For those who know me and read my articles you know that I do
not believe that tithing is a New Testament teaching. I hold to this
thinking for various reasons that I will not repeat now. You can
learn my reasons from other articles
When I say such a thing as "the New Testament does not promote
giving a tenth", it seems to cause such an explosion in people's minds that
they don't hear anything else I have to say on this subject. They
don't hear me tell the rest of the story.
So if you can let the dust settle in your mind from the explosion, here is the
rest of the story. The New Testament clearly teaches that we should give
"joyfully and generously according to our ability to
give.". Paul says it well in 2 Cor. 9:7. He says,
"Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not
reluctantly nor under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."
I know the context of these words. Paul is speaking about a special collection he
taking up for the poor saints in Jerusalem. Therefore some suggest that this
offering is an extra offering that was given over and above the tithe.
That's speculative because the New Testament is silent on that
point. I believe that Paul's words represent his teaching on giving. You give
what "you have decided" to give. Note "you decide to give
and how much to give". Also note we
should not give "reluctantly or under compulsion". How
many times as a child did I hear and see offering pleas lasting 20 minutes
church service. That's compulsion.
What I really want to say in this article is concerning how Jesus felt
about giving out of one's poverty. Some might say they are too poor
to give. Let's see what Jesus thinks about that.
We all know the story found in Luke 21, verses 1 through 5. Jesus
is sitting on the Temple steps. He looked up and saw this poor widow
giving her last two coins into the Temple treasury. She had no husband to support her and she was extremely poor.
Jesus praised this lady
for giving, not a tithe (10%) but all she had (100%). She was very
poor and had little chance of making money. Jesus did not try to stop
her from giving because she was poor. He did not suggest that she should
not give the next
time she was at the Temple. He simply praised her for giving away
the last bit of money she had.
What we learn here is that Jesus didnít view poverty as an excuse not to
give. This is the rest of the story. The New Testament teaches
us to give joyfully and generously according to our ability, and poverty
is no excuse not to give.