This is one of the most delicate and debatable topics in Christianity today. There are several scripts and publications as to why one must pay or not pay tithe. My hope is you read through this prayerfully with an open heart and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to you.
In my view, the issue of whether to pay tithe or not to pay tithe is a mindset. Yes, it is all about your attitude and mindset. Let’s say you borrowed a shovel from a friend to use in your garden. After six hours your friend comes to you and says, ‘Hey could I have my shovel please?’ Your likely response is to hand the shovel back to its owner and thank the person for allowing you to use it for that duration.
So why is it so difficult for us to give back to the one who gave it all to us in the first place? Our Mind set…. Our Attitude…. We still believe we own what we have. It is ours! We have worked so hard for it! Yes, my dear friend, you may have worked very hard but the truth is you are only a steward.
I have come to realise people don’t mind giving their time or any other thing but touch their money and you have touched a raw nerve! Your money follows your heart. We work hard every day to make money. The love of money is indeed the root of all evil.
10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
1 Timothy 6:10
Of course, Money is important, it is a legal tender! But we should not let it dictate our lives so much to the extent that we wrong the one who gave us our very lives! It is our Christian duty to pay our tithes. It is an appreciation for all that God has given to us. In Genesis 14:18 -20, Abraham tithed to Melchizedek. In Genesis 28:22, Jacob vowed to give God a tithe of all that He (God) gave him.
18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, 19 and he blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. 20 And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.”Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
Genesis 14:18 -20
22 And this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth. ”
Matthew 23:23 tells us that tithing is good but that alone will not make us Christians. We still have to live a holy life. We should live a life that depicts the Christian principles and values.
23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.
I would like to point out that contrary to misinterpretations that have sometimes been given to this scripture; Jesus by no means undermined the importance of paying tithes. Note that He ended by saying You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. The latter here is law –justice, mercy and faithfulness whilst the former he admonished them not to neglect is tithing! (You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin.)
One may ask why do we have to pay a tenth to God? He needs our all anyway! It is true God needs your all but hold on…..my question to you is why do we give offering? In that case one would have to empty their bank account every time to give all to God. But No! That is not what God is asking us to do. He is a loving God. He knows there are issues you need to take care of in life like providing the needs of your family, bills to pay etc.
However, paying tithe or giving a tenth of what you earn means involving God in your finances. The truth is God wants to be a part of everything in our lives. This is a covenant that demonstrates our appreciation for all that he (God) has given to us, be it the work that we do or anything that provides us with income.
One man of God gave this illustration which has always remained with me: When we receive our pay checks taxes have already been deducted. We all pay taxes to government. They don’t give you your pay check and ask you to pay your tax later. You don’t have a choice! However, with God he gives you the choice.
God does not want us to do things under compulsion that is why we have our free will. Salvation itself is a choice. Christ has already paid the price. You can choose to believe and be saved or disbelieve and go your own way. If you have come to a point where you know you are only a steward, the issue of compulsion does not even come in. Why would you feel compelled to give something back to the person who owns the very thing? Think about it….
In the Old Testament, people inherited lands but the Priesthood were not part of this inheritance hence their sole reliance on tithe. There is a school of thought that questions why we Christians of today should pay tithe which some ‘believe’ is solely used by Pastors and Ministers when they already have an inheritance be it lands, property etc.
My thoughts are: We are in a new dispensation. The message of salvation is free but it costs a lot to deliver this message. In my view, tithing in itself is not necessarily paid to Pastors though part of it may be used for their salaries. It is something you bring to God to be used for work in his Kingdom. A good bible believing church with good principles will have measures in place to ensure money given to the house of God is used wisely both in meeting the needs of the workers and also propagating the kingdom. I would also entreat you to take time and prayerfully read 1Corinthians 9:1-27. Here, Paul questions the church:
7 Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink the milk?8 Do I say this merely on human authority? Doesn’t the Law say the same thing? 9 For it is written in the Law of Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Is it about oxen that God is concerned? 10 Surely he says this for us, doesn’t he? Yes, this was written for us, because whoever plows and threshes should be able to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest.11 If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? 12a If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more?
