I thought about this yesterday on a long drive to the middle of somewhere. There is a growing segment of IFB Christians who still maintain, despite a verse in the New Testament spoken by Jesus Christ, claim we are not bound by tithe today.
Whenever anyone talks about tithe, the cynical Christian immediately thinks, “He needs money.”
Well, you can’t pay tithes to me. And I don’t accept offerings. Do not send me money.
If you have extra cash lying around and want to make an offering, I suggest instead doing almsgiving. Go and donate money to a needy family, and just think my name as you’re doing it. If there’s any rewards from it, maybe the Lord will bless me for your good works.
Let’s get the command from Jesus Christ out of the way first.
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” (Matthew 23:23, KJV)
Let’s look instead at spiritual principles.
Why is there a tithe?
Yes, it was an agrarian society. We’re no longer in one.
The Levites had absolutely no land inheritance at all. They could not farm. They had six cities where they lived – that was it.
“But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the LORD, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.” (Numbers 18:24, KJV)
The tithe was instituted so that the Levites could dedicate themselves to the ministry of God.
We, as Christians don’t have Levites any more.
We have Pastors.
If you pay your Pastor less than a McDonald’s worker, it means he has to work a day job. And that means he’s going to have little time for dedicating himself to the Ministry of God.
The tithe today serves to take care of the costs of the church building, and those that dedicate themselves to the ministry of God. And if the Pastor preaches well, the biblical command is that you pay them twice as much.
“Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.” (1 Timothy 5:17, KJV)
The word honour is τιμῆς in the Greek, times (Tee mess). That means “Price” or “Worth”. The reference in Matthew 27:6 & 9 about what to do with Judas’s coins that he threw on the floor is literally this same word. In Acts 4, same word.
Look up the average pay for a Baptist pastor in your area. In mine, that’s $65,000 a year.
If they preach well, then the command is you double that – $130,000 a year.
If tithe is not for today, how are they to dedicate themselves to the labor of the ministry?
People tend not to pay offerings to a point that equals tithe. They say “I can pay MORE offerings than tithe.”
I bet you don’t.
The Lord CLEARLY says in Matthew 23 that the Pharisees and Scribes should have indeed paid tithes. The Biblical model is that the tithe was instituted to ensure that the priests (today pastors) could dedicate themselves to the ministry without having to work. And if the Lord commands something and you won’t do it, then clearly, when it;s up to you, you’re not going to do it either.
That’s why we have the tithe.
“Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, Even this whole nation.” (Malachi 3:8–9, KJV)
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:” (Matthew 6:19–20, KJV)
I know there’s a couple of readers I have who don’t believe in tithe. I’m just going to say, that’s not a me issue. that’s a you issue, between you and God.
I said my piece – see ye to it.