Biblical Answers to Tough Questions, Day 2



Today’s reading is drawn from Leviticus 27:30-33.

Are Christians Required to Tithe?

The short answer is no, Christians aren’t required to tithe.

The Law of Moses mandated the tithe to support the Levites in their priestly service and those in need among the foreigners, orphans and widows (Dt 14:28 – 29). Since Christ’s sacrifice of himself removed the need for a Levitical priesthood, the principal purpose for the Old Testament tithe is gone. But the New Testament says quite a lot about giving. Believers are to give in the following manner:

Generously. Jesus told his followers to give to everyone who asks (Lk 6:30), to give to those who can’t repay (Lk 14:13 – 14) and to freely give what we have freely received (Mt 10:8). Paul established the principle that what we reap is a reflection of what we sow (2Co 9:6).

Humbly. There is danger in thinking that if we follow a specific rule, we have done everything that God requires. Jesus chastised the Pharisees for giving a tenth of their spices while neglecting more important matters of the law — justice, mercy and faithfulness (Mt 23:23). To suppose that God demands 10 percent — and nothing more — can foster an attitude that says, “This bit is for God, and the rest is mine.”

With the proper attitude. Using a strictly legal principle of giving prompts wrangling over questions like: Is it 10 percent of gross income or net income? of take-home pay only? before or after insurance and retirement deductions? Instead, we are to give what we decide in our hearts to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver (2Co 9:7). Therefore some better questions might be: How can I better manage my affairs so that I can give more? Where can I give that will best serve God’s purposes? Now that I’ve given what money I can, what else can I give?

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