The tithe means the tenth
The Christian and the Giving of "tithe"
02/18/2005 Congregation / Congregation | Personal belief | Leviticus
Again and again we hear that Christians - analogous to the people of Israel - should tithe. But since they lived in a time of grace, they must at least tithe. Because grace gives more than law. The question is, does tithe really mean anything to Christians? And if so, which ones?
The collection and the tithe
The question of whether Christians have to give (at least) tithing to the Lord from their wealth or income - e.g. via the weekly collection - has already preoccupied many. To answer this question it must be clarified: What does “tithing” mean for us in the New Testament? And what is “New Testament giving” for Christians about?
Have thriving - a happy giver
1) The NT gives us clear indications for “giving”. For example, in 1 Corinthians 16: 2 it says: "Depending on how everyone has prospered," the believer should put aside and give. 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 indicate the attitude of the heart when giving. “God loves a happy giver” (2 Cor. 9: 7).
2) An amount stipulated by law contradicts the freedom of Christians, which we are presented again and again in the NT. We would be “good” Christians if we wanted to pass on exactly the amount stipulated to God (whatever the “assessment limit”). But God is not looking for a form, but for our heart.
The New Testament has no prescribed amount - not even a percentage!
Conclusion: There is nothing in the New Testament about a fixed, percentage amount that a believer must or should give. Also the frequently heard argument: “We live in the time of grace. Therefore we “have to” give more than what is required by law, that is at least 10%, ”finds no support in the NT. We are allowed to give as much as we “prosper”, how much we want and can give to the Lord. The right hand does not know what the left is giving.
3) When it comes to tithing, we must take into account that in OT at certain times or under certain circumstances there was more than "one" tithe. This also shows that this “10% rule” is simply not applicable.
The tithe was a kind of tax in the Old Testament - namely for the Levites
4) We don't want to forget (as an economist, I can say that) that the “tithing” was a kind of tax in the OT. Because the Levites took on certain tasks for the whole people. And God ensures through the tithe, which went to the Levites and priests, that they found a livelihood.
The part of the whole in the Old Testament
5) In the OT one finds again and again that there is talk of “a part”: the “tenth” - namely the tenth part; at circumcision - for part of the flesh was cut off; at the judgment of the firstborn - part of the family was judged. It seems to me that there is a “law”: when the part is mentioned, the whole is meant.
Take circumcision as an example. Actually, “only” part of the meat was cut off. But what does the NT tell us? "In which you were also circumcised ... in the undressing of the body of the flesh". Even though only part of the flesh was cut off, it was not fit for God. It is similar in Philippians 3: 3. There, in connection with circumcision, it is emphasized that we must “not trust in the flesh” - in none of the flesh!
6) Relating to giving: God instructed the people to give Him a portion of their property and their produce. The spiritual meaning behind it is: God owns the whole. Because everything comes from him; he had given the people (and also us) what belongs to him anyway (e).
Everything we have belongs to the Lord!
7) Transferred to us: Everything we own - whether money, car, house, spouse, children, job, talent and skills, etc. - belongs to him. He entrusted these things to us so that we might be good stewards. But everything that we OWN belongs to Him - He is the owner. Can we not understand the verses in 1 Corinthians 4: “But what do you have that you did not receive? But if you have also received it, what do you boast about as if you had not received it? "
8) We belong to the Lord in several ways: He is our Creator. He is our sustainer. He is our savior. He is our Lord ... If I were more aware of this, I would be more generous in giving what is not my "property" anyway. There are 100 logical and understandable arguments not to give or to keep something. There is a reason to give back what is of Him: the answer of love.
Grace gives - from the heart
We must not surround ourselves with this “legally” - those who give little do not love. Because the height is not decisive, as the giving of the widow makes clear, who observed Jesus in the temple and who was accepted into the eternal word of God because of her devotion. We do not need to put ourselves under pressure or allow ourselves to be put under pressure: as we thrive, how we enjoy giving, so we are allowed to give. It can be very different in terms of time. The Lord sees our hearts and is happy about our “hands”.
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