I think you’ll agree with me–is a very controversial topic.
The topic of tithing can split best friends. For instance just type “Tithing” in Google. You’ll get the snippet below:
The first is against it; while the third is in favor.
And yet with everyone shouting at each other about it, some people don’t even know what it is.
So the question remains:
What is tithing?
I mean its IMPOSSIBLE to fully understand this subject–to draw your own conclusion about tithing.
Or is it?
So look here! You are about to read a definitive guide about tithing–What it is and what it is not. What the Bible SAYS it is and what other people THINK it is. At the end of the day only you can make up your mind about this.
Get your coffee (or tea)…
…put on your reading glasses…
…tell your cousin (or friend) you’ll call them later…
…its time to get these questions answered:
What is Tithing?
And how does it benefit moi?
What is the Tithe?
There are people who say:
“In the Old Testament tithing was more than 10%”
“I’d rather give my tithe to the poor than give it some preacher in a Benz.”
“In the Bible…in Deuternomy…what is it again?? Oh yeah! In Deuteronomy 14:29 it said spend the tithe on WHATEVER my heart desires. I showed that to my Bishop and he nearly passed out!!”
And the truth… is they’re ALL right. (except, the Bishop part I wasn’t there for that.)
Tithing was much more than 10% originally for the nation of Israel. But before we go into that lets go into the definition of tithing.
Tithing is defined as:
“The tenth part of income that is given back to God.
Pretty simple, right?
If you earned $1.00, in gratitude you’d give $.10 to God. It’s not calculus. 🙂
However, in the Old Testament there were three tithes:
- The Levitical, or Sacred Tithe
- The Tithe of the Feasts
- The Tithe for the Poor
The Sacred Tithe
The Sacred Tithe was given to the Levites and priests for their service to the Temple.
“I’m giving the Levites all the tithes of Israel as their pay for the work they do in the Tent of Meeting… They get no inheritance among the People of Israel; instead I turn over to them the tithes that the People of Israel present as an offering to God. That’s why I give the ruling: They are to receive no land-inheritance among the People of Israel.” (Numbers 18:21;24 MSG)
The sacred tithe was the one traced back to Abraham–when he gave Melchizedek a tithe of all.
The Tithe of the Feasts
In the Old Testament, God ordained that His people keep His seven holy days–not to mention celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles in a temporary dwelling place.
Now if you’re a modern day family, what are you thinking?
“I gotta get the time off…”
“I gotta put this on my calendar…”
“How much is this gonna cost…??” (the most important one!)
Not only were these holy occasions they also served as mini-vacations. If you ever been to lengthy church functions or “mini-vacays” you know that there are expenses.
How is this all gonna be paid for?
With the tithe of the feasts.
The second tithe–or Tithe of the Feasts–was saved by the individual for the purpose of being spent on personal use.
Moses told the people that instead of altars and high places throughout the country, they should bring their tithes and eat before God:
“Instead find the site that GOD, your God, will choose and mark it with his name as a common center for all the tribes of Israel. Assemble there. Bring to that place your Absolution-Offerings and sacrifices, your tithes and Tribute-Offerings…Feast there in the Presence of GOD, your God. Celebrate everything that you and your families have accomplished under the blessing of GOD, your God.” Deuteronomy 12:5-7 (MSG)
It was God’s will for His people to enjoy abundance and joy in His Presence. This second tithe was a representation of that.
The Tithe for the Poor
The third tithe–or tithe for the poor–was a special tithe set aside for orphans, widows, the fatherless, and the strangers. Unlike the first tithe which was paid year by year, the third tithe was paid only on the increase earned during the third and sixth year of a seven-year period:
“At the end of every third year, bring the entire tithe of that year’s harvest and store it in the nearest town. Give it to the Levites, who will receive no allotment of land among you, as well as to the foreigners living among you, the orphans, and the widows in your towns, so they can eat and be satisfied. Then the Lord your God will bless you in all your work.” Deuteronomy 24:28-29 (NLT)
With the nation of Israel, God wanted there to be 3 focuses:
- Himself–the sacred tithe
- The Family–the tithe of the feasts
- The misfortunate–the tithe for the poor.
But I know you have a burning question.
So lets get to it:
“How does Tithing help me?”
I mean that is the controversy with tithing, isn’t it?
You have some guy on TV saying if you give “this” amount monthly the windows of heaven are going to open and EVERYTHING is going to to go great:
- Your debts are going to be paid.
- Your mortgage is going to be forgiven.
- Your car is going to transform into a brand new BMW.
- The boss won’t be able to sleep until he gives you a raise.
- The CEO of the company you’re working for will see your name and face in a dream, seek you out, and promote you to a position you have don’t the skills or experience for.
All because you tithed!
And then there’s the other camp.