However, Paul goes on to talk of a higher calling, where he does not even use his rights. He chose not to use his rights as a preacher of the gospel.
12b But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ.13 Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar?
14 In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.15 But I have not used any of these rights. And I am not writing this in the hope that you will do such things for me, for I would rather die than allow anyone to deprive me of this boast. 16 For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me. 18 What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make full use of my rights as a preacher of the gospel.
In the Old Testament most people made a living by farming hence they gave their produce as tithe. We even have a better inheritance through Christ Jesus. God has blessed us with much more. I think the least we could do is to show our appreciation by giving back to God a tenth of whatever we get from the work of our hands! Please don’t get me wrong, this is by no means a way to bribe God or to pay him back. The bible tells us God cannot be bribed and we cannot even attempt to pay him back as he owns our very lives!
17 For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.
In paying our tithes, we are giving God a foothold in our finances. It shows we trust God enough to allow him in every area of our lives. You cannot claim you are in an intimate relationship with someone and restrict the person to the areas where he or she can have access to. The Holy Spirit is a gentleman. That is why the bible says He stands at the door and knock. If you allow him He’ll enter and dine with you. We must give God a foothold in our careers, marriages, finances, everything we do. Why is it important to allow God to lead you when you are choosing a marriage partner? This is so you can always go back to God. You can always involve Him in issues. You have a surety that he will answer. But when we make decisions by ourselves that surety is not there. How would you feel as a parent if your children do their ‘own thing’ and then come running to you only when they face issues? This is not to say God will neglect you but the one who has involved God has a covenant.
Paying our tithe ensures there is always enough in the house of the Lord just as government ask people to pay taxes to ensure good roads, schools , hospitals, etc. It shows our obedience to God and we become good examples of financial stewardship in God’s Kingdom.
18 But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
Deuteronomy 8:18 (AMP)
9 Honour the Lord with your capital and sufficiency [from righteous labours] and with the first fruits of all your income; 10 So shall your storage places be filled with plenty, and your vats shall be overflowing with new wine.
Dear friend, count it as a privilege to be in a position to give something back to God. See it is an honour. Do not be too worried or overly concerned about the nitty-gritty of what your money is used for. Though as I earlier stated, it is your responsibility to attend a good bible believing church with good principles and measures in place to ensure money given to the house of God is used wisely both in meeting the needs of the workers and also propagating the kingdom.The Lord sees all things and he is the rewarder and righteous judge.
It is my prayer that the Holy Spirit will continue to grant us the grace as we continue to appreciate our Maker and Honour him with our substance. I would like to leave you with these quotes:
You can tithe without loving God with all your heart, but you cannot love God with all your heart without tithing!
Even if all we have is a little, the Lord desires us to be joyfully generous, so that He will have for His church abundance for every good work. Let us not be selfish or deceived by money. In a real sense, money is not a blessing; it’s a test.
“I have held many things in my hand, and have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands that I still possess.”
– Martin Luther
Jesus Christ said more about money than about any other single thing because, when it comes to a man’s real nature, money is of first importance. Money is an exact index to a man’s true character. All through Scripture there is an intimate correlation between the development of a man’s character and how he handles his money.
-Richard C. Halverson
“If you know how a man deals with his money, how he gets it, spends it, keeps it, shares it, you know one of the most important things about him.”
– Henry Taylor
Money will buy a bed but not sleep, books but not brains, food but not appetite, finery but not beauty, medicine but not health, luxury but not culture, amusement but not happiness, a crucifix but not a Saviour, a temple of religion but not heaven.
God has given us two hands — one to receive with and the other to give with. We are not cisterns made for hoarding; we are channels made for giving.
God bless you!
Unless otherwise stated all scriptures were quoted from NIV bible