Do We “Tithe” Today?

By Ronnie Lowe

My specific questions on tithe are:

1) Can non-Christians tithe?

2) Can he split up his proposed tithe among many churches at a time totaling to 10% or only one church should get complete 10% at a time?

3) Suppose, a property is sold at a profit. Can one deduct the original price from the proceeds and consider balance as income for the purpose of tithe?  V. M. S., Maharashtra, India

To answer these questions it is perhaps easier and more effective to answer them by stating what type of giving God requires today.

Under the Old Testament, the Israelites were commanded to give a “tithe” or tenth of their possessions to God. In this way they expressed their love and devotion to him (Leviticus 27:30-33). However, that law is no longer in force. God, in bringing an end to the Old Law, gave to the world the greatest gift of all his Son. Certainly we ought to be willing to give something to him in return. None can deny that we today, as Christians, live under a far superior covenant than did the Jews (Hebrews 8:6-7). Jesus said, “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more” (Luke 12:48). Thus, more is required of us in our spiritual service than was required of the Jews.

For the conditions of acceptable giving, please consider the following scriptures written to the Christians at Corinth. “On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come” (1 Corinthians 16:2). “So let each man give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

1 . WHO should give?

A. “Each one of you” Christians (1 Cor. 16:2)

B. “Each man” Christian (2 Cor. 9:7)

2. HOW MUCH should we give? Ten percent?

A. “As he may prosper” (1 Cor. 16:2)

B. “As he purposes in his heart” (2 Cor. 9:7)

3. OUR ATTITUDE in giving:

A. “Not grudgingly” (2 Cor. 9:7)

B. Not as a “grudging obligation” (literally “covetousness”) but of “generosity” (2 Cor. 9:5)

C. “Cheerful” (2 Cor. 9:7)

D. “With liberality” (bountifully) (2 Cor. 8:1-5; Rom. 12:8)

E. “If there is first a willing mind” (2 Cor. 8:12; see Luke 21:1-4)

Another thing that must be considered in our giving is that not only must the gift be pleasing to God, but the giver must also be pleasing unto him. I therefore need to be a Christian. For, whatever I am doing, if I am not doing it as a Christian, it will profit me very little. I might give all my living to God, but if I am not a Christian, God still will not be pleased with me (Colossians 3:17).

Regarding the second question, we must realize that we have a special obligation to the local congregation where we are a member. I must support their work by giving in a liberal way. If I then have extra money I want to give, there would be nothing wrong in giving some to another congregation. But, I must also be sure that the other church is one that is doing God's will, else my giving will not be acceptable to God. If I give to a church which teaches and practices error, I am helping defeat God's work instead of helping to support it.

Regarding the last question, the profit made on any property should be added to our income, and a portion should be given back to God as he has allowed us to prosper.

Instead of being determined by the law of “legality”, our giving must be determined by the law of love. We are to give as we have been prospered. We are to give to God out of our total income, not just of what is left after we have spent all we want to spend on ourselves. It is not so much the amount given as it is the attitude of the giver. Consider Luke 21:1-4. “And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, ‘Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.’”

Therefore, it matters not to God if I am wealthy or poor as long as I give with love according to God’s commands.