Do You Pay Tithe?
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Should you pay tithe?

I don’t think so.

Tithe and offerings

Image © Pacific Press from GoodSalt.com

I think paying tithe is a heathen practice. (Please stay with me to the end.) Here’s why:

  1. Paying tithe presupposes that I have goods or money that I wish to exchange for goods or services.
  2. Paying something (offering) to a deity in exchange for grace or favor is a heathen concept.
  3. Paying tithe is sometimes seen as a sort of “divine tax” in return for divine favor. (Who likes taxes?)

When I was just a little girl in Germany, my grandmother taught me about tithing. She taught me that the tithe belongs to God because I belong to God, along with all that is mine. But He only asks me to return a tenth portion to Him and lets me keep all the rest. And from the rest I may give offerings to show how much I love him. Sounded like a good deal to me then, and it still does.

The history of tithing is so shrouded in antiquity that we do not know just how it began, but it may be nearly as ancient as the Sabbath and marriage. The first mention of tithing in the Bible is a casual mention of Abraham returning a tithe to Melchizedek (Gen 14:18-20) whom Paul later refers to as a type of Christ. (Heb 5:6-10, Heb 7:1-9)

Just like the Ten Commandments, the practice of tithing was confirmed at Mt Sinai in the Exodus (Lev 27:30-33). It is not introduced as a new practice, but it is stated matter-of-factly that “A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord.” The tithe was devoted to the support of the Levites who were consecrated to the service of the sanctuary and had no other source of income. (Num 18:21,24) Thus, in the Christian era, the tithe is reserved to support those who are recognized by the body of believers as having consecrated their lives to the service of God, leaving them no other source of income (1 Cor 9:8-14). The tithe, because it belongs to God, is thus “holy” (Lev 27:30) and using it for our own purposes is not keeping what belongs to us, but it is stealing from God (Mal 3:8).

While Christ did not specifically command tithing any more than He specifically commanded Sabbath keeping or marriage, He referred to it when He pointed out that the scribes and Pharisees tithed even the herbs of the garden while they neglected justice and mercy and faith. When he said, “These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone,” He implicitly affirmed tithing by saying they ought not leave tithing “undone” (Matt 23:23).

The principle of tithing rests upon the fact that the Lord is our Maker, and we belong to Him by virtue of creation and also redemption. Thus all our time and possessions belong to Him as well. He asks us to reserve 1/7 of our time exclusively for Him as well as 1/10 of our material possessions in acknowledgement of His being Creator and thus Possessor of all (Ps 24:1). The tithe is also an acknowledgement of the fact that God is the one who gives us the power to make an income (Deut 8:18).

That’s why we return tithe to God; we do not pay tithe. We recognize that we are only managers or “stewards” of the Lord’s possessions. We are to manage His possessions in a way to glorify Him, the owner, not us, the managers. And I believe that the blessings promised in Malachi are ours to claim as well (Mal 3:10-12). From experience, I am quite sure that the 9/10 that the Lord allows us to keep will stretch much further with the Lord’s blessing than the whole would without His blessings. What a privilege to be in partnership with God as His managers!

The process of “testing” is generally reserved for the Lord, and the Bible warns us generally that we are not to “test God” (Ex 17:2; Deut 6:16). However, in the matter of tithing, the Lord specifically challenges His people, saying

Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. (Malachi 3:10) NIV

We have tested the Lord and found His promises true.

How about you? Will you share with us how you have tested the Lord and what the results of the test were?

And if you’ve never tested the Lord this way, why not start this very day?

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Comments

Do You Pay Tithe? — 59 Comments

  1. Concept of 1/10 and 1/7 belongs to God and rest is our is wrong and not christian position. We are bought and not belong to as selfs but all is from Christ and for Him. Only in that emptiness is our life. If we lose it we find it. In text there is two contradictions. First said that we return to God only 10 and second claim that we give to those peoples who consecrated themselves to service for God. Do you mean pastors or all administration? Are we than a laity?
    I am not against tithing or any other giving so to be clear but all that explaining is not consistent and not biblical. To quote some texts is not necessary biblical interpretation. And Jesus did confirmed sabbath by saying that sabbath is for men. Text that say about tithing is focused on pointing what is important. Jesus spoke to Israelites and they do have a part of Promised land and do giving to God

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    • Thank you for your comment, Goran,

      You wrote:

      Concept of 1/10 and 1/7 belongs to God and rest is our is wrong and not christian position. We are bought and not belong to as selfs but all is from Christ and for Him.

