In this article I address old covenant tithing vs new covenant generosity and how the church should handle offerings.
Should You Tithe?
No, you shouldn’t, you should be generous though. You are under no obligation to give any percentage of your income as a qualification for atonement, favor or blessing under the New Covenant.
There is no penalty or curse for not giving. You’re free!! Plain and simple. There is no law to keep, but you do have a new heart that is designed for generosity. In fact, generosity from this new heart tunes the rest of your being to hear and follow God into blessing and long life. Generosity produces a harvest that affords you to be a blessing any time you want to.
2 Corinthians 9:6 Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed
God loves a grumpy giver too, he’d just rather you be happy about it. Happy giving reflects a heart that trust in God for provision instead of a heart that feels like it’s losing something by giving money away.
Should You Give?
Yes, generously! Why? To take care of widows, orphans and those in legitimate need. You should also give toward the work of ministry. You should do those things as you’ve purposed in your own heart rather than out of guilt or obligation. Check out Paul’s thoughts on church members giving to their local body.
1 Corinthians 16:1 Now about the collection for the Lord’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. 2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. 3 Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem. 4 If it seems advisable for me to go also, they will accompany me.
Paul is encouraging the Corinthian church to give a fixed percentage of their income on a weekly basis. It should be used to support those preaching and teaching as well as for those in need in the church. Those collections should also be designated for missions to spread the Gospel.
By the way, this a very straight forward article, I’m highlighting Paul’s thoughts about money under the New Covenant. It’s up to you how you incorporate these facts into your personal financial life.
I know many of you don’t have a church you can call home in your community. We humbly invite you to be part of our online church body, we’ll do our best to stay as connected as possible, but you’ll have access to all the same resources as our local body.
What is your relationship with money? How do you see it? What does it mean to you? How do you feel when you have more than enough money? How do you feel when you don’t have enough?
How you relate to and handle money can help you understand where you are in your heart toward God. Do you trust God as your provider, or money? Give some away and see how you feel about it, do you feel like you have less now, or do you feel happy you were able to give. “Both” is not an acceptable answer ;-)
Jesus promised that God would meet your needs. Paul promised that God wants to meet them according to his level of wealth. God wants to be your provider, that’s just a simple fact.
God is seeking to bless you to the degree that you have more than enough so you can be a blessing to the church and to other people, not necessarily in that order.
Proverbs 3:9 Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce. 10 Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine.
Tune Your Heart to God’s Voice
You can use money as a tool to tune your ear to his voice and your heart to his leading. He will always lead you into life and blessing.
So why do you not have more than enough right now? Maybe you have mishandled money. Maybe you don’t understand that provision is a spiritual issue. Maybe you’re stingy. Maybe you live in an area where it’s difficult to make a decent income. Maybe the cards are stacked against you some other way. All of those things are issues of the world’s system but God is bigger than all those things. God can make a way where there is no way. In fact he’s trying to so so right now, just go ahead and let him.
You don’t earn or qualify for provision and blessing because you give, but you do teach your heart a lesson. The lesson is that you don’t have to hold on to money to meet your needs. Blessing others and supporting the work of ministry is more important than holding on to money. A righteous man leaves an inheritance to his grandchildren, but both realities can exist simultaneously.
Releasing money as your source of provision doesn’t make God want to bless you more, it simply causes your mind to think about money like he thinks. Giving money away to bless others and support ministry is a process of repentance. When you give away your money you are teaching your physical and soulish being that you trust God more than money.
Proverbs 11:24 One gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds what is right, only to become poor.
Every Believer Should Be Part Of A Church
I know, some of you cringe at statement. This is an idealistic statement but it’s something that we can work our way toward. I know it’s hard to find a good church, keep looking. These days being part of a church online is easier than ever. I do hope you have a group of believers to fellowship, worship, pray and do ministry with.
A healthy church where everyone is giving generously has plenty of money to accomplish the ministry assignment for that body. If everyone gave it would be able to take care of the needs of the members of that church. That body of believers could also support ministry outside of their body for missions or humanitarian work.
It would be wise for that church to still hold to principles like “you don’t work, you don’t eat” and “the hand of the diligent is made rich.” It would also be wise for this to be done in local churches rather than the whole church at large, otherwise you end up with another Vatican.
Paul’s Thoughts On Offerings
I’ll give Paul the final word on how Christians and churches should handle money. He’s writing to the Corinthian church about money and offerings. Paul uses the Macedonian church as an example, as well as the churches in Achaia.
Churches…by the way. The early church had local bodies that gathered regularly, took up offerings, paid their teachers/elders and did the work of the ministry. Some folks think that kind of organization wasn’t happening in the early church, but it was.
The Macedonian church took up a large offering for Paul and his co-laborers and he was asking the Corinthian church to do the same thing. This offering was primarily going to support the church in Jerusalem because they were in financial trouble and couldn’t support one another and the ministry was suffering. The Jerusalem church previously pooled their money and possessions but apparently that didn’t work long term, so Paul was collecting money to help them. There are several insights and lessons in these verses. What stands out to you?
2 Corinthians 9:6 Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; 9 as it is written, “HE SCATTERED ABROAD, HE GAVE TO THE POOR, HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS ENDURES FOREVER.” 10 Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; 11 you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God. 13 Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all, 14 while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
When Christians are generous, setting aside a percentage of their income weekly, the collective body of Christ works better. There are personal benefits to generosity and there are collective benefits for the body of Christ. If the world could see Christian’s take care of each other, they’d want Jesus too.
The Church Is The Answer
If every Christian put a percentage of their income toward the more of ministry the church at large to solve world hunger, build more hospitals, provide healthcare for people, spread the Gospel to every single person on the planet and a host of other good things. I realize this is an idealistic thought but Jesus did pray that God’s will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
Be generous!! For your own personal benefit, to glorify God, to help take care of others, to support ministry, to pay ministers, to provide buildings for the equipping of the saints…the list goes on and on.
You are more than welcome to give to Forward Church. We will use it responsibly, Biblically and fruitfully. I make no empty promises of return, I simply thank you for your investment into this ministry. We have lots of work to do and your help is appreciated. A one-time or recurring gift would be fabulous!