Freely giving a Tithe is a Biblical pattern for believers today
We see two occasions in the Bible where people make offerings to God before the law came through Moses. Abraham met up with a Priest call Melchizedek. Melchizedek blessed Abraham and Abraham gave him a tenth of all the goods he had recovered from a battle (Genesis 14:19-20). Jacob who lived before the law also promised to give God ten percent (tithe) of all that God gave Him as an offering.
God made it a requirement under the Law that all the Israelites (except the tribe of Levi) give a tithe of all they earnt. In Leviticus 27:30 God prescribes that “One-tenth of the produce of the land, whether grain from the fields or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord and must be set apart to him as holy.”
The purpose of the tithe was so that one tribe of Israel, Levi could look after the affairs of the temple. In Numbers 18:21 God says, “As for the tribe of Levi, your relatives, I will compensate them for their service in the Tabernacle. Instead of an allotment of land, I will give them the tithes from the entire land of Israel.”
In the New testament we see the Apostle Paul instruct Timothy that, “Elders who do their work well should be respected and paid well, especially those who work hard at both preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain.” And in another place, “Those who work deserve their pay!” (1 Timothy 5:17-18).
Again in 1 Corinthians 9:13-14 the Apostle Paul draws upon the same principle. 1 Corinthians 9:13-14 states, “Don’t you realize that those who work in the temple get their meals from the offerings brought to the temple? And those who serve at the altar get a share of the sacrificial offerings. In the same way, the Lord ordered that those who preach the Good News should be supported by those who benefit from it.”
As Christians, we are no longer under the requirements of the law, but we see that the church has a similar need – people to give their full attention to growing the Kingdom of God. There is no specific teaching in the New Testament on what amount to give although Jesus endorses the practice of tithing in Luke 11:42 and we have the examples before the law and the law itself to see God’s desired standard. Imagine if everyone in the church tithed. In a congregation of 200 people you would have 20 full time paid staff. Unfortunately, this does not take place and most churches that size only have 2 or 3 staff who are not all full time. We believe the kingdom of God would rapidly advance in our area if we had 10 or more full time staff.