Why Do We Give?
Well, money is a key way in which we can respond to God. When we give to God, we are really giving back what is already his. When we give to God, we are recognizing his generosity to us in delivering us from evil. When we give to God, we are supremely expressing our adoration to God for his greatest gift, Jesus Christ. Paul writes: "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich." (2 Corinthians 8:9).
In the Old Testament, the minimum amount required was 10% and that extended to everything they owned (see Leviticus 27:30) The 10% was also used to support the Levites, the priestly tribe - who, in turn, had to give 10% of what they had received. To withhold the tithe (10%) was to steal what rightly belonged to God. In addition, when the people of God were blessed, they responded to give on top of their 10% their gold, silver and jewels.
Now you may say that doesn't apply to us as it's part of the Old Testament law. But surely, in the New Testament, we have seen that God has been EVEN MORE generous in sending us his Son. If anything, then, our response should be even more abundant. And we forget that Jesus endorsed tithing - see Matthew 23:23. If it was good enough for him..... The New Testament doesn't spell out the need for tithing because it had already been covered in the Old Testament - the only Bible the early Christians had. Of course there are some New Testament teachings which cancel out what was taught in the Old Testament - but you'll look in vain for one canceling out the principle of giving 10%. We'd do well (without getting legalistic about it) to use the Old Testament amount of 10% as a standard to measure ourselves against. We who have had our sins forgiven for ever, and who have come to know God personally through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead - can we outdo the people of the Old Testament?
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