong to and it is called the local church.

      Look at Malachi. He’s the last prophet in the Old Testament. The next prophet you hear is John the Baptist in the New Testament. In Malachi 3:8, a question is asked by God, “will a man rob God”? God answers that question with “yet ye have robbed Me”. Israel asks, “How have we robbed You”? God’s answer is, “in tithes and offerings”. In verse 10, God says, “bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse”. In those days the tithe was animals and produce, but today it is usually money. Why bring the tithe to the church, (storehouse)? There are salaries to be paid, literature to be bought, ministries to maintain, upkeep of the property and so much more. Without finances a church will die. The tithe is God’s money and we have to do what He says to do with it. Everything that we have comes from God and all that He requires from us is the tithe. If we are led to give more, that is an offering and that’s good. We may be led to give to a TV ministry or an evangelist or even a family in need, but if we are led, God is telling us to give that out of our money, not His, (the tithe). These gifts that we mail out to ministries are the ones we should check up on to make sure they are using those gifts in a right way.

      Abraham thought that the tithe was important; therefore he gave it to Melchisedec. Because God thought it was important, He made it a law for Israel. We know that Jesus thought it was important because we are told in 3 gospels that Jesus told the Pharisees, Herodians, the people and His disciples to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s. The 3 gospels are Matthew 22:15-22, Mark 12:13-17 and Luke 20:19-26. Jesus did not have to explain to them how much the taxes were because they already knew what they were and He did not have to explain to them what belonged to God because they already knew that also. Those words all came from Jesus and we should accept them as commands from Him. He does not say we should render as a suggestion, but render as a command. Matthew 28:18-20 is considered the ‘great commission’. In verses 19-20 Jesus says for us to “teach all nations”, (make Christians of them), “baptizing them”, and “teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you”. Jesus left a lot of commands with us and giving is one of them.

      I have heard people say, “I don’t like what the church is doing with my money”. That’s not our problem. Our problem is in giving. The bible says YOU give. Once we have given, we have done what God has told us to do. Then God will say, “Well done thou good and faithful servant. You are a good steward”. Once we have put the tithe where God has said to put it, the problem becomes God’s. He will require the leaders of the church who are in charge of finances to be responsible for how the funds are distributed. I was a treasurer for many years and I took the responsibility of distributing those funds very seriously. As a tither, I no longer have any responsibility for how the money that I give is used. As a treasurer, I and a few others who were in charge did. If every Christian would just tithe to their respective churches, there would never be any financial difficulties in any church, such as building loans or any other kind of loans. Solomon, in his wisdom, says in Proverbs 3:9-10, to “honor the Lord with our substance and with the firstfruits of our increase and our barns will be full and our presses will burst with new wine”.

      What he means today, is to give of the firstfruits, (gross pay), and our cabinets and refrigerators will be filled and our needs met. He also says in Proverbs 11:24, that “those who give freely and abundantly for some reason gain more and those that withhold, thinking that they will have more, tend to poverty; in other words have less. Solomon is just showing us both sides of the coin. The more we give, the more we will have and the less we give, the less we will have. I’ve heard many Christians say, when talking about God, “My Father is rich. He has cattle on a thousand hills”. That is a true saying and it comes from Psalm 50:10. Verse 12 says it better; “for the world is mine and the fullness thereof”. The best thing for us to do is to read all of Psalm 50 to get the full meaning. God also tells Job in Job 41:11, “whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine”. God doesn’t need our money but He knows that WE need to give it. We have to remember that everything that we have, God has given to us and all that He requires from us is the tenth.

      So many Christians say that tithing is under the Old Testament law and that they, as Christians, are under the grace of the New Testament. I’m going to show you 2 incidents of New Testament giving. The ‘widow’s mite’ in Mark 12:41-44 and Luke 21:1-4 is one incident. Jesus commends her for her giving. She gave out of her poverty all that she had. When we give the tenth, we are giving out of our abundance. Don’t say that she is Old Testament or under the law. Jesus is using her as an example to teach His disciples and us what true giving is all about. The other incident is in Acts 4:31-37. Read through those verses slowly and you will see that they were all in one accord, (the disciples), and it was not just Barnabas who sold his property and gave the money to the apostles. Verses 34-35 say, “for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold and laid them down at the apostles’ feet. Distribution was made unto every man according as he had need”. I want you to notice that the money is brought to the leaders of the church for them to distribute. These 2 incidents are examples of New Testament giving and if you want to do that, no one will try to talk you out of it.

      So much of Christianity today is like the 2 persons in the very next chapter. Ananias and Sapphira wanted to look good to the church by selling their property but they lied about the amount received. They said they were giving all, but were only giving part of the sale price. That’s how so many Christians are today. They talk a good one, but they do not do. In other words, they say they tithe, but they do not.

      I want to talk about one more thing on giving. It has nothing to do with the tithe, but just with giving. Many Christians fast every day and they have a lot of questions about fasting. Isaiah 58:3-6 talks about fasting. Each individual fasts for his or her own reasons, so I’m not getting into that. Isaiah talks about that in verses 3-6, but in verse 7 he says, “is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry”. In other words, to share our food with those who are in need of food. How can we do that today? I’ve never heard of anyone who fasted, going out and bringing a beggar out of the street and sitting them down at their table to eat the food that they would have eaten if they had not fasted. Most people who fast don’t even cook. I have a way that we can abide by what Isaiah said. This is for each individual. Figure out how much it cost for each meal that you miss and add them up for that day. Multiply that times the amount of days that you fast in a month and that’s how much you give. I’ll give you an example. A person eats 1 meal a day and fasts 2 times a week and the meals average out to fewer than $6.00. That would be $12.00 a week. If you do it monthly, it would be 4 or 5 times $12.00. If you do it quarterly, it’s 13 times $12.00. Where do you put this money? The church I belong to has a soup kitchen that feeds those in need. You can give it to your church if they have a soup kitchen or give it to whoever serves meals to the needy for free. This is just for the person that is fasting, not for the whole family unless the whole family is fasting. Don’t be like the Pharisees either; you don’t need to consider salt and pepper and such things. Round it out to an even number and then give it at the end of each month or 2 or 3. Again this has nothing to do with the tithe, it’s an offering.           

 

     

Bill Gauthier

 

    Any Questions/Comments??? Call Me @ 860-443-6531

Category: UNCLE BILL
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

Comments are closed.