One of our church’s core values is Faithful Stewardship. Often, when the topic is approached, there is some confusion and even debate on what the Bible says about how much a person is expected to give. Typically, the question of giving has been answered by stating that God expects believers to give a “tithe”, that is, 1/10 of one’s income.
But let’s consider what the Bible reveals to us about this.
Understanding the Tithe
The tithe was first mentioned in Genesis 14 in the account of Abraham and Melchizedek. It is mentioned again in the life of Jacob in Genesis 28. In both of these accounts, the tithe seemed to be voluntary rather required.
Giving Under the Masaic Covenant
It wasn’t until the establishment of the Mosaic Law that the Israelites were required to give a tithe. During this time, Israel was a theocracy (ruled by God) and the tithe was given to support both the religious and social aspects of the nation. However, the tithe went well beyond 10%. At least three different tithes were required of the Israelites – two of them were annual tithes while the third was given every 3 years to assist in caring for the poor. This means that under the Old Covenant, a faithful Jew was giving no less than 23% of his income to God.
Under the Old Covenant, a faithful Jew was giving no less than 23% of his income to God.
Giving Under the New Covenant
Through His death and resurrection, Jesus inaugurated a New Covenant. As Paul mentions in Romans 7:4,
Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.
Paul goes on to say that we now serve God “not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit.” We know that as a result of the work of Jesus, many of the requirements of the Law are no longer binding on us. That is why we don’t continue to sacrifice lambs, and our diets are no longer restricted from certain foods.
In fact, did you know that in the New Testament, the tithe is never mentioned again? Giving is now to be regulated by the grace of God and in response to His abundant goodness. It’s in the context of financial giving that Paul states in 2 Corinthians 8:9,
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.
In other words, the grace of God blows the top off the Old Covenant tithe. We are no longer limited to 10%, or even 23%. We are now called to give voluntarily, sacrificially, and generously to God’s work!The grace of God blows the top off the Old Covenant tithe! Click To Tweet
One of the assumed ways in which this is to happen is within the context of your local church. Paul showed the Church at Corinth this in 1 Corinthians 9. Financial giving is our way of coroporately investing in a work that is eternal.
Many who invest in the stock market, Bitcoin, or real estate constantly wonder whether they will receive a lasting return on their money. But when you make your investment with God, you don’t have to worry. It promises to bring back an everlasting return! As Jesus counseled in Luke 6:38,
Give, and it will be given to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap, for with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.
Financial giving is our way of coroporately investing in a work that is eternal.
Motivated by the grace and goodness of God in Christ Jesus, invest your finances wisely and generously in God’s work!
(This post was taken from the sermon preached on January 7, 2018, “Grace Giving.” You can listen to the sermon here.)
Extra Thoughts on Grace-Giving
“Giving is a response to the abundant grace we’ve been given.”
- Giving to support those devoted God’s work is assumed (1 Corinthians 9:14)
- Giving should always be motivated by love (1 Corinthians 13:3)
- Giving is to meet a variety of needs (2 Corinthians 8:1-7)
- Giving is to be planned (2 Corinthians 9:7)
- Giving involves everyone in the church (2 Corinthians 9:7)
- Giving is voluntary (2 Corinthians 9:7)
- Giving is to be sacrificial (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)
- Giving is to be mindful of Jesus (2 Corinthians 8:9)
- Giving is to be generous (2 Corinthians 9:6-9)
- Giving is to be cheerful (2 Corinthians 9:7)
- Giving reaps incredible returns (2 Corinthians 9:5-6)
Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)