"Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need."
On the topic of tithing and the Christian obligation towards it, circles of the faith have long been divided into two factions- one that believes that tithing is required and one that believes that it is not. What is tithing and are Christians required to participate in the returning of the tithe?
The tithe is understood to be the tenth of output, historically translated to be crops and yield, that God asks be returned to Him. It is mandated by Mosaic law and mentioned various times in the Old Testament. But in the New Testament there is no direct mention of it.
Today, the tithe has been contextualized to be ten percent of a person's income to be given into a storehouse- a local church that one gets feeding and membership from. This belief however is not accepted by all Christians. There are those that argue that the tithe is no longer required by God. Is the tithe really required?
Obliged or cheerful giver?
Often we think of giving as a requirement, but God's Word is clear about what our attitude towards giving should be. 2 Corinthians 9:7 tells us, "Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."
More than the obligation, the amount, the percentage or the rules, what God refers to first is the heart's content. The matter of the heart is the heart of the matter. It doesn't matter how much we give if our giving doesn't stem from an attitude of delight and worship unto God.
How much does God deserve?
James 1:17 reminds us, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." Everything we have comes from God and all we have received He gives freely as gifts. Not wages that we deserve, but gifts we are rewarded despite our unwillingness to walk in God's ways.
So if the one hundred percent we have are purely out of grace comes from God and all He asks of us is to give back ten percent, wouldn't it be natural for us to be willing to return such a small portion?
The tithe is never mandated in order to gain God's favor. God blesses and gives favor based simply by faith. But the most natural response to God's generosity would be to respond in the faithful and worshipful returning of ten percent or even more to God.