17. Tithing

In Your Bible Read This Out Loud: Matthew 23:23

Memorise This Verse: Genesis 14:20 'Then Abraham gave him a tenth of everything'

Afterwards Talk About This:  Is God expecting too much of us when he asks us to be tithers?

Something To Do Before Next Time:  Work out what % of your income you spend on things other than necessities.

Written Diploma Work:  Write one side on the reasons why God wants us to give him 10% of our income.

Meditate Word By Word On This Verse:  Malachi 3:10

Having seen previously that the way we live by faith concerning our finances is through giving into the work of God and the biblical illustration of sowing and reaping and giving and receiving the following sections will look in depth at the dynamics of giving.

This section will consider the question as to how much God is expecting each one of us to give, a good starting point is the story of the widow's offering in Mark 12:41-44.

The first point here is that Jesus watched and knew how much each person had put into the offering the same is true today, Jesus knows exactly who is (and who isn't) giving into the work of God and he knows exactly how much each person is giving in.

For example, the next time an offering plate is passed round in church why not imagine that it is Jesus who is taking the plate round the church because in reality he seeing how much each person is giving into it!

The second point to note is that Jesus was more concerned with how much people had left as opposed to how much they gave. For example, the widow gave less that everyone but she received the highest commendation from Jesus because it left her with less to live on than the rest of the people and it was a bigger sacrifice.

The final point that we can conclude with therefore is that God deals with us individually in the area of finances based on percentages and our ability to give. Those who have a lot of money will be called to give much more than those who have less and so by working on percentages no one has any advantage over another – if God called us all to give a set amount it would be easier for some to give than others.

The principle of God's people giving according to their ability and in proportion to their income is brought out in several scriptures dealing with money.

'The disciples, each according to his ability, decided to provide help for the brothers living in Judea'

Acts 11:29

'On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.'

1 Corinthians 16:2

'Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people'

Galatians 6:7

'Then celebrate the Feast of Weeks to the Lord your God by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings the Lord your God has given you'.

Deuteronomy 16:10

'Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you'

Deuteronomy 16:17

The bible would indicate then that the percentage that God is expecting of us to invest in him and his Kingdom is 10% (better known as a tithe). This principle is first seen in the bible in Genesis 14:20 where a triumphant Abram returns from battle and shares one tenth of the plunder with the King of Salem – Melchizedek a incident which is also later referred to in Hebrews 7:4.

In Genesis 28:22 we see Jacob also vowing to give God a tithe of whatever God put in his hands – notice that both Abram and Jacob gave tithes before the introduction of the law so tithing neither began nor ended with the law.

However, as the law came so did the command to tithe as seen the following scriptures:

'A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord it is holy unto the Lord'

Leviticus 27:30

'I give to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as their inheritance'

Numbers 18:21

'Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse'

Malachi 3:10

'Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who became priests to collect a tenth from the people '

Hebrews 7:5

Since tithing didn't start with the law, it didn't end with it either Jesus assumed that his followers would be givers i.e. in Matthew 6:2 he says when (not if) you give and in Matthew 23:23 he commends the Pharisees for tithing but not their motives. Jesus reserved his harshest words for the Pharisees but the area of their tithing would appear to be one of the few areas that he actually commended them for. It would appear then that not only does God work by percentages but that the percentage he invites us to give is 10%.

Since God's system is based on percentages then no-one can claim that they cannot afford to give as a person's giving will be in proportion to their income and the poor are not penalised more than the rich.

A House of Prayer for the Poorer Nations

Pray for Burkina Faso

11,936,823 people,

50% Muslim but strong church growth

Very poor but is poised to release many missionaries as funds are released.

This study contains the personal beliefs and practices of of the author who recommends them to the reader. The author takes no credit for their success where applied and likewise takes no responsibility for any failure or disappointment.

The House of Prayer for the Poorer Nations at the end of each section is based on Operation World 21st Century Edition © Patrick Johnstone, Jason Mandryk. Published by Paternoster. All scriptures are NIV © Hodder & Stoughton.

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