The people who will laugh at the tithe as some concoction preachers created to get your hard earned money. They believe:
“You should give generously…when you want and where you want…as the winds and universe dictates.”
The Bible is very clear about tithing:
It’s a spiritual law with practical application.
(you know…”faith without works is dead being alone” kind of a thing.)
And with that practical application are practical benefits.
So how does tithing help? Let’s find out.
When the Bible speaks about the tithe it uses the Hebrew word “maaser”(pronounced mah-as-ayr‘). It’s used 32 times in the Old Testament.
English is read left to right, Hebrew is read right to left.
The Hebrew language is a language of root words. Prefixes and suffixes are added to build on the meaning of the root word.
So in this word the first letter mem (מ) conveys this meaning:
Changing a verb into the noun of that word
For example: adding mem “to preach” (verb) turns it into “preacher” (noun).
Now taking away mem (מ) from “maaser” we’re left with “aser” which means rich.
So another way of interpreting this is:
The “rich” is in the tithe.
Or with “maaser”:
The one tithing becomes rich.
We’ll come back to the Scriptures but let’s look at some numbers. According to the landmark State of the Plate research–a multi year research that documented the giving habits of thousands of givers–Tithers were more financially stable than their counterparts:
According to the author:
“People that follow biblical principles of giving also are much more likely to be wiser and more careful in their spending…It is important in preaching and teaching on finances and generosity to help people realize that generosity leads to greater financial freedom and stability, while not giving frequently leads to greater indebtedness and financial bondage.”
Or as financial expert Dave Ramsey puts it:
Tithing was created for our benefit. It teaches us how to keep God first in our lives and how to live unselfishly. Unselfish people make better spouses, friends, relatives, employees and employers. And they usually have better finances. God is trying to teach us how to prosper over time.
Regardless of what people say: tithing DOES benefit you in many ways.
What Does the Bible Say About Tithing?
What does the Bible say about tithing?
Hence, all the controversy.
But let’s take a look at what the Bible has to say:
“And Melchizedek, the king of Salem and a priest of God Most High, brought Abram some bread and wine. Melchizedek blessed Abram with this blessing: ‘Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who has defeated your enemies for you.’ Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the goods he had recovered.” (Genesis 14: 18-20 NLT)
“Then Jacob made a vow, saying, ‘If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God. And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.'”
“One-tenth of the produce of the land, whether grain from the fields or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord and must be set apart to him as holy. If you want to buy back the Lord’s tenth of the grain or fruit, you must pay its value, plus 20 percent.” (Leviticus 27:30-31 NLT)
“The Lord also told Moses, ‘Give these instructions to the Levites: When you receive from the people of Israel the tithes I have assigned as your allotment, give a tenth of the tithes you receive—a tithe of the tithe—to the Lord as a sacred offering.'” (Numbers 18:25-26 NLT)
“You realize just how great Melchizedek is when you see that Father Abraham gave him a tenth of the captured treasure. Priests descended from Levi are commanded by law to collect tithes from the people, even though they are all more or less equals, priests and people, having a common father in Abraham.
But this man, a complete outsider, collected tithes from Abraham and blessed him, the one to whom the promises had been given. In acts of blessing, the lesser is blessed by the greater.
Or look at it this way: We pay our tithes to priests who die, but Abraham paid tithes to a priest who, the Scripture says, “lives.” Ultimately you could even say that since Levi descended from Abraham, who paid tithes to Melchizedek, when we pay tithes to the priestly tribe of Levi they end up with Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 7:4-10 MSG)
Abraham tithed to Melchizedek while Levi (and Levites) were in his loins. So you can also say: the Levites who received tithes paid tithes in Abraham. And the blessing that was upon Abraham, was also upon them, because they were in Abraham. The Bible again emphasizes: tithing was before the law…as were the blessings of tithing.
“[Remember] this: he who sows sparingly and grudgingly will also reap sparingly and grudgingly, and he who sows generously [that blessings may come to someone] will also reap generously and with blessings.
Let each one [give] as he has made up his own mind and purposed in his heart, not reluctantly or sorrowfully or under compulsion, for God loves (He takes pleasure in, prizes above other things, and is unwilling to abandon or to do without) a cheerful (joyous, “prompt to do it”) giver [whose heart is in his giving].
And God is able to make all grace (every favor and earthly blessing) come to you in abundance, so that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need be self-sufficient [possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation].”
How Tithing Deals With a Poverty Mentality
Wealth is more of an inside job that anything else. There’s a reason why some people can’t see themselves past an income level…
…why certain people no matter how much they make find a way to lose it…
…or why certain people self sabotage when they get close to their dreams.
Make no mistake about it:
we ALL have a financial thermostat.
