Do Christians have to tithe? How much is required? All Christians seem to get a little nervous when it comes to tithing and many hope that no one is watching as the basket comes by them, but what is the purpose of tithing? And how much is necessary? Taking a look at not only the law, but also before the law and later on during the times of the apostles will help clarify this issue.
“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 to the Lord.” (Leviticus 27:30). The word for tithing in Hebrew is maaser, which means a tenth part of something. Here in the law we see that not only the income, but also whatever produces even at your home, a tenth part of that is the Lord’s.
This type of giving was done well before the law was given, “Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said; ‘Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand.’ And he gave him a tithe of all.” (Genesis 14:18-20). Here we see Abraham giving Melchizedek the high priest of God a tenth of all his possessions. This type of giving is showing respect to the Lord with the knowing that all of what He blesses us with is not truly ours, but His and with giving ten percent is actually not much at all considering all is His.
“So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7). Even the early church gave tithes and we should continue to do so today as this is not an old fashion way of thinking, but rather an eternal respect and fear of the Lord. Here we see Paul not only suggesting the giving of a tenth part, but also whatever one purposes within his or her heart to give. Sometimes the Holy Spirit moves us to give more if we have more and in this case we should listen to the Spirit and give accordingly without grudging over the giving, but rather give cheerfully.
“Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the first fruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.” (Proverbs 3:9,10). When we give to the Lord with a cheerful heart we not only help the church, but also show God respect and honor and with this He blesses us exceedingly. Of course when we give we should not seek a return from it, but rather expect nothing and instead praise God for the blessings He has already provided in order to tithe and allow God to bless us accordingly without wanting.
Christians are to give ten percent of their income with a cheerful and giving heart without grudging. We should also be sensitive to the Spirit in case the Lord wants us to tithe more than what is required in which we should obey and give accordingly what is asked. This is not about making churches rich, but rather honoring God with what He has already blessed us with and in doing so we bless our local church as well as others the church helps. So therefore give with a cheerful heart and praise the Lord always! “Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord.” (Psalms 4:5).