Shoud Tithing Be Considered As Worship

Tithing as worship

Tithing as worship? That’s the question we should be asking ourselves. I mean really why should we care?

If it makes common Biblical sense to do: we should do it. If not: then we shouldn’t. Right? So in this post I wanted to really break down the merits of tithing and its role in the worship of God.

Disclaimer: it’s my hope that as we talk about tithing we’re talking about money. There are some interesting things people put in the collection box. For more info on that check out Tor Constantino’s post on Stuff Christians like: 6 Things Not to Tithe. Things like Tootsie Rolls, coupons from the Sunday circulars, and Monopoly properties may not sit well with the person trying to count it. :(

But back to business…(Mike cracks knuckles, stretches fingers, and sits up in chair.) alrighty then…let’s get started!

Does Tithing REALLY Honor God

The Bible says,

“Honor the Lord with thy substance and with the firstfruits of all thine increase. So shall thy barns be filled with plenty and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.” (Proverbs 3:9-10 KJV)

Two things we want to look at in those 2 verses:

  1. The word “honor”
  2. The concept of firstfruits

That word “honour” is the Hebrew word “kävad” and it means “to be  heavy, be weighty.” In this context it means to ascribe to God weight or weightiness. For example, He’s “awesome” “impressive” “noteworthy” and “highly esteemed.”

In the New Testament the word strongly correlates with the Greek word “dóxa” or “glory.” This glory radiates from God’s presence and is associated with His acts of power. It also means assigning highest status to God. This “glory” has many places in the New Testament.

It showed itself in Christ:

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory (dóxa), the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 KJV)

In Christ it showed God to the world:

“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory (dóxa) of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6 KJV)

It belongs to God alone:

“Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory (dóxa) to God. And he was eaten by worms and died.” (Acts 12:23 NKJV)

Eventually the whole world will acknowledge it:

“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory (dóxa) of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10-11 KJV)

It will light the new Jerusalem:

“And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory (dóxa) of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.” (Revelations 21:23 KJV)

So when we honor God with our substance we have the privilege of

  • Assigning the highest status to Him.
  • Showing how highly esteemed He is.
  • Declaring how awesome He is.
  • And ascribing to Him weight or weightiness.

One of the greatest examples of God’s glory and the offering that resulted was with the birth of Jesus. The three wise kings gave their gifts joyfully:

“Then the star appeared again, the same star they had seen in the eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the place of the Child. They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time! They entered the house and saw the Child in the arms of Mary, His mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped Him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh.” (Matthew 2:10-11 MSG)

Were they under the Law? Were they under compulsion?

Of course not!

Their giving flowed out of their worship.

It wasn’t mandatory or forced.

These three kings bowed under the glorious weight of the newborn King and ascribed greatness to Him with their gifts. Doesn’t seem like such a bad thing to me?

Tithing as worship is similar to that: not feigned, prodded, or forced.

Let’s get down to the First fruit

“First fruit” is a Hebraic concept where a part is representative of the whole. In the Greek the word for first fruit is “Aparche.” The word is derived from two Greek words: “apo” (from) and “arche” (beginning). The early church writers, who were Jewish, were quite comfortable in using the illustration to explain spiritual truths. They so understood the power of first fruits that they used its illustration again and again.

It was used to show the Holy Spirit as a foretaste of future glory:

“For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits (aparche) of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.” (Romans 8:22-23 NKJV)

Paul used it to showcase Epaenetus, the first convert in Asia:

“Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits (aparche) of Achaia to Christ.” (Romans 16:5 NKJV)

It was used to show that Christ is first among all believers:

If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits (aparche) of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die , even so in Christ shall all be made alive . But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits (aparche); afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming. (1 Corinthians 15:19-23 KJV)

Paul also used it showcase Stephanas, the first convert in Greece:

“I urge you, brethren—you know the household of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits (aparche) of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints.” (1 Corinthians 16:15 NKJV)

James used it to illustrate us as being the first new creations of God:

“Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits (aparche) of His creatures.” (James 1:18 NKJV)

And John used it to illustrate those redeemed to and for God:

“These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits (aparche) to God and to the Lamb.” (Revelation 14:4 NKJV)

Hmmm….so it’s obvious that God places a high value on this “First fruit” thing. Wouldn’t you agree?