It doesn’t matter how much YOU SAY you want a higher income and/or net worth–if you’re financial thermostat is at say…$50,000/year…that is where you will end up.
Read all the books you want to, go to all the seminars you please, and find all the gurus you can afford…but…your wealth building rests solely on one person–you.
Harsh I know.
T.Harv Eker in his book sheds some insight in his book Secrets of The Millionaire Mind:
“Oh,” you might say. “That’s easy all I have to do is change what I’m thinking. Ok, I’ll just be a more positive person and focus my thoughts on prosperity.”
Well…it’s not that easy either.
What causes people to propel…or stagnate..is not just mindset…it’s the underlying belief.
Often those beliefs are more spiritual in nature.
How to Prosper Your Inner Man
The Bible describes a person as having 3 parts:
They have different levels of “consciousness:”
- Body–world consciousness
- Soul–self consciousness
- Spirit–God consciousness
For instance look at this handsome guy:
You can change your body easily. You can alter mind with willpower.
Your spirit though…that’s a toughie.
And the thing is our deep seated beliefs (good or bad) are wrapped up in that guy on the right.
Jesus called the person who gets their inside life fixed “blessed:”
“You’re blessed when you get your inside world–your mind and heart–put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.” (Matthew 5:7 MSG)
So how does one get their “inside world put right.”
Only through God can we get our entire person put right. But its in the spirit (a regenerated spirit) that we commune with God:
Through His Spirit He transfers His Power and Life to our spirit. That includes a prosperity mentality.
“What does this have to do with tithing???”
I’m glad you asked.
Well…in Jewish culture tithing is considered an ancient formula for becoming wealthy. In the Talmud it says: “Aser bedevil shetisasher” or “Tithe so that you will become rich” (Taanit 9a)
In other words, tithing is a partnership between the giver and God. The giver partners with God in helping the world, God partners with the giver in business affairs.
Paul echoes a similar sentiment when he says we “are laborers together with God.” (1 Cor 3:9)
Our PARTNER not only works on His projects with us…He works on us! Namely, our mentality.
And since He knows abundance is hard to get and keep with a poverty mentality…He works in creating a prosperity mentality:
Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. (3 John 1:2 KJV)
Again…wealth is an inside job.
While working with us our PARTNER identifies and removes limiting thoughts and beliefs:
“Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.” (Philippians 3:15 KJV)
In context, Paul was saying to forget the past and push onto God’s goal: Christ Jesus.
Or in other words, “leave the past and get EVERYTHING has for us. And if any of you think any different God will reveal these thoughts.”
Not only will He reveal it…He’ll fix it! How cool is that??!!
But let me emphasize: This is for the born again believer.
This spiritual process is ONLY after we’ve accepted Christ as Savior. If you have accepted Jesus, you’re in the ballgame. If not, we can fix that right now.
It’s pretty easy 🙂
11 Mind Boggling Tithing Statistics You Can’t Ignore
It’s a statistical fact that the church is not that great at tithing.
Yeah, it hurts.
- Tithers make up only 10-25 percent of a normal congregation.
- Only 5 percent of the U.S. tithes, with 80 percent of Americans only giving 2 percent of their income.
- Christians are only giving at 2.5 percent per capita, while during the Great Depression they gave at a 3.3 percent rate.
Numbers like that can invoke a lot of guilt, which isn’t really the point.
The larger point is what would happen if believers were to increase their giving to a minimum of, let’s say, 10 percent.
There would be an additional $165 billion for churches to use and distribute. The global impact would be phenomenal.
Here’s just a few things the Church could do with the kind of money:
- $25 billion could relieve global hunger, starvation and deaths from preventable diseases in five years.
- $12 billion could eliminate illiteracy in five years.
- $15 billion could solve the world’s water and sanitation issues, specifically at places in the world where 1 billion people live on less than $1 per day.
- $1 billion could fully fund all overseas mission work.
- $100 – $110 billion would still be left over for additional ministry expansion.
In fact, here’s another interesting tithe statistic:
As income increases giving tends to decrease
As people make more money their overall giving tends to go down. Don’t believe me? look at this!
Solomon said it best,
“When good increase, they increase who eat them; so what profit have the owners except to see them with their eyes?” (Ecclesiastes 5:11 NKJV)
Now that you’re making money more you can finally get that new car, and Sheila can have that kitchen she’s always wanted, and you can upgrade the wardrobe, and etc.
It’s a strange tithing statistic:
The more God prospers a person the more the temptation to forget Him.
Even after all of this truth: the debate will probably never stop.
Someone is going to be on side condemning tithing and another person is going to be praising its merits.
I just thought you should know where I stand:
- I believe God’s Word
- I believe in prosperity
- I believe tithing honors Him and is a link to that prosperity.
It’s up to you decide what you believe.
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