Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Tithing and the New Church

Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone” (Luke 11:42).

It is important for us to notice both sides of this condemnation Jesus placed on the Pharisees, the super-pious of His generation. He mentions that the Pharisees were meticulous when it came to tithing, even tithing from their herb gardens, but that they were neglecting the weightier matters of the law. At the same time, Jesus does credit them for tithing when He says, “You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.”

Statistics tell us only about four percent of professing Christians tithe. Maybe that is because we are so committed to Christ that we are finally a generation so consumed with the weightier matters we have neglected the lighter ones. Perhaps we are the first generation in history to focus wholeheartedly on justice and mercy, though we have been a bit negligent when it comes to tithes.

Does that strike you as a sound analysis of the Christian community today? Is it not more likely we are even worse than the Pharisees and ignore both the weightier and the lighter matters?

Some say the New Testament does not require tithing the way the Old Testament did. In the Old Testament, ten percent was required, while in the New Testament we are to give as we are prospered. This is a disputable position, but let’s grant the argument. Consider: Every benefit the new covenant Christian enjoys is a thousand times greater than what the old covenant believer ever had. Does it follow logically that our requirements for supporting the New Testament church are less than the requirements on the people in the Old Testament? I think we all know better than that. If we don’t want to be bound to ten percent, then we’d better be even more generous.

Jesus makes it absolutely clear: We are both to tithe and be concerned about the weightier matters as well.

If you are not tithing to the work of Christ’s kingdom, you need to pray for forgiveness. Consider this: What is the link between tithing and the “weightier matters” of the law? He who is not faithful in little things (tithing) will not be faithful in greater things, either. Are you prepared to compound your disobedience?