We are about to enter into one of the most controversial subjects in the church - money. I’ve heard the discussions, “is tithe even required any more?”, “there’s nothing in the Bible about giving money: it was meats, wheats, and oils”, “do I give 10% of the net or the gross of my paycheck?”; and, almost every time I’m talking church with a non-christian who believes in God, they refuse to go to church because the preacher always wants their money and then many of them live lavish lifestyles. Before we move on, I want to address that last comment. Those who believe that ministers live lavish lifestyles are profiling all pastors based on a few covetous hypocrites that are in the limelight. Stop judging someone based on someone else.

Well, I know how it is, we work hard for our money and, with the governments hand constantly in our pocket, we tend to get a bit defensive when someone else is wanting money. There’s so much controversy on this subject, unless one actually studies Scripture on it, who’s to know what we are suppose to do? I noticed a couple passages that raise my curiosity on the subject, so I started to study. What I found, I don’t like. I admit it: there are things in this Book that I don’t like. But if I claim to be a follower of Christ, I’ll do them anyway. Because, I can’t say I’m a follower and then say no to something He told me to do.

Are we required to give 10%? Absolutely not. Woah, some of you want to turn me off already, but let’s go to the Bible and examine this book on this subject.

Before I get into the 10% thing (yeah, I’m going to make you wait just a moment), I want to clarify that giving a portion to God is commanded. In a command, there will be either blessings for doing or curses for not.

Malachi 3:8-10 8 "Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, 'In what way have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings. 9 You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this," Says the LORD of hosts, "If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.

Deuteronomy 26:13 13 then you shall say before the LORD your God: 'I have removed the holy tithe from my house, and also have given them to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, according to all Your commandments

We see that tithing was a command from God. Some think it was not a command because Paul said:

2 Corinthians 8:8 8 I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the sincerity of your love by the diligence of others.

While Paul may not have commanded a tithe, Paul is not God. Paul knew what people gave, and how much they gave, was a reflection of what was in the heart. God’s command on tithe was reaffirmed through Christ:

Matthew 23:23 23 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.

Matthew 22:21 21 "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."

While tithing is commanded, we see no where in Scripture that not tithing is a sin. There are curses and blessings, and those who give much on Earth will receive much in Heaven, but it’s not a sin not to tithe. There are more important things associated with a refusal to tithe, those are things of the heart.

One excuse I’ve heard for not tithing is that God commanded tithe of grains, wines, oils, meat, and the likes; but He did not give a command of money. This is splitting hairs and a very childish way of interacting with God, “You told me to give but You didn’t say give that so I’m not giving it”. Again, this is a problem of the heart.

So, do we give grains, oil, wine, meat, money, or what? The command from God was the first fruits of our increase. Your increase may be what ever it is you do; and make from what you do. In those days, some worked for money, some farmed, some were shepherds.

Proverbs 3:9 9 Honor the LORD with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase;

We see a tithe of the land given. It was this tithe that provided for the Tabernacle (or church) and for the Levites (or pastors).

Leviticus 27:30 30 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD'S. It is holy to the LORD.

Leviticus 27:32 32 And concerning the tithe of the herd or the flock, of whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to the LORD.

1 Corinthians 9:13 13 Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar?

Then there was a tithe that was for the storehouse. The storehouse was that which provided to those in need. The children of God are meant to be loving and compassionate towards their brother and sister, and help where ever they can. The storehouse tithe was typically taken up in the form of money or possessions that would be able to be cashed in for money.

Some like to claim that money was not given nor commanded in the Bible, but we see both being done during the time of Christ.

Mark 12:41-44 41 Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. 42 Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. 43 So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood."

When confronted about money and giving, Y’shua said:

Matthew 22:21 21 "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."

So, if our heart is right with God, and His love is running through us, we have the desire to give to both the church, to keep it going, to the pastor, because it IS a full time job, and we are even shown to give to those in need. This is the tithe and the storehouse.

Deuteronomy 26:13 13 then you shall say before the LORD your God: 'I have removed the holy tithe from my house, and also have given them to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, according to all Your commandments

Ok, so now we’ll get to the 10%. Was a 10th of your income commanded by God? While God commanded the first of the increase, He never commanded a specific amount. The 10% is the figure presented by the church based on a couple scriptures.

Genesis 28:20-22 20 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, 21 so that I come back to my father's house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God. 22 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."

Hebrews 7:1-2 1 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2 to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all,

Leviticus 27:32 32 And concerning the tithe of the herd or the flock, of whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to the LORD.

