Written by Michael Van Pelt
What a topic my wife wanted me to write about! I know it can be an uncomfortable topic for some… but please stick with me as I share some of my thoughts and Scripture.
First of all – what is a tithe? Well basically it means that you give one tenth of your income generally to your local church. I am sure some of you might be thinking “Wow … That is a lot of money!” And you know what – you are right. If you make $40,000 NET over the course of one year a tithe would be $4,000 of that. That can definitely feel like a great deal of money when you think of what else you could have done with that.
I get that it can be hard to give that kind of money if you have never done it before. And even if you are tithing right now there can be some temptation to cut back or not do it at all. Why then do you think God originally had his people, the Israelites, give a tithe? A tithe that would go towards His temple and His tribe of priests – the Levites?
I think that God wanted his people to give to the Levites. He did this because they took care of the temple and the grounds, as well as helped the poor, the widow, and the orphans. Not only that, but they were designated by God to be the spiritual leaders of the nation. If the Levites were taken care of by the rest of the Israelites, they could minister physically and spiritually to the people.
If you really think about it though – God gives us everything we have. He is in control of every dollar that comes into our home. It is by His greatness that we have what we have. He is giving us 100% of everything and is only asking for 10% back. Now when you think of it that way it doesn’t sound like 10% is too much all of a sudden… He lets us keep 90% after all!
We may sometimes feel under compulsion to give knowing what our church leaders and the Bible say. But there is one very important thing to remember. It is written in 2 Corinthians 9:7 (ESV), “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver”. God already loves us as He has said many times, but what is meant in the word “loves” is that God approves of a cheerful giver. He wants you to give, but He doesn’t want it if you don’t want to give it.
God gives us so much in life, and He even challenges us to tithe. In Malachi 3:10 (ESV) God says “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 window of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” This is one of my favourite Scripture verses as there is just so much beauty to it! Here the God of the universe is reaching out to you… challenging you to tithe. He wants you to tithe so that He can then bless you. And please hear me in this. This isn’t a simple equation where you tithe and then you instantly become a millionaire. There is so much more to it.
God wants you to tithe so that in this way you can reach out to Him. He desires so greatly to be in relationship with us, it boggles my mind! He not only wants to be in relationship with us, but He says He is going to open up the windows of heaven for us. I am not sure what that means to be honest, but it sounds like something pretty spectacular is going to come out of those windows! And lastly for this verse the end of it says “until there is no more need”. I see this simply as He will give you what you need, and what you need only. He will look after you, and what more could we want knowing the God of the universe has got us?
Tithing can be a touchy subject to some of us, but I would like to encourage you to see where your hearts can grow in this. Search it out for yourself. Read what God’s word tells you, and be willing to let the Holy Spirit work in your life as you find your next steps.