What are the benefits of tithing? Is it just a responsibility we have as Christians? Or is there something more?
Tithing is an important ritual that Christians do in church. 10% of my income should go to the church, I was taught. I confess I struggled with it. It was hard for me to offer my money to God.
I question why Christians MUST tithe. Why can’t I decide where my tithe goes to? Why a tenth? What is the significance of the tithe?
As the years go by, I learnt more about the benefits of tithing. Now, I do it with a deeper understanding and not as a responsibility, a duty to fulfil.
Benefit 1 – Giving Thanks with the Tithe
The first mention of tithing in the Bible is in Genesis 14:17-20,
17 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king’s dale. 18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most High God. 19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: 20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.Genesis 14:17-20
The Hebrew word for tithes here is mah-as-ayr (Strong’s number H4643). It is defined as a tenth.
Verse 20 said that Abraham gave Melchizedek tithes of all the spoils of war he won against the kings of Shinar, Ellasar, Elam and Goiim. That means he gave one-tenth of the spoils.
When Abraham tithed to Melchizedek, he agreed that it is the
In the same way, I tithe out of a heart of thanksgiving. It is not MY money. God supplied the money to me. By tithing, I acknowledge that my supplies come from God. I acknowledge not just with words but in action too.
When I prepare my tithe, I thank Abba God for supplying all my needs according to his riches in glory. (Philippians 4:19). Monthly tithing gives me an opportunity to thank God each month.
Benefit 2 – Giving to God what belongs to Him
The Commandments the Lord gave to Moses at Mount Sinai in Leviticus 27:30-34 mentioned the tithe,
30 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s: it is holy unto the Lord. 31 And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof. 32 And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord. 33 He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he change it at all, then both it and the change thereof shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed. 34 These are the commandments, which the Lord commanded Moses for the children of Israel in mount Sinai.Levitcus 27:30-34
Verse 30 states that the tithe BELONGS to the Lord. The title is from both the seed and the fruit of the tree, as well as from the herd and flock. The seed needed for sowing. The fruit from the harvest. The beginning and end of our production cycle.
Verses 31 to 33 described the holiness of the tithe. God discouraged exchange and redemption regarding it. This reminds me of people who want to donate their tithes to worthy causes. They believe it will be a better use of their money. It sounded like a reasonable thing to do, especially when the church is already doing quite well, or when there is distrust in the church’s leadership.
But the tithe belongs to the Lord. God is the one who made it holy. We don’t have to redeem it or exchange it according to our human understanding.
Abba God can deal with what belongs to Him. I don’t have to help Him. My part is to tithe my portion.
Benefit 3 – Flowing with the Lord’s use for the tithe
Deuteronomy 14:22-29 describes the use of the tithe of the increase.
22 Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. 23 And thou shalt eat before the Lord thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the Lord thy God always. 24 And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the Lord thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the Lord thy God hath blessed thee: 25 Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the Lord thy God shall choose: 26 And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the Lord thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household, 27 And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee. 28 At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates: 29 And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.Deuteronomy 14:22-29
Verse 23 to 26 instructs the giver to bring 10% of his increase before the Lord, not to give it away, but to celebrate together with the Lord.
It shows the loving heart of God. The tithe is His, yet He gave it back to the giver. To enjoy them in the place where His name abide.
Where does God abide now?
4 Abide in me, and I in you.John 15:4
On top of that, the tithe of the third year is to be shared. Abba God
Is not our modern-day church doing that? The tithe supports the activities of the local church and our church workers. The local church also supports the less fortunate in our communities.
The tithe goes to the local church.
Benefit 4 – Declaring Jesus broke the curse of the Law with the tithe
Have you heard of this teaching? “If you don’t tithe, God will curse you. “It is based on Malachi 3:9,
8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. 12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.Malachi 3:8-12
How can a man rob God? By withholding tithes and offerings according to Malachi 3:8-12. This sounds serious.
But, the curse didn’t come from God. The world is under the curse because of Adam’s sin. The world I live in now is a fallen world. Everything I touch or produce is cursed. As a result, work is back-breaking and harvests are not guaranteed.
