I’ve read a lot of good articles over the last year about tithing and each made some great points. I wanted to put my own spin on the subject of tithing, so I’m going to give you three reasons why you shouldn’t tithe.
You Shouldn’t Tithe If…
1. You tithe because you want recognition.
Matthew 6: 1-4 instructs us how NOT to give to the needy.
“Matt. 6:2 So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.”
If we’re instructed to be humble about how we give to those in need, I think we can apply this to how we give to the Church – which will probably use some of your funds to…you guessed it, help the needy. The same is true if you’re giving directly to those in need. If you want recognition for your giving, you should reconsider your motives.
2. You tithe begrudgingly.
– Simple definition: Begrudgingly – adv. To give or expend with reluctance.
If you give unwillingly and complain every time you think about tithing, you probably shouldn’t tithe. You’re not alone if you feel this way; Paul addressed this issue almost 2,000 years ago. In 2 Corinthians 9:7, Paul says:
“Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
If you’re going to grumble about giving or tithing, then don’t do it.
3. You tithe because of selfish ambition.
Jesus himself addressed this issue in Luke 18: 10-14.
“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.
But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
I tell you that this man, rather than the other went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
If you don’t want to be humble in your giving, you probably shouldn’t give. A selfish attitude doesn’t pair well with the true spirit of giving; so don’t worry about tithing if you’re just doing it to feel better about yourself.
Now, let’s talk about why you should tithe.
First, what is a tithe? Tithe literally means ‘tenth.’ As Christians, we’ve known tithe to be giving a tenth back to God. This is done usually through giving tithes to your church – but isn’t restricted to just your church (an issue that can be debated in and of itself).
The Old Testament gives instruction on tithing in many areas, but puts it succinctly in Deuteronomy 14:22-23:
“Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year. Eat the tithe of your grain, new wine and oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks in the presence of the LORD your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name, so that you may learn to revere the Lord your God always.”
The question that immediately comes up is: Are we to follow the law of the Old Testament for tithing if we are under a New Covenant through Christ? Besides, the New Testament doesn’t explicitly tell us to tithe 10%, so why do it?
The New Testament focuses more on ‘giving’ and the attitude of your heart.
This verse was used earlier, but is worth quoting again to summarize what giving means from a New Testament perspective:
2 Corinthians 9:7 “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
So here are three reasons why we should give.
1. It’s an act of worship.
Whether you’re referencing the Old Testament or New Testament, giving to God with a pure heart is an act of worship. By giving a portion to God, you’re trusting in Him to use it to further His Kingdom. You’re also acknowledging that everything comes from Him and that He’ll continue to provide for you.
2. To further God’s Kingdom.
How can we expect the Gospel to be spread if we don’t support ministries financially? We’re instructed in Matthew 28:19 to
”Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.“
The reality is that working in the ministry requires supplies and if we don’t give, who will?
3. To bless others.
The book of Acts tells us that Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” We’re instructed in 2 Corinthians 8:7 to
“excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us – see that you also excel in this grace of giving.”
This aspect of giving can be very rewarding spiritually. What better way to share the love of Christ than through meeting the physical needs of his people – so that you can feed their spiritual needs with His grace.
For me, giving can be summed up in these three points. I’m not here to convince you to start giving more. I just wanted to share my thoughts on what giving means to me and hope that a different perspective can help shape your views on giving.
Even more, I think that tithing/giving doesn’t just represent financial sacrifices. In fact, you can reread this entire post and insert the idea of tithing/giving a portion of your time, and each point will still apply. I tried to approach the subject this way and I hope it helped you as you decide what it is that you want to give.
I would love to hear your thoughts about tithing and giving! Share your opinions about giving below.