You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.Malachi 3:9-10 ESV
How much does God want us to give?
Do we rob God by not tithing?
Are we still required to give a 10% tithe of our income? Are we robbing God if we don’t?
I believe that paying the tithe is no longer required.
We do not live in Old Testament times and there is no more tribe of Levi to support.
We live under the rule of King Jesus and he calls us to serve him, not just with 10% of our money, but all our money.
In the Old Testament, one out of every seven days was holy to the Lord; under Jesus, every day is holy to the Lord.
In the Old Testament, one of the twelve tribes of Israel was set apart to be in God’s service; under Jesus, all God’s people are in God’s service.
The Old Testament was a shadow of the reality that came in Jesus.
In the New Testament, we find no command or instruction to pay the tithe.
What we do find is the encouragement to give generously, consistently, sacrificially and regularly to gospel ministry.
If, under the old covenant, God’s people gave 10%, how much more should we be willing to give under the new covenant!?
What we do see is that the principle of God’s people supporting those in full-time ministry is also found in the New Testament.
The Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.1 Corinthians 9:14 ESV
In other words, God’s people are instructed to financially support those who are in full-time gospel ministry.
Imagine walking around in heaven one day and a stranger comes up to you and says:
“Thank you! I’m here because you gave generously to your church so that they could employ a Biblical Counsellor. I was spiritually lost and addicted to pornography, but by God’s grace, the counsellor led me to Christ, and I was able to break the addiction!”
“Thank you for giving! Because you gave, your church could employ a children’s worker. I heard the gospel one morning in Sunday School. I went home and asked Jesus to forgive my sins.”
“Thank you for giving! When I was in Varsity, I went to one of your church’s Young Adults camps and the truth about Jesus made sense to me for the first time. I asked Jesus to be my Lord that weekend.”
Giving, like the rest of the Christians life, is not a legalistic requirement, but a grateful response to what God has done, is doing, and will do for his people.
Once we’ve experienced the generosity and kindness of God, we want to be generous and kind with our time, talents and treasure.
What about the promise of blessing in Malachi 3:10?
The truth is that when we honour God and give him that which is rightfully his, we do receive God’s blessing.
In Old Testament terms, the blessings were very physical.
In New Testament terms, the blessings are spiritual*.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places…
Ephesians 1:3 ESV
What is rightfully God’s is not just 10% of our money, but our entire lives. When we bow our knees to the Lordship of Christ, God gives us every spiritual blessing.
Every Christian has every spiritual blessing.
Forgiveness. Adoption. Reconciliation. Justification. Redemption. Union with Christ.
Some Christians are poor, and others rich. Some healthy, others ill and bedridden.
Nevertheless, every Christian has every spiritual blessing. There is no second-rate Christianity.
God has indeed opened the “windows of heaven” to spiritually bless all those who are in Jesus.
How much should you give?
I’m not sure. Definitely the most you can, not the least – at the beginning of the month, not the end.
*At least for now, before the renewed creation at Jesus’ return.