A lot of people in the house of God are faced with this question: How should I give to God? They are genuine and really do want to give but they just do not know how. Is it how much one gives that makes him/her a good Christian? Is there a standard figure in amount? Is it a once in a while deal? Really, how should I give to God?
There are several scriptures which will help us answer those questions and after reading through them, I believe that we shall be better equipped.
The practice of giving a tithe to God began with Abraham about 500 years before the Law.
And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all. – Genesis 14:20
It was followed by Jacob vowing to give God a tithe. He made a pillar to be God’s hose and said there he shall bring a tithe.
So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God:
And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee. – Genesis 28:21-22
Tithing was taught comprehensively in the Law of Moses. There were basically three different tithes. Only one was given for the Lord’s house.
First tithe: This is the tithe we give today
And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’s: it is holy unto the LORD. – Leviticus 27:30
24 But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the LORD, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.
25 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
26 Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the LORD, even a tenth part of the tithe.
27 And this your heave offering shall be reckoned unto you, as though it were the corn of the threshing floor, and as the fulness of the winepress.
28 Thus ye also shall offer an heave offering unto the LORD of all your tithes, which ye receive of the children of Israel; and ye shall give thereof the LORD’S heave offering to Aaron the priest.
29 Out of all your gifts ye shall offer every heave offering of the LORD, of all the best thereof, even the hallowed part thereof out of it.
30 Therefore thou shalt say unto them, When ye have heaved the best thereof from it, then it shall be counted unto the Levites as the increase of the threshingfloor, and as the increase of the winepress.
31 And ye shall eat it in every place, ye and your households: for it is your reward for your service in the tabernacle of the congregation.
32 And ye shall bear no sin by reason of it, when ye have heaved from it the best of it: neither shall ye pollute the holy things of the children of Israel, lest ye die.
35And to bring the firstfruits of our ground, and the firstfruits of all fruit of all trees, year by year, unto the house of the LORD:
36 Also the firstborn of our sons, and of our cattle, as it is written in the law, and the firstlings of our herds and of our flocks, to bring to the house of our God, unto the priests that minister in the house of our God:
37 And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage.
38 And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes: and the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes unto the house of our God, to the chambers, into the treasure house.
39 For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering of the corn, of the new wine, and the oil, unto the chambers, where are the vessels of the sanctuary, and the priests that minister, and the porters, and the singers: and we will not forsake the house of our God.
This is the first and the best of everything.
It belongs to the Lord.
It’s actually a debt that you pay in the house of the Lord.
Second tithe: This is like a personal saving plan to yourself
22 Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.
23 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 thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always.
24 And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the LORD thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD thy God hath blessed thee:
25 Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose:
26 And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,
Read also Deuteronomy 26:1-13 & Deuteronomy 12:5-21
They kept 10% for themselves and for their family upkeep during vacations to Jerusalem. The people ate this in religious celebrations.
Third tithe: This was given to the poor
28 At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates:
29 And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.
Read also Deuteronomy 26:11-15
This was given once every three years. It was to the poor. This means that is about 3.3% of your income.
Those who live in the US pay this anyway. The government gets some money from your paycheck and puts it in the welfare system for the poor.
Tithing in the New Testament
Jesus taught that tithing ought to be done without neglecting the other weightier matters.
23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. – Matthew 23:23
Paul teaches that tithe is today received by Jesus whose priesthood is never ending.
5 And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:
6 But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.
7 And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.
8 And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.
9 And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.
We are to share our material things with those who teach us the Word. Share every good thing you have with anyone who teaches you what God has said. You cannot fool God, so don’t make a fool of yourself. You will harvest what you plant. Share your material things with your instructors.
6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.
7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
What we learn from this:
A. God owns everything.
The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. – Psalm 24:1
Tithing is my acknowledgement that God is the owner of it all. When humans take up ownership, ownership is addictive and cannot be satisfied.
God gives you power to get wealth.
But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. – Deuteronomy 8:18
A tithe of everything belongs to the Lord.
30 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’s: it is holy unto the LORD.
31 And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof.
The tithe is not just any 10% but it’s the first and the best 10%.
When we don’t pay tithes, we cannot give offerings because we owe. We start giving offering AFTER we tithe.
We give tithes away from ourselves.
Is it from the net or the gross income?
We tithe from the gross otherwise when you tithe from the net; it means that when you get your tax refund you need to tithe from it.
What are tithes used for in Numbers 18:1-32?
Meeting the needs of the priest.
Meeting the needs of the helpers of the priests, the Levites.
Upkeep of the house of the Lord.
When we are not tithing, we are stealing from God.
8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
10 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.
Faithfulness in tithing is not in the amount. It is in obedience to the Word.
God bless you as you grow in your faithfulness to Him.