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  • Pastor Will Sullivan

Should I tithe or give what I want?

Matthew 23:23 ESV 23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done without neglecting the others. 24 You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel! We find in the NT that Jesus didn't outright command tithing, yet he did not criticize or condemn the practice of tithing either.


If we look closely, we'll find within the account of the seven woes of the Pharisees and Scribes the practice of tithing is indeed observed by the scribes and Pharisees, but they have neglected the offering of their hearts to God. Jesus didn't command nor condemn the practice, but he shed light on what mattered most.


Though the Pharisees and scribes were meticulous in their tithing, they neglected the major issues that hindered their relationship with God and others. Jesus had not yet fulfilled the OT covenant through his death and resurrection at this point in biblical history. This meant that the OT Israelite ceremonial temple services would continue until Jesus fulfills the old covenant at this point in biblical history. But following the death and resurrection of Christ, everything changed. As Hebrews 7:12 ESV says “For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law."


So, because Jesus is now our High Priest in the order of Melchizedek and his disciples are now the physical dwelling of the holy spirit, then the OT Israelite practice of tithing ought not to be considered as a requirement for the people of God. Instead, it should be considered a starting point for the practice of generosity.


So what do we do?


We ought to read passages like Romans 14. In summary, the apostle Paul was writing to two groups within the church who were in conflict with one another. The Christian Jews who are rooted in OT customs and practices and the Gentile believers who are now joined together in church fellowship. In his theological application of community fellowship, the apostle Paul stated that in dealing with believers that differ in observance and practice in certain areas of diet, important days, etc.. they should deal with one another without judgment and hindrance as imitators of Christ.

Ultimately, it would be unwise to subject Gentile believers to mosaic customs and create disunity. So similar to these spiritual convictions which arise in the community, I believe it would wise to understand all Christians are called into a life of generosity. Yet, whether your financial generosity is contributed as a tithe or a large or small freewill offering, God is faithful and will reward your gift according to your faith. For the desires to bless his children that they may abound in every good work.


The apostle Paul says in 2 Cor 9:6-8, whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7


Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8


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. Allow for me to offer some guidance on deciding if you should tithe in view of the preceding statements... (edited) 1


  • If you TITHE (10% of your income)-If this is what you learned if this is by faith if this is your biblical conviction---continue tithing as unto the Lord, but don’t neglect justice, mercy, and faithfulness. Don't neglect the love of your neighbor. Stay generous, faithful and loving. Read Matthew 23:23, 1 Samuel 15:22

  • If you are an Extravagant giver (Beyond the tithe and more..)- If you exceed in meeting financial needs, if this is by faith, if this is your biblical conviction, then continue to be an example and bless the church by being kingdom financiers. Read Acts 4:34-37.

  • If you don't give 10% but give a freewill offering-Give sacrificially and faithfully--give your first and best--not your leftovers, not your worst and last---financial generosity is a test of faith, love, trust and loyalty (Equal sacrifice not equal giving) Read 2 Cor 8:1-5 and Acts 2:42-45

  • If you don’t subscribe to the blessing of generosity--Start today! Many of us don't become generous at the moment of salvation. In most cases, a person has never been taught about financial generosity correctly. Many congregants have experienced deception in the past or have been raised to covet. Most of us have deep trust issues as it relates to financial generosity. But remember, generosity is the fruit of love. John 3:16 says, God so loved the world that he gave...... God desires to bless you, not because of your giving, not because of the amount of your giving but “because of the reason for your giving...” Read 2 Cor 9

A church body that doesn’t give is a body without compassion. Generosity doesn't simply keep the lights on in the church facility it supports the ministers and ministry and keeps the "light work" going.....

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