If there is one thing about tithing that most people can agree on, it is that the concept is often never too far from controversy.
Whilst some believe that the idea is to be left in the days of the Old Testament, others believe that it is an act of selflessness which God has made compulsory. The act of tithing is no longer mandatory for believers, however God has told us through His word that there are a host of blessings that come with bringing a tenth into His house.
When is the best time to start tithing?
Regardless of your financial situation, if you are new to tithing then the situation can be somewhat difficult, but there really is no time like the present! The reality is, that if you are not tithing when you’re making £50 a week, you’ll be less inclined to tithe away £50 of the £500 you’ll be making later.
A proverb that comes to mind says, ‘train your child up in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.’ Solomon’s counsel can be applied to the act of tithing – the earlier you start, the easier it’ll be to continue the practice throughout life.
Someone who followed Solomon’s advice was John D Rockefeller, who is often considered the wealthiest man in modern history. The business tycoon once famously said “I never would have been able to tithe the first million dollars I ever made if I had not tithed my first salary, which was $1.50 per week.” Rockefeller’s practice followed him through the rest of his life. With his hundreds of billions, he was able to not only give generously to his church, but also bless numerous charities during his lifetime.
A Spiritual Battle
When you take 10% out of your salary and use it to purchase a product or service, the majority of the time you feel fulfilled because you can physically see the result of your transaction. However, it’s a little bit harder when it comes to giving to the church. Tithing is a real test of our faith, since the majority of the time we don’t physically see the outcome of our tithe straightaway. It is us saying to God I trust you enough for the things which are yet to come.
Benefits and Curses
As believers, we are no longer living under the Mosaic Law. There is no curse for those who choose not to tithe, but there are blessings for those who do. We are not saved by works, and therefore choosing not to tithe will not necessarily result in eternal damnation. However, the Word tells us that there is a profusion of benefits that come with tithing, the first and most importantly, being that ultimately, God is pleased when we are obedient towards Him.
Malachi 3:10 teaches us that regular giving is a sign of obedience to Christ, and the same verse also reminds us that those who tithe are eligible for a blessing, as He promises to open the floodgates of heaven, and pour out his blessings – to such an extent that there will be no space for it all!
“And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground.” According to Malachi 3:11, God promises us an umbrella of protection against the destruction of our goods when we bring a percentage to him.
Another promise is that whatever we release unto Him, will always return as he says “cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again” Ecclesiastes 11:1.
Tithing should be something that we want to do, not something that we are feeling pressured into doing. We have to constantly remind ourselves that God does not need our money – he owns everything! Everything becomes easier knowing that ultimately it all belongs to God. He still allows us to keep 90% at the end of the day and although it is not an easy process, being persistent with our practice, it will eventually make tithing a part of our spiritual walk with Him.
However, tithing is just a small part of the practice of giving. The act of giving should play a role in our everyday lifestyle. Whilst it is great to give physically and financially unto others, there are other ways in which we also can give, without the requirement of physical possessions. Providing your time to someone who urgently needs it, giving advice to somebody who may need counselling – even giving a compliment to someone in need of a bit of admiration.
At the end of the day, tithing is one of the ways in which we acknowledge that ultimately God is the most important thing in our lives.
In Luke 12:15 God tell us to ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed: a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Whilst God has blessed the earth with wealth, we should remember that one day it will all perish. What is really important is the treasures which are waiting for His children in Heaven.
“I have held many things in my hand, and I have lost them all. But whatever I have placed in God’s hands that I still possess.” Martin Luther (1483-1546).