I continue to run across people today that say that ‘tithing’ is not to be practiced in our day and time. They claim that tithing is not mentioned in the New Testament and that it has passed away with the old covenant. Is this true? These well meaning people emphasize that giving is a matter of the heart and that God blesses a cheerful giver. They claim that when giving is done in the church it ought to be out of a love for the Lord and not simply a duty that must be obeyed. They claim that to encourage tithing is to fall into legalism. The people who claim tithing to be a form of legalism are usually the same people who do not think that the 4th commandment is still valid. If we put both of these thoughts together we end up with a group of people who rebel against the Sabbath and rob the local church of the necessary funds to do the work that God has called the church to do.
First, I would like to say that I agree with God blessing a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7). In many ways the teaching of the NT should compel one to give far and above the 10 percent mark. According to the NT it would be good to sell all one has and give it to the poor. If all the saints would give with a full and joyful heart the things that could be done for missions would greatly increase overnight. However, does the truth of a cheerful heart negate the reality that the saints ought to tithe 10 percent? Second, if there is one thing I know about the people of the 21st century it is that most people are undisciplined. In order for a person to tithe 10 percent each and every paycheck, they will need discipline, faith, and a resolve towards the things of God. God gave us such a discipline to guard our hearts against materialism, selfishness, and forgetfulness. When people do not tithe they readily spend money upon the material. When people do not tithe they immediately begin to believe that all the money they possess belongs to them. Thus, if they feel like it they will give a bit of it to the church. When people do not tithe they forget to trust God and be dependent upon Him for all things.
When Jesus is pronouncing judgment upon the Pharisees we find that He acknowledges the necessity ἀποδεκατόω (to tithe, collect a tithe). In Matthew 23:23 Jesus once again calls the Pharisees ὑποκριτής (hypocrites, actors, pretenders). They are acting one way and then doing another. They are saying one thing and doing the opposite. They get one side right and the other side wrong. The side that they get right is that they ἀποδεκατόω (to tithe, collect a tithe). The side that they get wrong is that they ἀφίημι (to leave, depart, neglect) matters that carry more weight than tithing. They have neglected justice, mercy, and faithfulness. They should have done these last three as well if not more so than the tithing that they were doing. Notice what Jesus is saying in the last sentence of verse 23. The English phrase from the ESV is “These you ought to have done.” In Greek He uses δεῖ which means, “To be under necessity of happening, it is necessary, one must, one has to.” Jesus is saying, “It is absolutely necessary for you to practice justice, mercy, and faithfulness.” However, you should not ἀφίημι (to leave, depart, neglect) the tithing mint, dill, and cumin.
In one verse Jesus has shown that tithing is valid and should be practiced and at the same time shown the importance of justice, mercy, and faithfulness. Notice, Jesus did not say, “You do not need to tithe anymore since we are in a new covenant.” He simply says that Christians must practice justice, mercy, and faithfulness without neglecting tithing.
I am sure that there are those who will not be convinced about tithing by my very short article, but do not tell me tithing is not in the NT. For those who have the audacity to say that it is only one verse, I would reply and say that one verse is certainly enough. I would also let you know that this is not the only verse on tithing in the NT, but I will let you try to find the others.