Nothing puts people more on edge than talking about money. A tithe, in its simplest form, is a tenth. In the Old Testament, giving a tithe was a part of honoring God as a baseline. Like the Ten Commandments, giving a tithe was a part of God’s law to teach God’s people obedience (God deserves everything we have…not just the spiritual or moral parts, but also the practical parts). For those who follow Jesus, we are freed from the Law. And therefore, the New Testament does not mention a tithe. Instead, like all things we are freed from with regard to the Law (if you’re unfamiliar with this term, think: legal/legalistic rule), we are freed from giving a minimum standard of a tithe! We see this pattern repeated throughout Scripture. For example, the Old Testament Law states that we are not to take the Lord’s name in vain. In the book of Ephesians, we’re told to abstain from coarse talk or joking. The bar is raised. In the Old Testament, we are to keep the Sabbath holy. In the New Testament, we’re told that we ourselves are holy. The bar is raised. In the Old Testament, we are told about justice (an “eye for an eye”). In the New Testament, we’re freed to forgive repeatedly and freely. The bar is raised. In the Old Testament, they gave a tithe; in the New Testament, they shared all they had (see Acts 2:42-47).
So the question of a tithe is this: is there a minimum standard in my followship of God for giving Him my resources? And the answer to that is: a tenth is a great place to start! So we tithe as a matter of worship, obedience, and growth. The Bible (New and Old Testaments) is clear on what giving does for the giver, how it moves us and reminds us that we were freed from being “takers”, and that God loves to bless by giving because He is a generous Giver. So when we give (in all kinds of ways – including financial), we reflect the heart of the One who controls our lives. We give because He gave. We give because He gives. And in the process, we learn generosity of heart and life.