Should I pay tithes and offerings? Paying tithes comes under the Old Testament and we are now under the New Testament!
Giving to the Lord is a constant ‘bone of contention’ with many Christians disputing whether they should give tithes and offerings to the church or not. Should they give one tenth, should they give everything, should they give what they can or give nothing at all! The Old Testament tells us that Abraham gave tithes and that the people were commanded to give tithes to the priests who looked after the temple and prayed to God on their behalf. The definition of ‘tithe,’ is one tenth of annual earnings, which was taken as a tax for the support of the Church and the Priests. Through many generations people would pay one tenth of their earnings to the church and this would be used for its’ upkeep and maintenance and paying the clergy who was providing a service to the community, as this was their full-time job.
Many will say that one tenth of their earnings is too much, and all sorts of accusations is levelled at the church when people do not want to give anything to God. There are many misconceptions that money will just appear from nowhere and the church will survive somehow. The church does survive but money does not just fall from heaven. The New Testament does not force any Old Testament laws onto the church today, but we should still have a willing heart to give to the work of the Lord. Church buildings have mortgages and rents to pay, loans, maintenance requirements, tools and resources for services for the community and how are all these things provided for? Someone has to give into the treasury in the first place.
When the first church came into being Jesus did not enforce any laws or instruct the Apostles as to what to do to raise funds for the church, neither did He rain down gold from heaven. If we dissect this argument a little further, those who think one tenth is too much to give will definitely not like the solution that evolved naturally when the first church came into being which was to sell everything they had and give it to the church. Throughout the Bible the Lord encourages us to give, to the house of God, to give to the poor to give to each other:
2 Corinthians 9:7-8
Every man according as he purposes in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
The Bible tells us to give from our heart, not begrudgingly or because we want something in return and that God loves the person who gives cheerfully. God is also saying that you will find favour in Him when you give and He will provide for you the things you need in life. So, God is asking us to give what we decide and from our hearts but not to put a price on it and hold the Lord to ransom by deciding what we want in return for what we have given. The following scripture confirms to us that Jesus wants us to give into the church:
And He looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And He saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And He said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow has cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury (poverty, pennilessness) has cast in all the living that she had.
Because the widow gave everything and from her heart this was pleasing to God and even though it was much less than what the others gave it was ALL that she had. God is not telling us how much to give and if we don’t have great amounts we should give what we can. To Him it is worth as much or more than those who can afford the lavish elaborate gifts, not that there is anything wrong with those!
So the members of the very first church gave everything they had, this was not a commandment, it was not a law, it was a choice made from the heart. The first Christians, the widow and her two mites; gave all they had, and I don’t imagine that there are many people these days who would give all that they own. And the Lord is not asking anyone to do this, His simple message is give willingly and from the heart into God’s treasury for the workings of the Ministry. If you choose to give one tenth of your earnings do so, if you decide on another amount do so, if you choose to give what little you have or a lot that’s fine too, but do give into the working of God’s church to spread the Word of God to the corners of the earth.