While tenth was used a few times, in relation to tithing, this portion was never commanded by God; it was merely a compelled amount of a couple individuals. While this is probably making a few people happier, thinking, “great, I’m no longer giving 10%; there are some things I’ve been wanting”, let’s look at Scripture and see how much God actually wants us to give.

Deuteronomy 16:16 17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you.

So God commanded that we give as we are able to give. Well, that’s no problem right? Once I buy those things I desire and want, I’ll just give God what I’m able to give. Na, what God is saying is not what your thinking.

We are seeing that we must provide for the needs of the church. We also see that we are to provide for those in need. We are to offer to the Lord our first fruits, take what we need, then help the poor with the remainder.

In America we often look at needs a bit different than people do in other portions of the country. Actually, within our country, in a low-middle income up, we look at needs differently than those who are homeless or in poverty. Needs are not a new electronic devise every time a new version comes out, it’s not $5 coffee each day, it’s not a bunch of things; it not even TV, movies, and the likes. Needs are our home, utilities, food, clothes, education, a vehicle suitable for transport, and etc. But, I think we can all agree, we have erred in our definition of need in our lives.

We are told to be satisfied with what we have, which is hinged to not being covetous.

Hebrews 13:5 5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

Therefore, that which we lay up is what we have in our “prosper”, which is to say, beyond our needs. We read this in 1 Corinthians 16:2:

1 Corinthians 16:2 2 On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper,

Paul actually wrote of those in Macedonia who, even though they were poor, gave what they were able; then beyond that.

2 Corinthians 8:1-4 1 Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: 2 that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. 3 For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, 4 imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.

Christ told a rich young ruler to give ALL that he had to the poor.

Matthew 19:21 21 Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."

We are not to covet things in this world, and use God’s money to buy a bunch of stuff that will end up in the salvage yard one day, because there are many people in need, and God wants us to reach these people in the love of God, through the money He’s provided for us. In talking about giving that which is above what we need, Paul says:

2 Corinthians 8:13-15 13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; 14 but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack--that there may be equality. 15 As it is written, "He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack."

Wow, we are so concerned over what we make; and people in America fight so hard to stop a socialism system, yet here’s Paul saying, “Don’t put yourself into a burden, but once you’ve used what you need, give the remainder to those who are in need; so that there will be equality.”

God want’s His people to be a special people. The world hordes for themselves but God want’s His people to be giving away. This is the reason that God gives it to us to begin with.

Now I still don’t believe in government socialism. I don’t want the government forcing me to do what God wants me to freely do; an action that shows God the condition of my heart, and shows the world God.

2 Corinthians 9:6-9 6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. 9 As it is written: "He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever."

Also, this statement by Paul is to the church. I don’t agree with their doctrine but the Amish seem to have it right when it comes to the Biblical guide on how to manage our resources. Yet today, if a church started combining the extra money of all the members, that would be call a occult - even while the Bible specifically calls for this action. They didn’t just call for it, they lived it. In Acts chapter four we read that all the disciples, and virtually all those who were saved after Pentecost, sold all they had and combined it all and distributed to those who were in need; and no one lacked.

Acts 4:32-37 32 Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. 33 And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. 34 Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, 35 and laid them at the apostles' feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need. 36 And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, 37 having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet.

Now, I know what some are thinking: I thought the same thing. How could this work? That is the amazement that the world has with the Kingdom of God; yet this can’t work - not today. The people in the church today love themselves too much to do this, they are too selfish - that’s my money, I earned it. They are also too covetous. There may be a few that willingly give, but most today will be too willing to take for their own gain. This is a Kingdom of God characteristic, and only those churches and people who live IN the Kingdom of God could accomplish such a character.

So, a personal note to those of you who say “there’s no command to tithe in the New Testament”. I have a problem with those who blindly follow man then deceive others by blindly preaching what man says. Your right, the New Testament does not give a command on tithing - it gives a command to buy only what you need and give the rest of your money to those in need - are you doing that? Maybe you should read Scripture before you blindly follow man.

Tithing is not about what God will do for you, it’s about your love and gratefulness for what God has already done for you. From the time of Abraham and Jacob, and the commands of God, it was all about thanksgiving in what God done. Christ, our example and the one we claim to follow, gave all He had, and I’d say He was pretty well off before He came to Earth; but He left the riches of Heaven so that we could become wealthy. Not in as much as money but in Salvation, because He did not come to make us rich in money, He could do that from Heaven, He came to die for our sins so we can have eternal life. What we give is a testament, not to man but to God, of how much we love Him; and appreciate Him for what He’s done.