      You are so right! All we are and possess belongs to God. That is why it is a privilege to return 1/10 to God as a recognition of His care and His enabling us to have an income.

      And after returning a tithe to God, He allows us to manage the other 9/10 as His managers.

      On the other hand, if we do not return even a tithe, it is questionable whether we understand the concept of being managers for God, rather than outright owners of our possessions.

      However, you also wrote

      all that explaining is not consistent and not biblical.

      Rather than saying that my explanation is not biblical, please help us out by explaining the biblical position on demonstrating our recognition of God's ownership of all we possess while also financing the spreading of the gospel message.

      Can you propose a more equitable plan than the returning of a tithe to God?

      Like(1)
      • Thank you Inge for your very true and faithful witness with regard to tithing. I also do not like the term PAYING tithe, returning my tithe to the Lord is a far better way of explaining especially to Non-Adventists what is the true meaning of what we are doing.
        From personal experience I know that the Lord has blessed me so abundantly while I am faithful with my tithing and I just do not have to worry about my seeming financial dilemmas because He always provides for my needs. The abundance is when he provides some of my wants as well :)
        God Bless

        Laure :)

        Like(3)
        • This is so true. God is faithful and true. He keeps His promises to us. I am a living example of His faithfulness. We need to recognize that all we have belong to God and we should be joyful in using His gifts to bless others by returning a faithful tithe and a liberal offering. Then stand back and see how He multiplies the balance so that all our NEEDS are supplied.

          Like(2)
  2. Insightful. Just want to share my experience. For years, I used to ride a motorcycle rain and shine as I couldn’t afford a car. It was fun but inconveniencing especially when it rains, or when going to church dressed up nicely, and even when hauling groceries. It didn’t even cross my mind to ask God for a car (due to lack of faith?) but I was faithful (somewhat) in my tithing. Anyways, out of the blue, my mom leased a new car and gave me her old car. Just like that. Free car yay. I’m convinced God saw my trouble and smiled on me (because of my tithing—which he enabled me to return (not pay) in the first place.) No more riding in the rain. No more hassle getting groceries or even going to Laundromat. God is good.

    Recently, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I started tithing on my 'gross' income too (not 'net' or 'post tax'.) I want to claim that promise on Mal 3. I mentioned to my God to bless me with a Condo (as I’m currently living in an apartment.) Currently waiting patiently in faith for the fulfillment of that. Praise God.

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  3. Thank you Inge Anderson for sharing this powerful truth. When i myself came to understand that my whole existence is totally made possible by God alone, it became apparent to me the right concept of tithing. We give back or set aside 1/10 of our income that God blessed us with and enabled us to earned it and received it. If we view tithing as an amount that we Pay instead of Giving or Set Aside, then we loose that divinely given concept on tithing. The love that quickens the heart to become a cheerful Giver is also experience when we tithe with the God given concept in mind. We are blessed beyond measure to have a God who is longsuffering, merciful and abounding in grace towards those that love Him. Thank you Father, Jesus & The Holy Spirit.

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  4. I believe that like the Sabbath, Tithe is for our benefit in giving us a constant reminder and connection to the Giver of life and blessings. It remains a test for those claiming to be God's people, similar to the tree in the middle of the garden. As sinners, we need such things to help keep our focus on the reality of God's constant care and our stewardship with the means He provides.

    To this day my parents cannot explain how they made ends meet with all of us children in SDA schools. The math did not equal, yet my parents were always faithful with tithing and were able so somehow meet every obligation as we were growing up. That experience taught me to be faithful and God has proven Himself many times without fail.

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  5. Actually Inge I don't test the Lord except when I sin and then He sighs a bit and thinks to Himself, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me" (Jn. 14:9 NKJV).

    The real times I have tested God is when we had the investment projects years ago. To me and many others that was a real blessing because it usually didn't cost very much and yet one could see God working and blessing. To me it was a real faith builder. Unfortunately as a church we don't do that anymore.

