New Covenant Giving
“If we don’t “tithe”, how will we provide for the work of Christ??” By giving
Giving pre-dates tithing.
In Exodus 35, before the tithing laws were instituted, the children of Israel donated materials for the construction of the Old Covenant tabernacle by giving.
God did not tell the leaders of Israel to collect a tithe or a set percentage of anything from the children of Israel. It was a freewill offering (Exodus 35:4-5).
God wanted the donations to come from a “willing heart.” Not as a result of pressure or compulsion.
Notice that Moses did not lie on God by changing the freewill offering into a tithe. He was a humble man who trusted God to provide. He knew that God would provide for the construction of the tabernacle, because God showed him the pattern for the tabernacle while they were on Mount Sinai. When a work is God’s will, God WILL provide for it.
The Old Covenant tabernacle was built from freewill offerings. In like manner, God also wants us to give freewill offerings and decide how much we will give (2 Corinthians 9:7-8).
Paul wrote the passage above to Believers in Corinth. They were collecting donations for poor persecuted Believers in Jerusalem.
Notice that Paul didn’t tell them to “tithe” their income. He told them to decide in their heart how much to give, and not to give unwillingly or hesitantly because they felt pressured to give. God loves it when we give joyfully and because we WANT to, not because we feel coerced.
Notice that the passage says “. . . God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” When God’s people are free to decide the amount and give cheerfully, God generously provides ALL that we need and we have plenty left over to share. Don’t take my word for it. Study Exodus 35:20-22 and Exodus 36:2-7 to see what happened after Moses told the children of Israel to bring freewill offerings for the construction of the tabernacle.
The children of Israel gave so much that they had more than enough, and Moses had to tell them to stop!
When God’s people are free to decide how much to give, they give cheerfully, and God generously provides ALL that we need and there’s plenty left over to share. We see another example of this in Acts 4.
“All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need.” (Acts 4:32-35)
Notice that there was no sermon preached on tithing, robbing God, being cursed with a curse, or false promises that if you “sow a money seed” you will reap wealth and riches. So what was it that moved the saints to give so generously? The apostles were preaching the word of God and testifying powerfully to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. When Jesus and His gift of eternal life are the focus, it brings us on one accord and cultivates the same selflessness and love that Jesus has. We won’t have a selfish perspective of our possessions, but see them as gifts that God has blessed us with to share with brothers and sisters who are in need.
Jesus and the apostles directly taught and exemplified giving. They did not command anyone to tithe their income. They instructed us to give to the poor, the orphans, widows, and support ministers of the Gospel. Jesus even taught us to give to our enemies if/when they are in need. This is a higher level of giving than the tithe. It deals with our heart, and not a fixed amount or mechanical 10% of our income.
Some of us look around the church and wonder why so many Christians are struggling. And instead of being compassionate and helping them, some of us assume that it’s their fault and say “Oh it’s because they aren’t tithing. They’re under a curse. They have a poverty demon, etc”
One of the reasons why so many Christians are struggling is because unbiblical methods of fundraising (including monetary “tithing”) are being promoted and practiced, instead of the word of God and freewill giving. There will always be a huge gap between the haves and the have nots in the body of Christ as long as we cling to false traditions.
Some will object that “Jesus said the poor will always be among us!” And yes, He did say that. But why? Why will there always be poor people among us? Because many ‘religious’ people do not love God nor their neighbor. If we truly loved our neighbor as Jesus loves us, then we would give to one another freely and cheerfully, there would be more than enough and no one would lack.
Here are some Biblical guidelines for giving:
1. The most important guideline is to give ourselves first to the Lord as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1, 2 Corinthians 8:5).
Once we have given ourselves to the Lord as a living sacrifice, we will be prepared to do good works and give anything that He requires whether it is our time, our energy, our patience, our prayers, our money, our clothing, lodging, transportation (helping someone get to and fro), food, hygiene products, forgiving a monetary debt, and so on.
In order to have this kind of heart and mind (which is the heart and mind of Christ), we must do as Jesus commanded by denying ourselves, taking up our cross daily, and following Him. This is a higher way of thinking than thinking in terms of “10 percent of one’s income.”
If you are a born-again Believer and you are still thinking in terms of “10 percent of your income,” I encourage you re-study the 4 synoptic Gospels and prayerfully examine each instance where Jesus provided for someone. Look deeper than the monetary value of what He gave or the material item that He gave, and discern the heart, the mentality, and the motive behind WHY He gave. Look at the selfless, loving, merciful, gracious ATTITUDE that He had.
