Paul’s Footsteps #190

Footsteps #190

God trusts His people to give as they decide. “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion . . .”(9:7) Is that really true? What about the tithe? What if I decide I want to give 1% instead of 10%?

The tithe was mandatory in the OT but is never commanded in the NT, just assumed. Jesus once told the Pharisees, who tithed but neglected the weightier matters of the law, “you should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former” (Matt. 23:23). I find it a little short of amazing that if tithing is still the foundational principle of NT giving, not one of the Apostles or writers of the NT epistles mentions it. Tithing was part of the Mosaic Law, and when Jesus died on the cross, He nailed those ordinances to His cross, fulfilling them and freeing the believer from those laws. Nevertheless, it is instructive to me that the principle of tithing preceded the law. Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek, you will recall from the book of Hebrews, and that was 600 years before Moses and the Law he delivered. So while the tithing laws of Moses are no longer an obligation on us, tithing does seem to be a principle that we should not just ignore. The text says, “each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give.” It doesn’t say the pastor should decide for him. Of course, there are other passages that tell the NT believer that his giving is to be proportional; i.e., he is to give as God has blessed him. I will tell you that with the level of wealth most of us enjoy, I don’t see how generous, sacrificial giving could mean anything less than a tithe for most of us. I can also tell you from personal experience that you can’t out-give God. I have given at least a tithe since when I first committed my life to Jesus, usually a lot more, and God just continues to meet every need and then some.

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