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    • Yes, I remember the investment projects. While they may not be promoted "as a church" world-wide currently, any individual or local church can still benefit from this faith builder. :)

      For those of you unfamiliar with the practice, it works like this:
      You choose an amount of money or a garden space, livestock or whatever, and you invest it for the Lord over the space of a year, and then you bring it to church as an "investment offering" which goes to the support of missions.

      Churches might give out seeds -- especially to children -- to plant as an investment.

      But perhaps Tyler can share more of this particular way of "testing" the Lord the way He challenges us to do. :)

      Like(1)
      • Hi Inge,

        Thank you so much for this wonderful subject. I am glad most of the discussants understand that we actually do not PAY but simply RETURN tithe to God. The PAYING concept is the devil's idea who always wants to twist issues so that people can doubt God and accuse Him of selling GRACE.
        I have the following observation though. On the issue of blessings, much as I appreciate that God has promised to bless us when we return tithe. Many of us seem to be focused mainly on material type of blessings, especially money. This brings us to the MOTIVES of our RETURNING tithe. Are we doing it because we expect something in return? Suppose God had not put that promise in the Bible, would people still RETURN tithe? Do we return because God has instructed that we should or because we have the promise at the back of our minds? Lastly my view is that blessings could come in different forms - tangible material things, good health, long life etc. If we just focus on material things, especially money at the end of the promise in Malachi, am afraid someone might end up making shipwreck of their faith when what they expected is not what God gives. Thank you and God Bless You all.

        Like(3)
        • Hi Martin, Thanks for reminding us that blessings come in many different forms. But, as you can see from multiple testimonies on this page, it seems that God blesses materially when we return a tenth of our material increase.

          Yes, there may be times when blessings don't come exactly in the form we expect. For instance, I prayed that the Lord would "rebuke the devourer" of my broccoli and Brussels sprouts plans. I was thinking especially of cabbage butterflies. So far, I've not seen any damage from these, but something else came and ate my plants. But I'm not about to make shipwreck of my faith over this. ;)

          I think the Lord deals with us according to our experience. He knew that Job could handle a severe test. Job didn't know it, but God was honoring him by allowing him to be severely tested. I'm sure Job returned tithe, but he lost all his possessions nevertheless. On the other hand, God treats those who are just babies in the faith differently: He is particular to reward their faith in order to strengthen it. But as we get to know God better and trust Him more, He can use us as a demonstration of faith, even when we don't get what we expect. :)

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  6. I am a firm believer that when you return to
    God a faithful tithes and offering He will bless
    you financially. I remember working a job that
    paid minimum wage and giving God one tenth of
    on the gross amount of my check each pay period.
    I also returned one tenth as a offering as well.
    To my amazement I always had money, Mal. 3:10.
    I wasn't doing it to test God , I was doing it to
    prove God. My grandmother taught me as a child to be
    faithful to God and do as He commanded in His word and
    I have never ever regretted nor missed that portion I returned
    back to God.

    Like(4)
  7. Thank you so much for refocusing my thoughts on returning tithe rather than paying it. Sometimes in the list of bills to pay, tithe just become one more outflow of money ... but it is so much more than that. It is a reminder, as you said, that God allows us to use all the things He has made and all He asks is 1/10 returned in acknowledgemt of His soveriengty.

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  8. God trust's us with His money and His time, He test's us by asking us to return His portion namely one tenth of His money and one seventh of His time; both are holy and should be revered. In showing our gratitude for His graceful blessings to us we should give of our portion to Him that is our offering and the time we spend with and for Him outside of The Sabbath. We must realize that 100 percent time and money belongs to God, we are only managers and hopefully honest ones.

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  9. Just commenting re: tithing, i believe in tithing yes it is a faith thing and God loves a cheerfull giver, i am a pensioner i have nothing but i am a residential caretaker and as i get older and sicker (emphasymia & heart failure ) and i know not the future but i support my fiancee and her family in the Philippines and i tithe each week i am regularly short on tithes, i give offerings to the best i can (and i enjoy giving to missions etc.. my fiancee tithes on what i send her and her family, i told her i am better off in This country (australia ) with nothing than she is in her country (philippines ) with nothing, i believe God blesses me way above the things i realise and it never seems to amaze me how i always seem to have more than enough , my question is of the heart, i know everything i have belongs to God anyway , Ellen White wrote in Ministry of healing that it is HEART knowledge that we need although head knowledge is good for the world we live in so if we tithe (the works way) or reluctantly where is the cheerfullness in that ? 1 John 3:17 answers what God says to my heart which he is working on every day
    God Bless
    Kindest Regards
    Gordon

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  10. Wow! Inge! I love this! "Paying tithe is a heathen concept." This is awesome. Returning tithe is the gospel. Thank you so much for sharing this!

