If you’ve spent some time around Christian circles or gotten involved in Christian conversations long enough, you would have noticed that one of the issues we split hairs over is the issue of tithing.
To be sure we are on the same page, tithing is giving voluntarily one tenth of your income or produce to a church or a clergy.
Questions like “should a believer pay tithe?” “Isn’t tithing under the law?” “We are under grace hence should we pay tithe?” And many others have arisen from many circles on the issue of the giving of tithe.
Whilst some have chosen to stay on the fence as regards this issue, some others have chosen to pick sides at the different extremes of the bar.
Before I go on with this, I’d love to set some things straight.
First, Doctrines stem from a place of personal relationship with God. Therefore, as you progress in your walk with God, you begin to learn the things that are custom made for you and are required of you by God and the things that are not.
Secondly, you won’t go to hell for not paying tithe. The Bible is very clear on what makes one a candidate for heaven which is believing in the death and resurrection of Jesus as well as confessing that Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9).
Thirdly, you can be extremely wealthy without paying tithe. Real money is based on a set of natural principles of value and tithing is not one of them. I can give examples over and over again of people who don’t believe that God exists and are by all standards, wealthy.
Lastly, the Bible is like a mountain and one’s interpretation of the bible is based on the side on you are standing. This explains why 5 pastors can preach on the same bible verse and interpret it to mean 5 different things or 10 if there’s a second service. LOL.
That said, let’s do a little research on the origin of tithing to validate whether or not a Christian should be committed to giving God a particular percentage of his/her income.
The principle of tithing is derived from the father of Faith – Abraham who before the commencement of the Law gave tithes to Melchizedek based on a victory that God had given him (Genesis 14:19 – 20). This also repeats itself in Jacob (Genesis 28: 20 – 22) who made a vow to God to give a tenth of everything based on a personal encounter he had with God.
It was this model that gave birth to tithing when the law came to fulfilment but this time, it took on several patterns (The book of numbers and Deuteronomy explains this in details).
Tithing under the law was a covenant for prosperity between God and his people and also attracted a curse, the one that reflects itself in the book of Malachi which has fast become a popular tithe scripture. However, the purpose of tithing was clear; to take care of the priests and the Levites.
Between then and now, times have changed; dispensations have changed and we are no longer under a curse. The New Testament Christian bases his decisions on the promptings of the spirit and a personal walk with God. The
The mindset, therefore, of a new testament Christian should be that God owns all of his /her resources (both financial and otherwise) and can lay claim to any percentage at will. We are only stewards of these resources; God is the ultimate owner. With this in mind, giving a particular percentage of your income on a regular basis wouldn’t be anything to bother yourself over because the moment there is a need for more, He wouldn’t have to negotiate with you over it. I have heard several stories of people who committedly give ninety percent of their income to the church and very committed to doing that. It would be unfair to say these ones don’t pay tithe based on your own perception of God. That settled, I believe choosing a percentage to give to God should be something to mince matters over. It’s a completely personal decision. The fact that you give tithe doesn’t make you closer to God or a better Christian than one who doesn’t.
TO WHOM DO WE GIVE TITHE?
Tithe is given to the Church where you receive your major spiritual nourishment from and no, it is not charity and is not given to people to solve their financial problems or whatever problem they might be facing.
Whilst some argue that there are specific times when they receive particular instructions from God on giving their tithe to solve the needs of others, I bet to disagree.
Giving to charity and paying tithe are meant for two different purposes hence mixing them up makes them lose their individual uniqueness.
Here’s what I would advise; the decision of whether or not to pay tithe is ultimately yours to make and you should not be coerced into doing it.
Dolapo is a writer and journalist who works with YNaija. He has interests in Christianity, politics and sports.