““Bring the entire tithe into the storehouse so that there may be food in my temple. Test me in this matter,” says the LORD who rules over all, “to see if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until there is no room for it all.” - Malachi 3:10 NET
Is the tithe a commandment or a nice thing to do?
A HOLY COMMANDMENT
The first time we see the word “tithe” is in Leviticus 27:30;32:
“‘Any tithe of the land, from the grain of the land or from the fruit of the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord… All the tithe of herd or flock, everything which passes under the rod, the tenth one will be holy to the Lord.’”
Tithe means one-tenth of earnings. In early history, these earnings were things such as grain, produce, or livestock. We learn here that the tithe is holy, to be used for His kingdom.
“‘See, I have given the Levites all the tithes in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they perform—the service of the tent of meeting.’” - Numbers 18:21 NET
The tithe was a salary for those who worked in the temple. The same is still true — we are commanded to tithe to help those in the employment of the church. And, the tithe is still just as relevant today.
“‘Then you must come to the place the Lord your God chooses for his name to reside, bringing everything I am commanding you—your burnt offerings, sacrifices, tithes, the personal offerings you have prepared, and all your choice votive offerings which you devote to him.’”- Deuteronomy 12:11 NET
FOR THE CHURCH
Tithes are NOT sacrifices. I think we see tithes as sacrifices, or burnt offerings, which are irrelevant on account of Jesus’ sacrifice. But, these were completely separate from the tithe, with their own regulations. Also, God reaffirms here that the tithe is a commandment, not a suggestion. Finally, God commands us to tithe where His Name resides. We don’t get to choose to hold on to our tithe and use it to further His Kingdom however we see fit. The tithe is for the church leaders to use however they feel God has lead them.
Every church has uses for the tithe. Maybe your church has a missions ministry that supports missionaries across the world. Or maybe you have an older church that needs repairs/upgrades. O, there may be a stress on the staff and they need to hire more staff. Or perhaps your church has a huge debt that needs paying off. All of these are legitimate uses for the tithe. But, none of it can be accomplished without your tithe.
According to healthresearchfunding.org, only 3-5% of those who give do so with a regular tithe. So how do we change that?
1) Pray. Pray that God would show you a way to make room, or that He would carry you through difficult times when money gets tight. And for those who do tithe, pray that God would convict those who aren’t tithing, that He would calm their fears and carry them through difficult times.
2) Budget for ten percent of every paycheck to be tithed. In 1 Peter 4:10 we are called to use our blessings wisely — and a budget can help accomplish this.
3) Test the Tithe. In the passage from Malachi, God tells us to test Him in the tithe. Try it — see if God doesn’t carry you through, or show you a way to eliminate difficulties.