    Please let me share an experience from many years ago. I was in my early 20's, working in a warehouse doing deliveries. I had run myself into some financial issues, but had been promised a raise. My raise did not come as I expected, so I decided to withhold my tithe and pay my bills until I got my raise. I kept track of how much tithe I owed so I could pay it as soon as I got my raise. I told a friend that I felt bad I had not been able to return my tithe, but that I would return my tithe as soon as I got my raise. My friend said, "William you will not get your raise until you return your tithe." So the next week I returned my tithe. That Monday after the weekend, I went into work, picked up my paycheck, opened it and there was my raise. God was not bartering with me. He was just showing me that I could trust his amazing grace to provide for all my needs, instead of being legalistic and trying to work out a way to provide for myself.

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  11. Thanks for sharing this Inge! I completely agree. I too have seen how God rewards faithfulness. I like that concept of being managers, privileged to oversee a portion of what God owns.

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  12. I just want to appeciate this post, I think we need a constant reminder that by returning that which we've been given, God will never fail in providing our needs.

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  13. Thank you for inviting us to share our ideas. I enjoy tithing and giving offerings because I also enjoy the blessings of the Lord after all I have done doing it. I have been tithing since then faithfully. I started to give one offering plan when I was 17 yrs. old. Later I practiced 20%, 30%, 40%, 50% and 60% emulating William Colgate's way of giving to any church he wanted to. I was a lone SDA in our family. After 26 yrs. of praying and fasting God miraculously brought my family one by one to the fold. Unconsciously, I was blessed with a husband pastor and three kids. Our eldest is a nurse graduate working in Texas with 2 fine kids and a good US army husband. The second is a theology graduate, working as a youth pastor in Kota Kinabalu Intl. church, Malaysia. He is graduating on March 2014 on his Master in Ministry. Our youngest daughter is also a nurse who works as a missionary in the 1000 Missionary Movement, in Guiting, Cabuyao city, Philippines. They built a church by faith out of zero to a finished one for just 2 months. People just give until now that had reached to more or less P250,000.00. Many miracles had happened in my life after I am giving more investments for the Lord. God bless.. more stories to share.

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  14. i am a retired employee. before i gave tithes and offering.but when i lost my job, my children are now giving me enough for our rentals and bills. now i would like to ask anyone of you who believes in tithe giving. how can i give tithes and offering if the money i am receiving is just enough for our rentals and bills. how i wish that somebody would advice me regarding this matter. i really would love to give...

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    • How to give? In faith alone. Because God has promised. No other reason will stand. And yes...it seems unreasonable, but how can you prove God to be faithful otherwise?

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      • You have said something that we all should understand, you've definitely have to have faith in our Heavenly Father. He does not ask much of us, we have got to have faith, trust & believe in Him.
        God will never fail on His Promises. Let The Church Say Amen! Amen!

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    • Hey Lilia, don't worry about it. Tithe is required only from a cheerful heart...cheerful, in the sense, of those those who are gainfully employed. If you're not earning money, you're exempted. Give him your time instead and pray fervently for an easy job you can do and still make money. Then you can return your tithe. But please don't worry about this. God understands and He will still bless you. Your thought is sufficient. Focus on having a good relationship with Him for now. Believe me, that counts a hundred times better than some of us who return our tithes but don't even have a daily devotion with a savior who died for us. God help us.

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    • Lilia, I am glad you ask the question. It is,I think a very valid question. There are always endorsements and experiences given for paying or "returning" Tithe. This has been a discussion in my Sabbath School class many times. When opinions are offered they are usually founded on personal circumstances. Those that are struggling such as you, and countless others because of our current econimicle climate, I am sure, have similar questions. I would ask, how do we understand Deut. 14:22? What is an increase?
      Paul Blanke

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      • Dear Paul,

        Since the kind of tithing God wants us to do is a relationship issue, I'm sure the Lord will help you in understanding what is "increase" in your case. But I believe you will find that it does not mean "extra" after your needs are met.

