What is Tithing?
Tithe literally means one tenth. Giving a tithe was a common practice throughout the ancient world. The first tithe we see in the Bible is with Abram in Genesis 14, prior to the Law. Then the Law prescribed what Israel was supposed to give back to God, which included not only the first portion of the produce of the land, but also the first born of all livestock (Lev. 27:30, 32, Num. 18:27, Num. 18:28, Deut. 12:17, Deut. 14:22, Deut. 14:23, Deut. 26:12, 2 Chron. 31:5, 2 Chron. 31:6, Neh. 10:37, Neh. 13:5, Mal. 3:10, Matt. 23:23). The principle of giving the most special, or first fruits of man’s labour back to the Lord, is threaded throughout scripture (Kelly, 2000).
Is Tithing a New Testament Principle?
The principle of tithing continues in the NT, but the law of tithing doesn’t. Jesus fully endorses the giving of the tithe in the gospels, as though giving was a natural rhythm of life in relationship with God. But He shifted the emphasis from the ‘law’ of giving to the ‘heart’ of giving.
Tithing Through the Lens of Grace
In Luke 11:42 Jesus prods at the calloused and religious hearts of the Pharisees, revealing their inability to understand the love and compassion of God for His people. He tells them that they should tithe, but that tithing without loving and caring for people is total hypocrisy. The love and goodness of God should have been what motivated them to give generously of their money, but also of their time, energy, love and service to others.
Why do we tithe @ BBC?
• Tithing/Giving is a Response to the Gospel
We are theologically convinced that tithing remains a scriptural principle for us as the body of Christ to follow, from the heart. We believe that our attitude towards money reveals how deeply the gospel has taken root in our hearts. So, as a gospel-centred church we never want to give out of a sense of religious duty (legalism), which fuels our own self-righteous tendencies, but rather in response to all that God has given to us (grace). We follow what Paul called us to do as a church, to give generously and cheerfully as an outflow of our belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 9: 6-15).
Legalism says, “I will give God 10% of my self-made income, so that I am right with God in this area of my life.” Legalism attributes the goodness in giving to me.
But Grace says, “God provides for all of my needs, spiritually and materially, so I freely and cheerfully give the first of everything I have back to him, in gratitude and submission, declaring my utter dependence on him for life, breath and everything else. Grace allows me to say “THANK YOU Jesus and I trust you!” Grace attributes the goodness in giving to God.
• Tithing is an Act of Worship
Jesus knew what a strong hold money has on our hearts, that we treasure it far more than we should. He knew that it is impossible for us to worship (devote our time and attention to) both God and money at the same time (Matt. 6: 21-24). Whether we know it or not, we are always making a choice of who/what to worship. Tithing is one way that we are able to consciously put God first in our lives in an area where we are easily tempted towards idolatry.
Idolatry always robs us of our joy and true satisfaction, because it tries to substitute that which can only be found in Christ. Giving continually teaches us to hold our finances with open hands, acknowledging that everything we have is given to us by God (1 Cor. 4:7 & James 1:17) and is to be used for his glory.
We use 10% as a guideline to help us aim towards radical and disciplined giving. If the law dictated 10% as the minimum, how much more should we who live by the grace of God be free to give? Since we are stewards of God’s money, we should be committed to being self-controlled and intentional with our finances, so we are able to tithe freely and also give generously to anyone who is in need (Gal 2:10, Matt. 6:3-4, James 2:1-17).
For some people giving 10% will be a stretch, and a goal to work towards. God wants us to be faithful and free in our giving, so it’s important to start somewhere. For others 10% will be comfortable and so you will be stretching yourselves even further to excel in generosity (2 Cor. 8:7). Being generous reflects God’s heart, and shows a delight in the knowledge that we can never out-give God.
How and When Should I Give?
As a part of the BBC family we want you to be consistent and have a clear-conscience in your giving to the Lord. We encourage you to commit to a monthly payment via EFT which makes it easier and safer for us to manage. Rest assured that the money you tithe to BBC will be well-stewarded, under the governance of the Elders, in a God-honouring and transparent manner.
*KELLY. R. E, 2000. Should the Church Teach Tithing? [Online] Available at: http://www.tithing-russkelly.com/id11.html [Accessed 1 April 2012].