Brethren, let us critically examine the biblical teachings on Tithing…
Tithing simply means giving one tenth of the whole. I have observed that whenever most Christians want to defend the reason for paying tithes, they desperately muddle up or interchange facts in favour of the art of giving. For the sake of objectivity, we should not fall into this temptation just this once. Sowing to receive is a complete different ball game from paying tithes. The former has no specific instructions on procedure. All you need do is to give to meet a certain need with the hope or conviction that someone somewhere would also rise to your point of needs when it matters. Or to give back out of appreciation because of the belief that all blessings come from God and giving back in whatever form shows a grateful heart.
But tithe doesn’t work that way. Today, I am not going to bring my bias into this. I won’t concern myself with whether Mosaic laws are valid for Christians or not. I won’t dabble into the cherry picking done by most present day Men of God in following the obnoxious laws in the Pentateuch. I am going to quote the Bible passages that explicitly dwelt on the relevance and procedure for tithe and we shall both dissect the motive and expectations of the giver of the injunction.
Curiously, this Bible following passage is seldom read out on the pulpit in churches. ..
Brethren, let us open our Bibles to the book of Deuteronomy 14 verses 22 to 29. I’ll read from my amplified version.
22. You shall surely tithe all the yield of your seed produced by your field each year.
23. And you shall eat before the Lord your God in the place in which He will cause His Name [and Presence] to dwell the tithe (tenth) of your grain, your new wine, your oil, and the firstlings of your herd and your flock, that you may learn [reverently] to fear the Lord your God always.
24. And if the distance is too long for you to carry your tithe, or the place where the Lord your God chooses to set His Name [and Presence] is too far away for you, when the Lord your God has blessed you,
25. Then you shall turn it into money, and bind up the money in your hand, and shall go to the place [of worship] which the Lord your God has chosen.
26. And you may spend that money for whatever your appetite craves, for oxen, or sheep, or new wine or strong[er] drink, or whatever you desire; and you shall eat there before the Lord your God and you shall rejoice, you and your household.
27. And you shall not forsake or neglect the Levite [God’s minister] in your towns, for he has been given no share or inheritance with you.
28.At the end of every three years you shall bring forth all the tithe of your increase the same year and lay it up within your towns.
29. And the Levite [because he has no part or inheritance with you] and the stranger or temporary resident, and the fatherless and the widow who are in your towns shall come and eat and be satisfied, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands that you do.
Now let’s take this one after the other. The Bible instructed tithing and in fact accepted the monetization of such tithes for convenience sake. But we observed that God was particular about where this should take place. Verse 23 says you shall consume your tithes in the presence of God in the place which He will cause his name to dwell. We shall assume that is a church even though Apostle Paul was later inspired to teach that God doesn’t reside in buildings. And Jesus also said wherever two or more are gathered in His name, he is present. I know the Bible didn’t foresee we would be spoilt for choice like this and have abundance of alternatives when it comes to where we would cause his name to dwell in Nigeria.
Verse 24 reiterates God’s desire that tithing should be carried out where He wants and where His presence is. Verse 26 without mincing words says that after converting your tithe to money, you should buy whatever your heart desires in fact, alcohol permitted, to rejoice with you and your household in front of the Lord. Verse 27 is perhaps where giving to God’s Ministers out of the tithe first came to the fore. Because they are chracteristically poor and unlike your nowadays General Overseers that fly private jets like child’s play, God admonishes you givers of tithes to remember His Ministers and not neglect them in the merry making He commanded you to make of your tithes. In verse 29, another reiteration again. Levites are poor. Don’t forget them in this celebration. Don’t forget the needy too. The fatherless, the widows… etc.
You’d never find a more comprehensive passage on paying tithes in the whole of the Bible than this. Malachi 3: 8-10 has nothing on this. It was God merely expressing concern about that Deuteronomy verses not being followed.
Now if your pastors have never broached this part of the Bible since you’ve been paying your tithe to him or her, he or she is a thief. It is not an oversight. Nobody wants you to be more enlightened than them. Not somebody that feeds off you anyway.
Deut 12: 32. Whatever I command you, be watchful to do it. You shall not add to it or diminish it.