        You will never be able to tithe if you wait to have "extra" money left over after paying the bills.

        God wants a chance to demonstrate that He is faithful, and for that to happen, we have to act in faith. And that means returning 1/10 to God first. The Jordan did not open up until the Israelites put their feet in the water. (Joshua 3:18)
        The man at the Pool of Bethesda did not get healed until He obeyed Jesus who said, "Take up your bed and walk." (John 5:8-9)

        If you'll review the other comments again, you'll find several examples of persons who tithed before they had "enough" money to do so.

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    • Lilia, I think you may find your answer by reviewing the testimonies of others in comments here. Pray about it, and the Lord will show you what to do.

      It might help to remember that money is made by investing time, so in a way, time equals money.

      May the Lord bless you as you seek to honor Him in your life.

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    • I so understand your plight. I believe this is where faith comes in as well as trying The Lord. I am on social security disability. My representative payee refuses to give me money to tithe. I starting taking the money given to me for other purposes and returning my tithes, doing so meant I would not have the means to meet my basic needs.

      Amazingly, I have been returning my tithes and I have what I need and more! Now I am working on giving more outside of tithing. I have complete faith that God will continue to supply all my needs.

      Like(4)
  15. [Moderator's Note: Please use full names for message author]

    Thanks so much for bringing up the issue of tithing and the expected commitment of the church. Thought I'd make a contribution hoping to get answers that I have been searching into recently. Until recently I used to strongly believed in returning the tithe but then after a bit of reading and searching had a few questions on returning the tithe post the resurrection.

    Post the resurrection, there is a deafening silence on returning the tithe, though we do have calls for giving of an offering for the sustenance of the church 1 Cor 16:1, Acts 2:44. Paul himself talked of not depending on the church for his ministry and neither do we hear of any apostle collecting of encouraging return of the tithe. I'd like to believe that there was never that encouragement for returning the tithe then for the simple reason that the apostles clearly understood the tithe as a reserve for the levites and that there was no 'new instruction' regarding the tithe. So how then do we conclude that the tithe that is returned today is for the 'levite' in the sense of the pastor. Where do we get this in the bible. Also if we do have instruction that the tithe is for those who have dedicated their lives for service, why do we exclude the lay evangelist, or the colporteur or any other worker who wants to dedicate their live to service but has no income to support their ministry.

    The jews today do not tithe and I believe they don't do so because they understand the tithe was for the levite in its literal sense and that post the resurrection there was no instruction that that had changed.

    Have we therefore resorted to having the church return the tithe simply because members are not faithful enough in giving of freewill offerings that can adequately sustain the church (read the history of tithing in the SDA church)?

    Grateful for your responses

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    • Thanks Joseph for your comments. I believe the financial structure of Seventh Day Adventists Church which was instituted through Jethro comes with God's blessings. How Levites got to benefit from the structure is equally the same as to how our mision workers are benefitting. 1Cor 9:13 clearly and openly advised that 'they which minister about holy things' whether it be colporteur, lay evangelist or field workers 'live of things of the temple'. Tithes must be 'brought into the storehouse' which is the temple (church) Mal 3:10, for the 'treasurers' 'to distribute unto their brethren' Neh 13:12,13. This financial structure has not changed and I as a Seventh Day Adventist always treasure and trust that it certainly assist every workers to fulfil this great commission we were assigned to do. I see greater wonders of returning tithes evethough I do not have much insights as to how my tithes are distributed to help the workers of holy things. Thank you God for the undeserved blessings I continued to recieve.

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    • [Moderator's Note: please add your surname - surname added from past emails]

      I don't think tithe was just for 'levites'. Abraham tithed and there were no levites back then. I think tithe is simply returning to God our maker, as managers and good stewards for what he has given us through out the ages until that day He shall come to take us home.