2 Corinthians 8:8-9 8 I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the sincerity of your love by the diligence of others. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

If you give so you may get back, or because you feel guilty when the plate is passed; if you are not happy about giving - stop giving. It’s not helping you anyway. God wants a cheerful giver.

2 Corinthians 9:6-7 6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

Some may be saying - actually most watching this will be saying - so your saying I must give all that is above what I need? Well, it’s not me saying this; Wayne did not say this - It was God. We all read it out of the book we claim to follow. But, if your reluctant in it, again don’t do it. Yet, where you spend your money is who your god is. If you are only worried about your wants and desires, and you are reluctant about giving to those in need, to help build the Kingdom of God and spread the love of God, then you’ve created your own god within yourself.

Matthew 6:21 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Well, what about retirement? As with all my studies, we must understand that we work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. Y’shua told a parable of a foolish barn builder who received an excess of what he needed. Instead of helping others, he decided to build bigger barns to store for a rainy day. But this did not please God, and God took his life.

I’ve heard quite a bit, “God told us to leave an inheritance”. Well, not like what’s being taught. Most of the inheritance talked of in the first half of the Old Testament referred to God’s bestowing the Promised Land on the Israelites - the Heavenly Fathers providing to His sons and daughters.

Each land was provided, by God, to the individual families of the children of Israel; and they were not allowed to get rid of their land permanently. If they sold the land, it had to be returned in the year of jubilee (Leviticus 25:23-38). The Bible laid out specific guidelines for the inheriting of the family property; this was to keep the land from passing to another tribe. The purpose was to ensure the extended family had a means of support and survival. Inheritance was assumed, and only Proverbs 13:22 speaks of it as a particular virtue.

There is no command in the New Testament of a physical inheritance, but it speaks more of the spiritual inheritance. Actually, Y’shua downplays the importance of an earthly inheritance, explaining that it can lead to greed and obsession with wealth (Luke 12:13-21). And, I’ve seen this several times, within my own family, as brothers and sisters become divided, and families ruined, because of inheritances. The New Testament teaches that it’s far better to store up treasures in Heaven. Like Israel, the New Testament teaches that our inheritance comes from God (Acts 20:32; Ephesians 1:11, 14, 18). We see that, like Abraham, our inheritance does not come in this lifetime (Hebrews 11:8, 13; 1 Peter 1:4)

What is this inheritance? Psalm 37:11 and Matthew 5:5 say it’s the whole earth. James 2:5 says it’s the kingdom of God, and Hebrews 11:16 calls it a heavenly country. First Corinthians 2:9 says it is so wonderful, that "eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him." And Revelation 21 describes a new heaven and new earth where God will dwell among His people and take away tears, mourning, pain, and death.

God does not need our money. He’s not up there going, “Good, Wayne became a Christian now I’ve got his 10%”. God brought money out of the mouth of a fish, He does not need our money. What He does want is that none perish, and He wants a people who are eager to show the world the love of God through our lives of love and charitable giving.

I want to make a note, while one can give to a charity, and I fully condone this, but there is nothing like following the instruction of Christ in PERSONALLY taking the excess of what you have and giving it to someone in need; someone you don’t even know (if you have two coats give one to the poor).

Luke 3:11 11 He answered and said to them, "He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise."

I’m telling you, there is NOTHING in this world (no sports, no movie, no tv show, no funny or stupid comment on Facebook) that gives a bigger rush than looking into the eyes of a person who is needing something and you giving it to them; while telling them, “God told me to give you this”. You don’t have to have a personal command from God at the time, you have His Word that says to give it to them.

So, when it comes down to it, it was commanded to give our firstfruits: today that would be money. The firstfruits should go to the church, to keep the pastor and church in operation. It was not told how much, as in a percentage; but the amount is what you purpose in your heart. Above that, we were also told to give the abundance we have to the poor. After you’ve given to the church, and you’ve gotten what you NEED, give what’s left to someone who can’t get what they need.

If you have reservations about giving, if you don’t want to put it in when the plate passes buy, or if you only put in because the person next to you put in and you feel funny not putting anything in, if you give expecting something from God, if you give ONLY because it was commanded, don’t do it. A person who can not give out of the love of their heart, it does not mean a thing to God, and does not work in your favor at all. It’s like having someone come and apologize to you for something, but you know they only did it because they were told to. This condition, on a reluctancy to give, is a condition of the heart: you rather do what YOU desire than what God desires. Knowing this, if this is you, search yourself and get right with God.