 

God ALWAYS Wants To Be First

God demands to be first. And He makes it a practice of honoring those people who keep Him first. Cain learned this the hard way.

When Cain and Abel brought their gifts to God the reason God accepted Abel was because Abel gave God his first (and best) whereas Cain didn’t:

“One day, Cain gave part of his harvest to the Lord, and Abel also gave an offering to the Lord. He killed the first-born lamb from one of his sheep and gave the Lord the best parts of it. The Lord was pleased with Abel and his offering, but not with Cain and his offering.” (Genesis 4:3-5 CEV)

They both gave sacrifices because the Bible says that Abel gave “a more excellent sacrifice than Cain.” (Hebrews 11:4 KJV) It’s not that Abel’s lamb was better than Cain’s produce; what was better was Abel’s heart in that He found God “weighty” enough to be given the best.

When Israel forgot this they lost an easy battle. When Joshua was about to take the city he warned the people:

“And you, by all means abstain from the accursed things, lest you become accursed when you take of the accursed things, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. But all the silver and gold, and vessels of bronze and iron,are consecrated to the Lord; they shall come into the treasury of the Lord.” (Joshua 6:18-19 NKJV)

All the substance of the city was to be dedicated to the Lord. God wanted Israel to know that everything first belongs to Him. But when Achan made the mistake of taking what belonged to God the camp paid and ultimately He paid.

It wasn’t that God wanted them to have nothing, He wanted them to make Him first. The plan was for Him to have Jericho and they have everything else. We see this when they took Ai:

“For Joshua did not draw back his hand, with which he stretched out the spear, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai. Only the livestock and the spoil of that city Israel took as booty for themselves, according to the word of the Lord which He had commanded Joshua.”  (Joshua 8:26-27 NKJV)

It boils down to this: God is great King and as a result He must be honored first. That’s why tithing is seen as worship with God.

THIS is what Really Honors God

So does Tithing honor God? Yes.

Is it the money that honors Him? In a sense. The real thing that honors Him is what the money represents: the heart. Jesus said:

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:34 NIV)

It’s never been about the money, God has always been after the heart of humans. He knows the value our hearts place on money and substance. He’s been around here a while you know ;)

He’s always wanted His people to have a heart for giving. Even in the Law, He commanded the Levites who received tithes to pay tithes. Or give a tithe of the tithes. Why? He wanted EVERYONE to be involved in the process of giving. He didn’t want anybody to be so “privileged” that all they did was receive.

And because He’s so generous there’s always a special place in His Heart for generous people–for Tithehackers:

“Let each one [give] as he has made up his own mind and purposed in his heart, not reluctantly or sorrowfully or under compulsion, for God loves (He takes pleasure in, prizes above other things, and is unwilling to abandon or to do without) a cheerful (joyous, “prompt to do it”) giver [whose heart is in his giving].” (2 Corinthians 9:7 AMP)

So what do you think does tithing honor God? Can we see tithing as an act of worship?

Would love to hear your thoughts…

 

email
"Hey, I like this! How do I sign up?"
Oh that's easy...

Enter your email below and click "subscribe!"


Comments

  1. You’ve gone to get lengths to get your point across and I find that quite commendable but I somehow get the impression you’ve relied more on your personal conviction than followed scripture.

    For instance, the title of the post and your main verse of scripture are so at variance. The firstfruit and the tithe do not mean the same thing and as such Proverbs 3: 9 -10 makes no reference to tithing in any way, shape or form. And the command to offer firstfruits was only given to the children of Israel of the Old Testament and not to the New Testament church. The Old Testament firstfruit was a type and shadow of Christ and He’s fulfilled this in the New Testament.

    Tithes on the other hand were on paid on agricultural produce alone; crops and livestock and never money. The only time money is associated with the tithe is in the event someone wanted to buy back their tithes, they were supposed to pay its monetary value plus 20%. The other time was if the venue of the tithing banquet was too far, one could convert their tithes into money and spend every single penny of anything one liked. If the bible included money as something one could tithe, all of these would have been impossible.

