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Tithe/tithing: The meaning
Tithing, tithes and offerings - thoughts based on the Bible.
A time honored tradition of offering a percentage or portion of your earnings to God out of obedience and thanks.
 
Copyright by: Chris Czach Hidalgo
Saturday January 25, 2003
 
Brief history

For thousands of years humans have believed in a greater power much more awesome than themselves. From this faith, worship and beliefs have developed many gods, religions and "ways" of life. Many of them still around today in one form or another, but few over the centuries have insisted that the followers of these beliefs give willingly to their higher power through tithes and offerings regularly.

 

Examples of tithing

One such example of tithing stems from Adam and Eve; the people include the Israelites (the chosen people) and the Christians (followers of the Christ - Jesus of Nazareth). Throughout the Bible (which is a collection of history books) followers of the great "I Am" (a.k.a. the one with no name - "the one who was, is and always will be") have given gratefully to their creator, the "one true God" out of faithfulness and obedience.

 

Test God on this

If you were to study the Bible carefully, there is one unique fact about tithing that separates such a calling from virtually every other request made by God. You see, tithing (tithes and offerings - the giving of a percentage of all that you own and/or make throughout life) holds a special distinction in the Bible that is not true of any other request made by God.

Regarding tithing, in the book of Malachi (the last book of the old testament) God very clearly challenges us to TEST HIM on this by saying,

 

"Bring forth...the tithes and offerings..." "Test me on this, 'says the Lord Almighty,' and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it."

- Malachi 3:10 (New American Standard version)

 

Read in context

I suggest you read several paragraphs before and after this verse on tithing to ensure I have not taken the verse out of context, but I'm convinced I haven't taken it out of context.

 

Significant verse

Can it be any clearer? A very significant issue associated with this statement is the fact that this verse is the ONLY verse in the Bible where God not only allows you to test him, but he suggests it himself! Such an offer is not found within any other passage in the entire Bible. That's pretty significant if you ask me. Obviously he's made a point that's very dear to him.

 

Be careful testing God

By the way, I don't recommend testing God in any other way, and this essay is in no way a suggestion of any kind to do so, so you're on your own.

Let's face it, tithing inherently is difficult for those of us who work hard for our keep, our money and our possessions. It appears as though tithing produces nothing more than proof of a religious loyalty to one's belief. But, according to the Bible (God) much more will befall the person who submits to this request regularly.

 

Ulterior motives

I think it's equally important to note that it's possible that if a person begins to tithe with ulterior motives, such as one driven by greed, the "floodgates" MAY not open as mentioned above. But in saying that, I am in no way speaking for God and his kingdom on that matter. That is only my opinion based on what I suspect may be the case and I may be wrong making the statement regarding greed... Chances are that God will use your tithes and offerings for his purpose regardless of the state of your heart and mind. I think I have to volunteer that information.

 

Associated blessing

Anyway, the book of Malachi goes on to explain in greater detail the blessing that will follow those who diligently and willingly offer a tithe to their "one true God" out of faith and obedience. We are not robots, so we have the choice of discounting such a challenge and request as "futile." That is our prerogative. What is yours?

My personal experience with the concept of a tithe is, for lack of a better way to explain it, disobedience. I knew what the book of Malachi said about tithing but for years did not practice my faith. I now implement such a concept out of conviction and a desire to be more obedient to God than to prosper, although I have to admit, to prosper would be nice.

 

Standard percentage

The Bible discusses tithing throughout many of the books and most people offer ten percent of their earnings because that's the standard. That "standard" percentage is taken from books as early as those written by Moses (the first five books of the old testament - Genesis, Exodus...). Ten percent of everything they owned was to be given to God as his. The premise is that God blesses you with more than what you need and part of that excess is to be given back to the one who gave and allowed you to receive in the first place. Common courtesy, I think.

 

God's promise to you and me

God promises throughout the Bible that he will provide you with all that you need (not necessarily what you want, although I know that happens a lot too). I have found that God blesses his followers in ways other than what we expect, so I suggest you not set your heart in any one particular method of blessing (i.e. money, possessions...), but blessing in general. I believe "general blessing" includes things and concepts such as wisdom, discernment, faith, love and things like monetary wealth, prosperity in business, etc.

The only way to find out what blessings are in store for you and your family is to test God on this. Why not? He told you to test him.
 


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