Tithing: is it still relevant today?
Back in November 2011 I posted “to tithe or not to tithe?” on the blog. It drummed up a pretty good discussion, and even caused a few people at the church I used to attend to get a little self-defensive over the issue.
“Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 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 3:8-10
Back in the Old Testament a “storehouse” was a place where the “tithe” was stored. The tithe back then was usually produce (food such as veggies and grains, etc). The storehouse was used for 4 main purposes:
- to feed the priests and the tribe of Levi
- to feed the prophets
- to feed the Jewish widows and fatherless living in the city
- to feed the Gentile widows and fatherless living in/around the city
We see in Nehemiah (12:44-45, 13:5,13) that the priests were responsible for distributing the tithes to those in need of it.
While there is no clear commandment for tithing in the New Testament, we still see references to it which means Jesus Christ did not repeal the command to tithe.
While we no longer have buildings that we refer to as “storehouses,” the 4 purposes of the storehouse mentioned above remind me of a building we still do have around today… the church.
If we compare the Old Testament storehouse to the New Testament churches and also the local churches of today, we see the 4 main purposes of the church to provide for:
- the pastor and the staff
- missionaries and evangelists
- the widows, fatherless, and physically-disabled
- the surrounding unsaved people
Since we no longer have priests that care for us, that would mean the responsibility rests upon the pastoral staff of the church to ensure the tithes are being distributed to where they need to go.
Can I use it for ____________?
I’ve heard many people say things like “well, I serve in various ministries here and there, so instead of giving 10% of my income, I’m giving 10% (or more) of my time.”
Or some people say, “I’m not attending a church anywhere… so I’ll just give my tithe to my favorite charities, or donate it to non-profit organizations.”
Or I’ve even heard the following: “Since my kid is enrolled in a Christian school and the tuition is pretty expensive, I’ll just give my 10% tithe to the school to help lighten the financial load. After all, by investing my tithe there it’s helping my child get a Christian education, and who knows – maybe he’ll grow up to be a preacher someday. That definitely counts for something.”
The only problem is that I can’t find any verses in Scripture that support any of those ideas. We need to be careful to not pervert the use of the tithe into what we think is acceptable.
How should I give my tithe?
Plain and simple – if you’re going to tithe, do it with a good attitude. Otherwise, what’s the point? Giving 10% of your income as a tithe isn’t something you do just to check off a box on the “I’m a good Christian if…” list.
“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” – II Corinthians 9:7
By the way, nothing says you can’t give more than the 10% — you’re allowed to give more, and if that’s something that the Lord leads you to do He will surely bless you for your faithful and joyful giving.
The Windows of Heaven.
This point is something additional that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.
In Malachi 3:10 it says: “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.”
There’s only one other place in the Bible where it talks about the “windows of heaven” being opened and that’s in Genesis 7.
“In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.” – Genesis 7:11-12
The only other time God ever mentions the “windows of heaven” being opened was when there was a flood that covered the entire world.
God promises to open the “windows of heaven and pour…out a blessing” upon us if we are faithful in our tithing.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be flooded with the blessings of God!
Posted on October 23, 2012, in Doctrines of the Faith and tagged Church, Doctrine, Doctrines of the Faith, God's Blessings, King James Version, KJV, New Testament, Old Testament, Scripture, Storehouse, The Bible, Tithe, Tithing, Windows of Heaven. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.