Why did the Jewish people provide tithes? It was dedicated to the care of Levitical priests as they performed animal sacrifices in the presence of God (Numbers 18:21-26). They were used for feasts and also given to assist the poor. People made pilgrimages to Jerusalem every couple of years to honor those tithes. The Jews gave crops and livestock for tithes (Leviticus 27:30; 2 Chronicles 31:5). It is ironic that we do not really see pastors imposing these kinds of requirements on their audiences. If these people are going to be consistent, then they might as well throw away the New Testament and convert to Judaism.
What are Christians supposed to give? The Apostle Paul answered that question in terms of "according to the desire of their hearts" and "not under compulsion" (2 Corinthians 9:7). He makes no mention of a fixed amount of a person's income. The rest of the New Testament epistles are silent concerning tithing. God loves a cheerful giver because he or she is giving from the heart. That kind of giving finds its root in love.
One must act in a manner that is financially responsible when it comes to making these kinds of sacrifices. For example, a man may have a family that he is obligated to provide for. 1 Timothy 5:8 says, "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." It would be arrogant of us to presume that God would "catch" us every time we make foolish choices. If a pastor says to tithe, then do not listen. He is guided, not by Scripture itself, but by church tradition which distorts the meaning of Scripture. The tithe was something specifically tied in with the land of Israel.
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