Is Tithing Still Valid Today?
Jesus said, "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth [a tithe] of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. 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."1
Here Jesus is confirming that tithing is still as valid in New Testament times as it was in Old Testament days.
"For a number of years, The Barna Group (research specialists) has been following the practice of 'tithing,' which is donating at least ten percent of one's income. While Christians dispute whether tithing refers to giving the entire ten percent to churches or whether that sum may include money donated to churches and other non-profit entities, the survey data reveal that no matter how it is defined, very few Americans tithed in 2004. Only 4% gave such an amount to churches alone; just 6% gave to either churches or to a combination of churches and para church ministries."2
If every Christian tithed his or her income and "invested" it wisely in God's work, all of God's work on earth would be done. In addition to new churches being established, the starving would be fed, the cold would be dressed warmly, the oppressed would be cared for, the homeless would be sheltered, orphans would be nurtured, and every person on earth would be presented with the gospel. All of these things are a vital part of God's will being "done on earth."3
And how does God say (not suggest) his work on earth should be financed? By every Christian giving at least a tithe of his or her income and donating it for God's work—for God's work, that is, not for building religious empires or to churches or religious organizations that do not faithfully proclaim the whole counsel and/or Word of God.
Think of it. Only six out of every 100 Christians—American Christians that is—tithed their income to help with God's work on earth. That's only 60 out of every 1,000. Certainly many families are struggling, some people are out of work, and many single parents are scraping to get by, but not 940 out of every 1,000 Christians, and we are among the wealthiest people on earth. Unbelievable! Could this be one reason why we are experiencing such a moral decline and national decay?
Our pocketbook is an indicator of where our heart and priorities are,4 whether we are givers or takers, whether we acknowledge the fact that it is "God who gives the ability to produce wealth,"5 and whether we are grateful or otherwise for all that God has done for us, not the least of which being what Jesus did by coming to earth as a man to die on the cross in our place to give us a full and free pardon and a home in heaven for all eternity.
If you are not a tither, I urge you to become one today and start tithing with your very next paycheck. As Winston Churchill said, "We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give." Also, what we give is a reflection of the depth of our gratitude for all the incredible blessings we receive and have received from God.
Remember, too, that when tithing to further God's work on earth, there is a promise of blessing from God. His Word says, "Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do," says the Lord of Heaven's Armies, "I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won't have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!"6
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, in gratitude for all you have done for me in giving your very life to save me for all eternity, I make a commitment today that as long as I am earning an income, I will tithe at least ten percent of all that I make—starting this week. Please direct me to place my tithe and offerings in ministry/ies that are truly doing your work on earth. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Matthew 23:23 (NIV).
2. The Barna Update, April 24, 2005. www.barna.org.
3. See James 1:27.
4. Matthew 6:20-21.
5. Deuteronomy 8:18.
6. Malachi 3:10 (NLT).