TITHES AND CHARITY To Tithe or Not to Tithe
Tithes and charity are two very distinct types of offering; one is given to God while the other is an offering to the poor or needy. These two types of offering depict the love we have for God first while the second commitment is to help the needy thus fulfilling the second great command to love your neighbour as yourself (Matthew 22:39; Mark 12:31).
The article will discuss how tithes are derived from, and how charity has been recognized as a virtue and fostered by religion throughout history. Tithes had been first offered by Abraham, commanded by Moses and carried out by the Israelites.
Some Christians are confused over the issue of giving tithes or charity or both. They have to understand the meaning of the terms and when or how to apply them. Giving of tithes and charity are both commendable, but there is a definite difference. Giving of tithes is the tenth part of anything; a tax of one-tenth, especially of the yearly proceeds from land and personal industry, payable for the support of the clergy and church.
Tithes pertain mainly to the support of the clergy and church. One does not tithe to the general public as such. Charity, on the other hand means love of one's fellow, one of theological virtues; liberality to the poor; alms-giving; an act of kindness; good will; liberality of judgment; tolerance of faults and offences, a foundation or institution for assisting the poor, the sick or the helpless.
The question is whether one supports the church by giving of tithes or giving just to charity when one does not appreciate it when the money given to tithes is misspent and wasted on unnecessary or frivolus things.
ORIGIN OF TITHING IN SCRIPTURE
After God gave Abraham victory over his enemies in the rescue of Lot, he met Melchizedek king of Salem who brought bread and wine, he blessed him and gave him tithes of all (Genesis 14:18-20). Abraham was thankful to God for his victory over his enemies. His was the first example of tithing and God chose him for his faith in Him. Abraham was fully blessed and the Israelites were blessed for his sake throughout the generations. Out of David, his descendant came the Messiah from whom all nations are blessed.
LAW OF TITHING CAME FROM MOSES
When the Israelites reached the Promised Land, the eleven tribes of Israel were given distributed land for inheritance but not to the Levites, the priesthood was not given any land. Their sustenance was from the tithes given by the eleven tribes. Tithing was Israel's moral obligation to God for the blessings of their hands. The livelihood of the Levites was completely dependant on the tithes.
John 1:17 states: "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."
Moses introduced the tithe in the Levitical priesthood in Leviticus 27:30: "And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or, of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's: it is holy unto the Lord."
Verse 34: "These are the commandments, which the Lord commanded Moses for the children of Israel in mount Sinai."
Numbers 18:24: "But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the Lord, I have given to the Levites to inherit: Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance."
THE LEVITES CHOSEN AS PRIESTS
Aaron and Moses were descendants of Levi, the third son of Jacob. Only Aaron was chosen to be the first High Priest of God. Only his descendants could be high priests while the other Levites were helpers to the priests (Numbers 3: The Levites' service).
Substituted in place of the firstborn children: Numbers 3:12, 41-45;8:14-18; 18:6.
Set apart as ministers of religion: Numbers 1:47-54; 3:6-16; 16:9;26:57-62; Deuteronomy 10:8
Aaron and his family were set apart as priests: Exodus 28:1; 29:9;
Numbers 17:1-4; 18:1
Cities assigned: Joshua 21
Tithes withhold: Malachi 3:8-10 "Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation."
The word "charity" is used in the New Testament only, and in the Revised Version is always translated love. The common usage for charity is good will to the poor or almsgiving. To give to charity is highly commendable for it shows that one has a loving and merciful heart thus fulfilling the next most important commandment to love our neighbour as ourselves. When a person is in need and has nowhere to get help, that person would be grateful to God for getting someone to care for his or her needs. God moves the heart of the merciful to help the helpless and poor in society.
Charity has a double meaning, love to others in a non-monetary way and almsgiving which supply food, money etc. to fulfill the needs of the poor.
HISTORY OF CHARITY IN BRITAIN
The earliest charities go back nearly nine hundred years. One of the earliest is the Hospital of St Cross in Winchester which was founded by Bishop Henry de Blois, a grandson of William the Conqueror, in 1136. The Hospital still looks after old people and provides bread and ale to passing travellers who demand it.
Until the nineteenth century charities were largely established as the result of bequests made in the wills of rich merchants, and others, charitably minded or with perhaps half an eye on an easier passage through the pearly gates. As a result most towns have an almshouse or two housing elderly, but always respectable, men and women. Many schools were also established as the result of the result of charitable bequests.
In "Topic Giving," Brian O'Hagan writes:
"This year marks the 400th anniversary of the legal birth of charity in the UK, the point in history which modern charities in Britain owe their ancestry."
THE VIRTUES OF CHARITY
Paul in I Corinthians 13:1-3: "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. (v.2) And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing: (v.3) And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing."
David in Psalm 41:1: "Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble."
Proverbs 28:27: "He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse."
Matthew 19:21: "And Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me."
You must contribute to charity as well as pay your tithes which is a tenth of your produce because you wish to be grateful to God for He has continued to bless you. Abraham was the perfect example of faith and God blessed him for his faithfulness and gratitude. We should be no less grateful than Abraham. As for contribution to charity, we must follow the second great commandment spoken by Jesus in Matthew 22:37-40.
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind (Mt. 2:37).
This is the first and great commandment (v.38).
And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself (v.39).
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (v.40).
To not tithe is to not support the priesthood. So if you are a member of a church, how can you not support your church? If you have issues against your church, should you not pray to God to change the situation? Should you not pray for the welfare of the church instead of turning to other commitments? How the church spends the tithes is the prerogative of the church board. The members have no right to question the decision. Likewise, the church has no right to question how each member spends his earnings.
OBEY GOD AND FOLLOW THE EXAMPLES OF THE BIBLE AND YOU WILL NOT BE WRONG.
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Tithes and Charity
Do you know that tithes and charity are two distinct types, one is to God, and the other is to Man?
Do you know that if you love God, you tithe and if you love Man, you give to charity?
Do you know that tithing is one tenth of your earnings and as for charity, there is no fixed sum.
- Is Tithing a New Testament Principle?
Have your ever studied asked,
- ARE CHRISTIANS COMMANDED TO TITHE?
Tithe: A tenth part, especially as offered to God; Abraham presented a tithe of war booty to the Priest-King of Jerusalem, Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18-20). Jacob pledged to offer God a tithe of all his...
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