Malachi 3 looks more like God setting up the tithe offering to remind us that Jesus has broken the curse. Romans 11:6 states,
16 For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches.Romans 11:6
The tithe is basically a tenth or the first fruits. When I give a portion to God, He made the rest holy. The devil cannot touch what is holy, let alone steal it. This is God’s kindness towards me.
This is comforting because I was one of those who had a scarcity mentality. I thought that I will have less when I tithe. I guess I did not fully understand how good God is. My focus is the little I had in my hand and not on the fullness in God’s hand.
God promised to rebuke the devourer so that “it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes“. I see that as a protection of the work of my hands. What I do will come to fruition and have a great impact.
Benefit 5 – Tithing to remind ourselves Jesus is our overflowing blessing
In verse 10 of Malachi 3, God made a promise. Tithe and break the curse. He promised to “open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.
I used to interpret this passage as God promising overflowing blessings but Shane, a visitor left a comment correcting that. The blessing is singular.
What is this singular blessing then? Shane argued that the tithe is an OT type for Jesus. What a powerful revelation. Jesus is God’s overflowing blessing.
Jesus Christ came and broke the curse. I find this passage very touching. God is speaking to a recalcitrant group of people who did not obey Him. Yet, he promised to pour out Jesus. God know these people disobey Him because they did not have the revelation that Jesus is His overflowing blessing. We cannot outgive God.
This is bigger than my salary. I have received much more. Much much more. What is a tenth when I have Jesus.
Benefit 6 – Declaring Jesus is great and alive with the tithe
In Hebrews 7, Apostle Paul recounted and interpreted the first tithe by Abraham to Melchizedek.
7 For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; 2 To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; 3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.
4 Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. 5 And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham: 6 But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises. 7 And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better. 8 And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth. 9 And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. 10 For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.Hebrews 7:1-10
In verse 4, Abraham, the Jewish patriarch demonstrated Melchizedek’s greatness by giving him a tenth of the choicest spoils.
In the same way, when I tithe, I acknowledge that Jesus Christ is great. The person I give money to have great stature. I honour Him.
In verse 8, Paul explained that even though the tithe is received by mortal men, it is also received by Jesus in Heaven. When we tithe, we are also witnessing that Jesus is alive. Who would give real money to a dead person?
I find the idea that Jesus is alive and has the power to do mighty things with my little tithe exciting. It gives greater meaning to the little act of placing the tithe envelope into the offering bag.
Benefit 7 – Knowing that Jesus is God’s Tithe
1 Corinthians 15:20 refers to Jesus Christ as the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. He is a tithe Himself.
20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.1 Corinthians 15:20-22
God tithed Him to make the rest of us holy. He rose, so all of us will rise with Him.
The truth that Jesus Christ is God’s tithe could be the most important benefit. My salvation is anchored on Christ’s finished work on the Cross.
When I tithe, I am called to remembrance that Christ is God’s tithe to make me holy.
18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.James 1:18
Believers are called firstfruits in both James 1:18 and 1 Corinthians 15:23. We are a tithe too. Through us, we shall reach the world.
When I tithe, I am reminded that I am a tithe too. I am the salt and light of the world. My life should bring glory to the name of God to those who do not know Him yet.
Final Words on the Benefits of Tithing
The bible verses I studied support the idea that God is the one who constituted the tithe. The principle of tithing runs through the whole Bible. From the Old Testament to the New.
The church did not make it up because they needed money. The tithe is more than giving money to the church.
The benefits of tithing IS Jesus. He is the blessing of Malachi 3; breaking the curse on the world. He is God’s tithe. He is the one who receive my tithe and multiply it for His purpose. When I tithe, I thank Him for my blessings and declare He is alive and He is great.
This short personal study on the tithe is inspired by a sermon entitled “The Benefits of Tithing” by Pastor Joseph Prince of New Creation Church, Singapore.
Find the full MP3 sermon at https://www.josephprince.com/sermons/_5UJ?sku=20001015M3