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    • Joseph, when does any silence in the New Testament make void the clear voice of the Old Testament? Do you know that many keepers of the Sunday "sabbath" cite this same silence on Sabbath keeping in the New Testament as evidence that the Sabbath is no longer the "Lords Day"? We have God's directions given in the first 5 books of the Bible and the rest of scripture does nothing to change that except as it is clearly revealed. Malachi still speaks today and until the end of this world, or it doesn't speak at all.

      We should also keep in mind that the newly organized church of the 1st century was being led to what it has become today. The Holy Spirit was given to lead the Church into "all truth", and it didn't come all at once. Many times issues would arise that would open up new truths to accept and follow, and still today this takes place, and will continue for eternity. We can't look at the past for our experience today, or there would be no advancement. God is leading forward, not backward. Pastors today fill the place once held by the Levites of the past. They are recognized and set apart with no way to make an income apart from tithe. Lay ministers can operate as self-supporting and would not be required to have the same singleness of purpose as a church supported pastor will. Still, they can be just as effective, and yes, it would be nice if there was enough tithe to release them from all other cares. But that is not yet the case.

      God still commands us to not rob Him, because that silence in the New Testament also doesn't tell us it is no longer required to give tithe. The New Testament makes it clear that the Passover sacrifice has ended with Jesus' death, and the Levitical priesthood no longer in service, with every believer now a part of the priesthood as a witness for the Gospel. Circumcision is no longer required, and is clearly stated. Same with the ceremonial sabbaths and feasts, etc. But with tithing, silence. So I must believe that God has not changed His desire since it was last stated in the Old Testament, in Malachi, the last book.

      We cannot look to the modern day Jews for our guidance and Paul clearly states that we are not to muzzle the ox that treads the corn, and that the workman is worthy of his wages. He did not ask for support from the church due to the fact they would not have understood the concept of tithing at that time due to common circumstances they were confronted with by less than honest people. (Paul was also growing in faith and perhaps today might think again about that policy, but we don't know for sure.)

      Like(1)
      • The tithe was for the Levites. The Levites received from the tithe, but today pastors & workers receive from the tithe and then the tithe is taken from their pay packets before they even receive their salary.
        1) the Levites were tithe-exempt
        1) if it is about trust in God, why is it deducted at source? That's basically giving someone something, and then taking it back, to give to them again to take it back again. They have no say.

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        • Mark, What church or denomination withholds the tithe from the pastor's pay checks? I know the Seventh-day Adventist Church does not do this, as I as a Bible Worker, and my pastor friends all pay our own tithe as it is not deducted from our paychecks we receive from the conference.

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        • Hi Mark,
          Could you please share how you got the idea that the Levites were tithe-exempt?

          I read in Numbers 18:25-29 ESV

          25 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 26 “Moreover, you shall speak and say to the Levites, ‘When you take from the people of Israel the tithe that I have given you from them for your inheritance, then you shall present a contribution from it to the Lord, a tithe of the tithe. 27 And your contribution shall be counted to you as though it were the grain of the threshing floor, and as the fullness of the winepress. 28 So you shall also present a contribution to the Lord from all your tithes, which you receive from the people of Israel. And from it you shall give the Lord's contribution to Aaron the priest. 29 Out of all the gifts to you, you shall present every contribution due to the Lord; from each its best part is to be dedicated.’ 30 Therefore you shall say to them, ‘When you have offered from it the best of it, then the rest shall be counted to the Levites as produce of the threshing floor, and as produce of the winepress.

          To me this says pretty clearly that the Levites were to offer a tenth of their income (which was derived from the people's tithe) to the Lord. In the same manner, today the pastors, up to and including the General Conference President, return tithes just like the newly baptized person.

          As for tithe being deducted at source - I believe that's a convenience, largely for the benefit of the conference. (By having 10% less going out, they have to have 10% less in the conference checking account.) I know that this has been done in some places, but I'm guessing that any pastor who wished to return his own tithe would be allowed to do so. (Certainly one would expect that the pastors who have the duty to teach tithing principles would themselves tithe.)

          However, I am concerned that your explanation regarding giving/taking back by the conference appears to indicate that you feel that tithe is returned conference, rather than to the Lord. With that mind set, tithing degenerates to a mere form and/or duty and does little to strengthen our relationship with the Lord.