Why did Jesus give in this manner? Because He had already given Himself to the Father as a living sacrifice (the Lamb of God) and considered His life to be an offering for the well-being of others and not for the benefit of His own interests (Philippians 2).
THIS (Christ and Him crucified) needs to be the centerpiece of our giving in the New Covenant. Thinking in terms of percentages is inferior and carnal. God is not calling us to a tenth — He is calling us to take up our cross like our Blessed Savior and be a living sacrifice.
Once we have given ourselves to the Lord as a sacrifice and counted our life as an offering to glorify God and serve others, then we will be willing to give like Christ and even take joy in giving to those who slander and persecute us.
Instead of reaching back to Malachi 3 and taking it out of context to defend “10 percent” thinking. We need to immerse our minds in Matthew 6 and learn what it means to give like Christ. Most of Matthew 6 is about how to provide for others and trust that God will provide for us. If we desire to give, we must first give ourselves to God.
2. Give generously (2 Corinthians 9:6).
We tend to think of giving generously in terms of giving money, but giving generously means so much more than giving money. For example providing food, clothing, transportation, medical care, a place to stay, helping the sick, elderly and imprisoned, and dedicating our time, talents, and spiritual gifts to serving others.
Our Savior gave us an example of giving generously. He said that the measure we give will be given back to us (Luke 6:38).
Many people interpret this passage to mean that if we give money, we will reap money. God can most certainly bless us with money if He desires, but that does not mean He necessarily will. Jesus and the apostles were generous, but they did not reap money. Most Christians do not reap great material wealth, but we will all reap everlasting life and heavenly rewards (1 Timothy 6:6-7, 17-19).
In Luke 6:38, Jesus was speaking of something much more substantial than money. He was speaking of generously loving our enemies, forgiving others, and showing mercy. The measure of grace and mercy that we show others will be measured back to us by God. Our giving should be motivated by grace, mercy and love. . . not a desire to reap money and prosper ourselves.
Reaping generously means so much more than reaping money. When we give generously, we are sowing to the Spirit — and those who sow to the Spirit shall reap everlasting life. Material riches will perish. But heavenly treasures and eternal rewards will last forever.
3. Give proportionally (2 Corinthians 8:11-15).
Some religious leaders say that “10% is the minimum” or “tithing is the training wheels of giving.” False. There is NO Bible for that.
In the New Covenant, there is no “minimum percentage” or “10% training wheels.” We give freewill offerings in proportion to our income. The higher your income, the more you should give. And the smaller your income, the less you are expected to give. 10% is easy for someone who is wealthy, but it is a burden for someone who is poor and in debt. Giving proportionally is fair to everyone and brings equality in the body of Christ.
4. Give to your immediate family or household before giving to others (1 Timothy 5:8). Some of us have been conditioned to view giving to our immediate family or household as “less important” to God, “less glorious”, or a lower priority than giving to a religious organization. Nothing could be further from the truth. Taking care of our immediate family or household glorifies God and is a powerful Christian witness to our loved ones. Many Christians take great pride in giving to famous preachers and well-off religious organizations — yet they do not consider meeting the needs of their immediate family or household. Or if they do help, they hang it over their relatives’ head and bring it up at a later date. Then they wonder why their own relatives don’t want to go to church with them or hear them preach/talk about God. When people know that you care, they are more apt to care what you know, and it can open up doors to minister to them and bring them to Christ.
5. Give to the least of our brothers and sisters in Christ (Matthew 25:42-45). When we give to them, we are giving to the Lord Himself and He will reward us beyond measure.
6. Don’t give to the rich (Proverbs 22:16). Those who give to the rich will end up in poverty. Many professing Christians donate to rich preachers, only to become poorer while the wolves become richer. Rich leaders and rich religious organizations don’t need your money — poor people do, poor churches do, poor ministers do. Give to people and organizations who need it, not those who don’t need it.
7. Give graciously (2 Corinthians 8:9). Jesus gave graciously to us by making Himself poor to make us rich — not material riches, but “the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7) and “the riches of his glory” (Ephesians 3:16). The saints in Macedonia demonstrated the grace of Jesus Christ by giving sacrificially and abundantly to poor brethren in Jerusalem, even though they were in extreme poverty. No one commanded them to take a vow of poverty or “give until it hurts.” They freely and voluntarily decided to give beyond what they were able because of their love for the brethren. They considered it a privilege. It’s understandable for a wealthy person to give beyond what they are able. But how can Christians who are in poverty do this? God gave them a special grace to give beyond their ability and they were so dedicated to Him that they would not miss an opportunity to help their brethren.
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