Giving Or Tithing
One of the singular parts of worship from the beginning has been returning to the Lord what He has graciously allowed man to have. Everything man has comes from God. The world was created as a cornucopia of God’s blessings for man to enjoy. Cain and Abel illustrate the importance of true worship and teach how the Creator desired for the creation to remember where all his blessings came. In the days of Abraham, organized worship is found when Melchizedek was a priest of the God Most High. Abraham gave him a tithe of all, which is the first reference to the worship of giving. Later, under the Law of Moses, the children of Israel are commanded to give a tithe of the land as a holy gift to the Lord. Most people in the religious world are not aware tithing is no longer required.
The first reason tithing is not a part of worship today is the Law of Moses has been done away with. Jesus came to establish a new law. His death took away the law of flesh or the law given only to the Jews. Various passages reflect the command of tithing but these are found under the old law. Keeping the law of tithing requires keeping the rest of the law given to Israel. Jesus took that law out of the way, nailing it to the cross.
Using the New Testament as the pattern for worship, giving is a matter of the heart. No reference of the early Christians reflects their giving as a tithe. Paul’s letters to Corinth establish the pattern of how Christian’s are to give. He exhorted them to put something aside on the first day of the week, storing up as a person may prosper. In his second letter, he went into more detail using the churches of Macedonia as an example of sacrificial giving. One of the points Paul makes is how the brethren first gave of themselves, an important ingredient to cheerful giving. A principle of sowing and reaping is set forth to measure the gratitude of the heart. Giving should come from a heart with purpose and thanksgiving. Before any gift is given, the heart must be filled with the praise of what God has blessed by His loving power.
Worship has always been a matter of the heart. Giving is as much a spiritual exercise as singing and praying. It can become a matter of rote practice with little consideration of how special it is to return a small blessing to the Creator. Removing the command to tithe has elevated the worship to a matter of choice with the individual as a sign of love in how they give to the Father. Giving is not a matter of begrudging or resentment. If a person squeezes the Indian nickel so tight he is riding the buffalo on the other side, his worship is vain. Often the question is asked how much to give. The real question to ask is if a person gives a certain amount, how much are they keeping for themselves? Even a ten-percent gift allows the giver to retain ninety-percent. While tithing is not commanded, giving ten-percent would be acceptable if the heart was willing. The honest realization is that few give even ten-percent. Giving is a cheerful experience because giving is an expression of devoted love to the Father.
Worship is a matter of the heart. Spirit and truth are the foundations worship is built upon. Giving must be according to the spirit of the heart and the truth of God’s commands. There may be some who will find themselves as Ananias and Sapphira did when they pretended to give as they prospered. Still others will find joy when their hearts are filled like the man called Barnabas. Jesus gave His all. What I give will never match the gift of the Father. What I can do is to return to him the bountiful portion of what He has so generously given to me trusting He will provide all my needs. Thank you God for your abundant blessings and gifts.
Much church giving is to ease the conscience. Giving five dollars may be only a nice way of “paying off” the Lord while the heart really is set on the concubines of self and sin. It is one thing to write out a handsome check for the church; it is another to give God oneself and the ability by which one earned the check. (Vance Havner; 1901-1986)