(1 Corinthians 16:1-4)
In various places across this blog I have posted information about the financing of the Christian church.
I know that many in the church these days tithe and give offerings because that is what they are taught by their ministers and pastors. And there is no doubt that if a church is to operate it needs the financial funding to do so. Even those who hire local halls must have the money to hire and provide the needs of the church for the running of the church.
But the mechanism of the Christian church is not tithing. In this section of scripture Paul shows us how the giving process in the church ought to operate.
Tithing was a requirement under the laws of Moses. It came about when the Israelites came into the promised land and the land was divided up amongst the twelve tribes of Israel.
But the tribe of Levi, who were the tribe that the priests came from, did not gain an inheritance in the division of the land. No one but a Levite was permitted to be a priest under the law and God said that He was their portion and their inheritance.
But of course if they had no land, they could not produce food or any agricultural produce. So how were they to survive and eat?
What God provided for them was the tithe. In the law the Levites had a law saying they could take ten percent of the produce of the other eleven tribes, and this was to be their portion. And the rest of the tribes had to pay it.
In essence it was a tax and an exaction given by the people to the Levites so that the Levites could do the work and service of the temple. They administered the laws of God as given by Moses and so they were in effect governors of the people…at least that was how it was supposed to work until the people of Israel rebelled and sought to have a King.
So tithing was a tax identified in the law. And the tithe to be paid was not money but was a tenth of the increase in produce, flocks, herds and agricultural products.
Nowhere in the bible is money identified as an acceptable for of tithing. The reason why, is that what the tithe actually is, is where the people give back to God through the tithe, some of what He has blessed them with. Money is not of God. It is an invention of man to facilitate trade and so it is not an acceptable mechanism for tithing.
New Covenant Financing
Now when Jesus came and established the new covenant at His death, He paved the way for man to be set free from sin and also to be set free from the law.
We are not under law when we enter into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and that includes the law of tithing. That is why tithing is not part of the teachings of the New Testament.
But the church still needs funding to run, so there needed to be a method of funding it.
And the method is through freewill giving.
Unlike tithing, giving under the new covenant is a freewill choice. You can give as little or as much as you like…even nothing at all if you don’t have the resources. And of course if the Lord has blessed you with much, then you can give bountifully as well, more than the ten percent tithe.
We saw these things occurring in the early church and we se a good example here in the actions of Barnabas.
34 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold 35 and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. 36 Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, 37 sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet. – (Acts 4:34-37)
The disciples sold up whatever they did not need or offered what they could afford so that the church could provide for those who were in need.
And the means by which the church was later financed, as we see in the verses under review today is the same. And what Paul has described is a process to make it easier for those who had agreed to give something.
1 Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. 2 On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come. 3 And when I arrive, I will send those whom you accredit by letter to carry your gift to Jerusalem. 4 If it seems advisable that I should go also, they will accompany me. – (1 Corinthians 16:1-4)
So today when we give to the church, make it a freewill offering. There are a lot of reasons why it is important that you do this rather than tithe, too many in fact to include here. But I have written a free eBook on the subject of tithing in the modern church, which will open a lot of people’s eyes.
There is in fact a danger in tithing that can lead you away from the truth, out of the new covenant and can separate you from Jesus Christ. It is not a matter to be taken lightly. If you would like to read the book, you can find it here.
A freewill offering is also a blessing for the Lord Jesus taught us that it is, “much better to give than to receive.” This is a better way rather than tithing, which was an exaction or tax that had sever consequences under law if not paid, rather than an offering with a blessing.
You might also like:
Self Righteousness And Healing On The Sabbath
Paying Taxes To Caesar
Straining Out A Gnat And Swallowing A Camel
Render To Caesar The Things That Are Caesars
The Lesson Of The Widows Mites
Do You Give Expecting To Get
Two Copper Coins
Giving For Jesus
Christian Giving Vs Tithing