Why I Practice Tithing in the Age of Grace
Tithing seems to have become an increasingly debated issue in the church. It’s interesting that the rise of those against the practice of tithing seem to be located mostly in the Western church and within the last century. (Does it strike anyone else as odd that the more wealth the Western church has accumulated the less they want to speak about tithing or giving in general?) “Perhaps that’s why the percentage of income Christians give away has been declining for thirty years. In fact, dollar for dollar, the average American gave more during the Great Depression than today.” [Randy Alcorn, Money, Possessions, and Eternity, p. 174]
The word tithe literally means 10%, a tenth. When we speak of tithing our income we speak of giving 10% of our income. Although tithing is not explicitly commanded in the New Testament, there are principles however, that I feel compel the follower of Jesus Christ to tithe. I’ve listed my 6 reasons below:
1. As did my Father Abraham, I recognize God’s ownership of all that I possess. [Gen. 14] Abraham is not merely the father of those who have physically descended from him, the Jews. He is also the father of those that follow God in faith. [Rom. 4:12-18]
2. As did my Father Abraham, I recognize the worthiness of Jesus Christ and worship Him in my giving of the firstfruits. If tithing speaks to the amount of my gift, firstfruit speaks to the nature of my gift. It is the first and best of what I have. I give God from the gross of my income and not the net.
3. As did my Father Abraham, I strive to live by faith trusting God to supply my every need. For me, tithing is a beginning point of practicing my faith. Could I really say that I trust God and walk by faith and give him less than that? Should I, who live under grace, give less than those who lived under the law?
4. Considering the parallelism between the Mosaic tithe in providing for the spiritual leaders and ministry of the Old Testament and the necessity of providing for the spiritual leaders and ministry in today’s church, I tithe. In keeping with that parallelism, I bring my whole tithe into the local church just as the Old Testament Jews took their tithe to the Temple’s storehouse. I am free to give and to send my freewill offering wherever God leads my heart, but my tithe goes to support where I am fed and led through the local church.
5. I give at least a tithe for the purpose of carrying out the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. My giving goes to help spread the Gospel and meet the needs of others. Financial giving is not the end of my participation it’s only a part.
6. I have tested the Lord in this area and found that I have never out given Him. This is one area where God told the Israelites to test him and see if He would not be faithful to bless them. I have found the promise of His blessings to hold true even today.