Means and Mode of Tithing
Worshiping with your tithe can be one of the most rewarding aspects of honoring God. Those who have this revelation often find great joy in their giving. When increase comes they set aside the first ten percent as belonging to God. We tithe on the increase. If there is no income then no tithe is given. Gifts and offerings may be given if one desires but the tithe belongs to the increase. We see where the scriptures teach a tithe was to be given off the increase; “Honor the Lord with your possessions, and the first fruits of your increase; so that your barns may be filled with plenty and your vats overflow with new wine” (Prov. 3:9-10). Abraham gave a tithe to Melchizedek after the young men had eaten their portion (Gen. 14:24). The portion the young men ate was not considered an increase for Abraham, so he did not tithe off of their portion. Deuteronomy 14:22 directly instructs God’s people to give off of the increase.
For most people increase comes through earning of salaries, gifts, and blessings. In an agricultural society there were certain items that were considered expenses and not increase. The cost of the laborers or sharecropper was not part of the increase. The portion the canker worm ate was not considered an increase. However, the portion the farmer received for himself for food and the harvest after the sharecropper was finished was considered the increase. In our monetary society, we can reason to the same conclusions. A salary or commission is easy to figure as increase. It is your weekly, by-weekly, or monthly income or as blessings arrive. Some incomes from farmers and business come over a period of time.
When someone owns or operates a business they often receive an income or salary from the business so that would be their primary increase. The business also may produce an increase called profit. Income minus expenses equals profit in a business. A business man or woman is not expected to tithe off the total sales of their business, but rather on the profits of the business at the end of the quarter or year. If they receive a salary, of course that portion taken for themselves would have already been tithed off of during the year. Some business may very little profit until sold years later.
There are those who teach that since tithing was agricultural under the Old Covenant and we use money so tithing does not apply to us. However, if tithing is from the increase of blessings then it does not matter if it is received in one form or another. We see where God gave instruction in Deuteronomy 14 for the use of the tithe and if it was too far to travel to Jerusalem with their tithe, the Israelites were allowed to exchange their tithes for money (Deut 14:25). The exchange was then used for worship and giving to the Levites. If silver and gold can be used for tithes, then when we are blessed with monetary means of increase then it can be given as tithes as well.
To give God the first portion is to acknowledge God’s ownership. He is possessor of heaven and earth, Jehovah-jireh. It requires faith to declare the first 10 percent of all increase belongs to the Lord. When a person labors all week and receives a paycheck, he is not just receiving money, he is exchanging a portion of his life. When we bring the first 10 percent to the Lord, we are exercising faith in His ability to provide for us and our life. We are saying, “God, I believe You are my provider, therefore, I gladly release to You what is already Yours.”
A sharecropper is someone who works for a portion of the crop. If a wealthy owner allowed laborers in his field for 60% or 75% of his crop, then he would be considered generous. By virtue that he owns the crop, it allows him the right to determine how much can be kept by the sharecropper. We are God’s laborers in a world that He owns. We labor with the strength He gives us, yet He only requires 10% for Himself. He allows us to share-crop for 90%. God surely is fair in all of His dealings. When you tithe, you are declaring that God is the owner and you are His servant. It is a life of faith and dependency on Him.
In summary, we tithe first and we tithe off the increase, of salary, profits, increased profits on the sale of property, gifts, bonuses, etc. To tithe is to honor God and to show His ownership and authority in our lives. The discipline and blessings alone would be reason enough to tithe. The moment an individual becomes a tither they immediately live off of less than they make putting them intro a small percentage of people who do. This discipline alone will produce blessings.
Christians all over the world have learned the joy of worshiping with their tithe regardless of the economic conditions of where they live. The poorest of poor must learn to honor God in this way. One of the first things we teach new converts in the poorest of countries is to honor God with their increase. We know this is a means for provision and blessing in their life.
A powerful story of sacrifice and faithfulness to preach the gospel and to honor God in dire conditions is recounted by author Paul Hattaway in The Heavenly Man, Remarkable True Story of Chinese Christian Brother Yun. In this exceptional book about persecuted Christians, there is a matter-of- fact and casual mention of tithing. Yun tells of how Christians worshiped God with their tithe in the worse conditions of persecution. Even while in prison in China, earning 30 cents a month, the believers saved up their tithe to be able to give to God once they were out of prison. With great joy they honored God with their small increase. Once again it shows the uniformity of believers who have entered into this great delight.
Jack Canfield, author of The Success Principles, How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, and creator of Chicken Soup for the Soul, has an entire chapter on the principle of tithing. In this best seller he writes to CEOs and business leaders giving success principles for life. He opens up Principle 61, with Malachi 3:10 on tithing. He writes, “Tithing—that is, giving 10% of your earnings to the work of God—is one of the best guarantees of prosperity ever known.” He states, “Many of the world’s richest individuals and most successful people have been devout tithers.” Canfield tells of Robert Allen, best selling author of Nothing Down and The One Minute Millionaire, and how Allen became a tither. After building wealth and losing everything he had, Allen made a commitment to not leave God out of his life and to begin tithing. He told himself, “Either I believe in tithing or I don’t. If I believe it, I’m going to tithe every week. I am going to figure out what our income is that week and write my check that week.” Canfield gives Bob’s testimony that, “as he became a dedicated tither, suddenly a whole new world opened up for him. Though his debts were almost insurmountable, he became more grateful for what he had. Soon, new opportunity started flowing to him.”
God is not a slot machine for us to get because we give, nor does He offer points in righteousness for tithing. However, He has promised to bless those who honor Him. It is over an aggregate of life where we see tithers who live a full and blessed life. It does not mean they will not struggle or go through lean times, but it changes their perspective and over the long haul, God provides abundantly. King David once said, “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread” (Ps 37:25). In all our years we have never met one person who regretted tithing. Tithers are worshipers and worshipers put God first. Test God and see (Mal 3:10).
1 Paul Hattaway, The Heavenly Man, Remarkable True Story of Chinese Christian Brother Yun, (Lion Hudson. Kindle Edition, 2010-12-24), 213.
2 Jack Canfield, Success Principles, How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be (New York, Harper Collins, 2005), 413.
3. Ibid, 415.