Tithing is a major part of Christianity today. Whether your church passes a plate, has a box on the back wall, or takes up offerings, we’ve all heard it. We’ve seen the ministers on TV preaching the better you ministries. The concept is always the same: the more you give to God, the more you’ll be blessed. If you’ve ever been in the spot like I was, not having enough money for your bills but having been raised that you had to pay tithes first and ‘God would make it all work’, this is for you. God as always has a clear and beneficial plan for his children. While God blesses those who give to others and believe in Him, tithing is something that seems to wrongly be placed on the forefront.
Most of us grew up believing that tithes started with Abraham’s tale and blessing and a tenth of his wealth which was given away. He made an agreement with God to be obedient and that God promised innumerable offspring, judgment on those who would subdue his children one day, the financial gain from that, and considerable land.. God never once asked or implied that Abraham would need to pay anything out of the wealth God gave him. Abraham wouldn’t take spoils from others. At one time, Abram enlisted 318 male servants from his household, armed them, and pursued Chedorlaomer to rescue his nephew, Lot. After returning victorious with Lot and the spoil taken Abram wanted everyone to know his portion, his wealth, and everything he had had come from the Lord. Because of this, the wealth from spoils of war was paid to the labors of servants and the other soldiers but submitted the excess to the King of Sodom, where his nephew lived (Gen 14:18-20). He gave a tenth to Melchizedek, based on the tradition in the Mesopotamian area of taxes to rulers to be of ten percent, which has later been termed a “tithe” meaning tenth. Later, Paul touches on this giving from Abraham in the New Testament, so we’ll come around to this story again in a later section.
Abraham doesn’t work as a basis for tithing, since his promise from God for wealth did not require tithing. Abraham was blessed many times over by God with only his faith and obedience to God as payment, as his way of sacrifice for the blessings that were given. The only time he gives a tenth, or tithe, to anyone is in the excess acquired from someone else’s wealth, not the blessings given to him by God. If we want to be blessed as Abraham was blessed, the first promise we are given from God comes from a life of obeying His Word.