Should we tithe during the pandemic?
Tithing was introduced by God at the beginning of his relationship with mankind. We find in Leviticus 27 the rules for offerings and tithes set up by God himself.
Lev 27:30,31 ERV “A tenth of all crops belongs to the LORD. This means the crops from fields and the fruit from trees—a tenth belongs to the LORD. So if you want to get back your tenth, you must add one-fifth to its price and then buy it back. ”
In these passages we find a tenth of all our increase is to be given to the priests in our case, the local church we are members of. If for some reason the person had to take the offering back, he owed 5% interest over the tithe when it came time to pay it back.
Gen 26:1 -5 ERV Now there was a famine. This was like the famine that happened during Abraham’s life. So Isaac went to the town of Gerar, to King Abimelech of the Philistines. The LORD spoke to Isaac and said, “Don’t go down to Egypt. Live in the land that I commanded you to live in. Stay in this land, and I will be with you. I will bless you. I will give you and your family all these lands. I will do what I promised to Abraham your father. I will make your family as many as the stars of heaven, and I will give all these lands to your family. Through your descendants, every nation on earth will be blessed. I will do this because your father Abraham obeyed my words and did what I said. He obeyed my commands, my laws, and my rules.”
Gen 26:12-14 ERV Isaac planted fields in that place, and that year he gathered a great harvest. The LORD blessed him very much. : Isaac became rich. He gathered more and more wealth until he became a very rich man. He had many flocks and herds of animals. He also had many slaves. All the Philistines were jealous of him.
We see in the above passage that Isaac was living in a time of famine, tolerated by the Philistines, yet he planted fields anyway. He sowed what seed he had, and the Lord brought the increase.
Many say that was for the Old Testament only, not for the New Testament. Let’s look at some New Testament verses.
Matthew 22:15-21 we see Jesus being tempted by the Pharisees. They ask him if it is right to pay taxes to Caesar or not, being that they were Jews, not Romans. He asked for a coin and then asked whose picture was on the coin. He told them to give to Caesar what was due to him and to God what belonged to Him. It was obvious that tithing was still being done by the Jews as they did not argue about that.
Luke 6:38 ERV “Give to others, and you will receive. You will be given much. It will be poured into your hands—more than you can hold. You will be given so much that it will spill into your lap. The way you give to others is the way God will give to you.”
Luke 18:12 I fast twice a week, and I give a tenth of everything I get!’ (they were tithing)
Paul admonished the churches to give from their heart, not as a religious act. It is our choice to give from our hearts or to hoard the money.
2Corinthians 9:6-12 TPT Here’s my point. A stingy sower will reap a meager harvest, but the one who sows from a generous spirit will reap an abundant harvest. Let giving flow from your heart, not from a sense of religious duty. Let it spring up freely from the joy of giving—all because God loves hilarious generosity! Yes, God is more than ready to overwhelm you with every form of grace, so that you will have more than enough of everything—every moment and in every way. He will make you overflow with abundance in every good thing you do. Just as the Scriptures say about the one who trusts in him: Because he has sown extravagantly and given to the poor, his kindness and generous deeds will never be forgotten. This generous God who supplies abundant seed for the farmer, which becomes bread for our meals, is even more extravagant toward you. First, he supplies every need, plus more. Then he multiplies the seed as you sow it so that the harvest of your generosity will grow. You will be abundantly enriched in every way as you give generously on every occasion, for when we take your gifts to those in need, it causes many to give thanks to God. The priestly ministry you are providing through your offering not only supplies what is lacking for God’s people, it inspires an outpouring of praises and thanksgiving to God himself. ”
Paul also got to the root of our giving life, it is one of our own conscience.
Galatians 6:5-10 TPT Every believer is ultimately responsible for his or her own conscience. And those who are taught the Word must share all good things with their teacher; a sharing of wealth takes place between them. Make no mistake about it, God will never be mocked! For what you plant will always be the very thing you harvest. The harvest you reap reveals the seed that was planted. If you plant the corrupt seeds of self – life into this natural realm, you can expect to experience a harvest of corruption. If you plant the good seeds of Spirit-life you will reap the beautiful fruits that grow from the everlasting life of the Spirit. And don’t allow yourselves to be weary or disheartened in planting good seeds, for the season of reaping the wonderful harvest you’ve planted is coming! Take advantage of every opportunity to be a blessing to others, especially to our brothers and sisters in the family of faith!
In answer to the question, yes we should still tithe
Most of us have been affected in some way during 2020. Some with loss of jobs, health, homes, even loss of life in our families. It has been hard for all of us. Businesses closing, no usual normality of life has caused great stress on all of us. Yet, the Lord has not changed. He always responds to our giving. When Isaac was placed in a land of famine, he sowed anyway, from what he had. God blessed him and actually made him rich! Does that happen to all of us? No, only to those who consistently give to God and others. Increase is born out of a giving heart. Our giving opens doors for harvest to meet our own needs.
Now to the practical. God knows what we have in our bank accounts. He knows what our responsibilities are to other people and what bills we have to pay. He is not asking us to neglect our responsibilities. He is asking us to give what we can. If we have no extra money, we can still give our time to help others. Maybe we can help around the church building to save them money on cleaning or repairs. We can pray for our brothers and sisters in our church. We can help the members when possible.
There are many churches that will have to close their doors if we don’t continue to tithe. Even if it is less than usual, we can still give our best to the local church to keep them going. We are family, and families should always stick together and help each other. Those of us who can afford gasoline can offer rides to those who are not able to even afford that convenience. Let’s challenge ourselves to be the best givers we can be.
Father God, we ask that you bless our tithes and offerings. As you did with Isaac, do for us. We give freely, out of a heart filled with thanksgiving to You for our provisions. We know you will bless us as that is who You are. In Jesus’ Name, we pray, Amen.