    And this brings me to your statement that God wanted everyone in Israel to tithe; that is incorrect. Since only crops and livestock could be tithed, God only required tithes from farmers alone. The farmers tithed to the Levites who in turn tithed to the priests. The Levites and priests were only allowed to collect tithes because they were barred from owning property or doing any form of secular work. The remaining 11 tribes on the other hand were barred from approaching the temple. This no longer exists in the New Testament as every single believer is a king and a priest and is allowed to approach God’s throne.

    God bless

    • Hi Tony,

      As the first commenter on Tithehacker I did want to take a moment and tell you welcome. It is truly a pleasure having you! :)

      I have heard every argument imaginable as to why the church shouldn’t tithe and so I wont waste your time by trying to contradict anything your saying.

      I will say this: if you don’t feel lead to tithe (operative word “lead”…of course by the Holy Spirit) then don’t. I wouldn’t advise it. This site doesn’t exist to beat anyone over the head about tithing or giving to God. What this site is about to stir up a revolution of radical giving–the kind the Christ and the apostle exemplified in the earth.

      I realize this site is not going to be for everybody…and that’s ok.

      But I do wish you well and thank you for being the first to comment.

      God bless you as well!

  2. Hi MHolmes,

    Thanks for responding to my comment and welcoming me to your blog. I hear what you are saying but I fear that this kind of approach to doctrine is based on personal experiences rather than on scriptures and that can lead to all sorts of errors.

    A perfect example would be the inclusion of the gentiles in the early church. Peter witnessed the early gentile converts receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit but this was not enough, the apostles had to search scriptures to see if anything about the conversion of the gentiles was mentioned.

    One can be ‘led’ to do all sorts of things but do we check this leading against scriptures to see if it stacks up? Being led to give a certain percentage of one’s earnings is not a bad thing but the problem is redefining scriptures to suit our personal conviction. The bible is crystal clear on what the tithe is and it never extended to money, so if we claim to be led to tithe then the way we do it has to be in agreement with scriptures.

    Giving 10% of what you earn is most certainly not tithing and it makes you no different from him that gives 8%, 5%, 50% or 0%.

    Also, I would like to reiterate what I said earlier, you’ve taken Proverbs 3 completely out of context; the tithe and the firstfruit are not the same thing. And being led by the Spirit does not mean we should ignore scriptural context.

    I’ll drop off here.

    God bless.

  3. Great points and passages! I totally see tithing as an act of worship.

  4. I quite agree with Tony Isaac. But I also do enjoy what the author is trying to stir up. I think we all ought to be extremely careful in our interpretation of scripture because there’s always that temptation to get all subjective rather than objective. So I believe while it might not be totally clear to us whether tithing should be financial or not, I think when it’s done in the right conditions it would be God-glorifying. And to those who choose not to tithe…well…all the best :)

    • Fola,

      Thank you for your honesty. Like I told Tony, tithing isn’t for everyone. And I love your ending: “And to those who choose not to tithe…well…all the best :) I may use that soon

  5. Well done, Mike. I thought you laid it out very well. I also believe all of scripture would back up the fact that absolutely everything we have, including ourselves, is to be used to worship or sacrifice unto the One we belong to.

    I also believe the verse in Proverbs is referring specifically to the law as spelled out in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Also, in Deuteronomy it spells out plainly that the tithing was for more than crops and livestock. (grain, wine, oil.)

    The tables that Christ overturned in the temple courts was done out of the injustice being done by the mammon seekers selling or trading sacrifices to present unto the Lord to the ones who had traveled far to get there and weren’t farmers.

    As far as percentages go on tithing based on NT interpretations, I think Christ spelled out very plainly when he said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put in more than all the others. [4] All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

    God himself made it clear that giving wasn’t about the amount, but about the heart… There was never a question of whether to give or not, it’s always been about how much…

    The entire NT is sprinkled with stories of Paul taking up collections for those in need. Giving of what we value before God reveals the heart. And as King David said, “It all comes from Your hand.” True love the way God defines it is always about sacrifice… and He started with His son as the example.

    Excellent post, Mike.

    • Personally Floyd I think tithing is baby stuff. A starter point. The more I research and read into this and realize how much God gave the more I see that it is like training wheels. I’m impressed that you read through the entire post…I’m equally impressed by the long comment accompanying it lol!

      I’m glad for your great comments and insight Floyd!

      Be blessed :)

Trackbacks

  1. [...] how does honoring God with our substance put us back in [...]

Speak Your Mind

*