          Rather, we need to return the tithe to the Lord through the channel the Lord has ordained. Once we have turned it over, it's no longer our concern. It's the Lord's concern. If those who are part of the "channel" misuse the tithe, He will require an accounting of them, not us. When the widow whom Christ highly commended gave her two mites, the whole system was corrupt to the core. But that did not change the fact that she gave her two mites to the Lord, and He took note of it. And I'm sure she received a blessing. And millions have been blessed by her example since then.

          Like(3)
  16. Thank you Inge, I also want to share my experience. I was not born Adventist so tithing was strange to me. But after I learned more about God, I was impressed to test the truth of the miracle in tithing. By faith, my husband and I started tithing looking to see how our usual expenses will overcome us. But to my surprise, the usual monthly expenses came and went but we never felt we were lacking because of the tithe. Just as a bill would come, money from somewhere else would come in. At first, I imagined it was just timing but then its been 9 years and I still see this miracle happen every month. One time, I forgot to return the tithe, the effect was quick, that same month, somehow I had a hard time making ends meet, I have to use overdraft protection and had to pay interest. I am an accountant and this thing makes no sense at all. And over the years, the family expenses has been going up (it never goes down!) God has been continually blessing us with generous employers. I praise God for His faithfulness!

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  17. Thank you, Inge, for pointing out the difference between paying and returning tithe. I firmly believe we are to return our tithe not so that we can get a blessing, but because it is God's money and to do otherwise is stealing from Him. It is all His money, of course, but He graciously only requires the tenth. The rest we are to manage for Him. The wonderful thing is that, though we do not deserve it, He rewards our faithfulness in tithing by opening the windows of heaven and pouring His blessings on us. Let me share how He has done this for us.

    About 3 years ago my wife and I were going through a difficult time. My job was threatened, things were tight, and we were losing the place we had bought on a land contract. Our faith was really being tested. I'd always faithfully tithed, but I hadn't been giving an offering. Still I felt an overwhelming desire to give more to God's work. I decided to approach my wife about giving an offering. I was thinking 5% of our income, but when I talked to my wife she said, "OK, let's give 10%!" I gulped and reworked the budget and from that day forward we've followed this plan. Let me emphasize that we didn't do this to get a blessing, but because we wanted to do more for our Savior who's done so much for us. But He opened "the windows of heaven" anyway.

    The first couple months were tough, but then things went crazy! He gave us an amazing place to live and in the last 3 years our income has almost doubled! Most importantly we have gotten such joy from being able to support ministries and help others in ways we never could have dreamed of before.

    So now it's time to take the next step. God has given us far more than we need right now, so we've decided to give another 10% starting this month. We can hardly wait to see what He's going to do this time! We'll keep you posted. God is soooo good!

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  18. Thanks for bringing the topic. Tithing is one topic that every parent ought to teach their children. My best experience with tithing is the peace of mind I get after returning the tithe. Its like after returning, I literally leave it to God to take care of the rest. My story is simple; am a single mother of three daughters converted to Adventism from Catholic. In raising the children, the Lord provided in very miraculous ways; when I could not afford their text books for school, they all won book vouchers for their respective classes, every year. God just provided them with the best education and the finances that accompanies. The last one is completing her last sem at the uni. I don't own any property as in house, car, etc but God ensures I pay my rent and has never been desperately in want. The first three months of my 'being single' was the most challenging; the children were between 6months and 6years. I had no money to buy food and my house allowance was not enough for the house we lived in! The Lord proved Himself by making vegetables (amaranth) grow in our kitchen garden, then He gave the Landlord mercy(he allowed me to pay rent in instalments)! I believe that returning of tithe is not only the secret of blessings but the peace it provides helps us to build our faith in God.

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  19. Joseph, In response to you opinions I think your questions are reasonable and valid. I believe that the Bible was written for people of different periods of time and place and are not applicable to each one. For instance we do not stone our children to death for being disrespectful to their parents. Deut 20:18. Just one of many many. Most of the commandments recorded in Deut. chapters 14 to 30 are not reaffirmed in the New Testament.
    That is one reason that we do not follow those instructions today. Tithing,also mentioned in Deut.14 is one of the most important pillars in our denomination. Without it the structure would crumble.

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  20. As a bible based organization that believes in the bible from Genesis to Revelation, can someone explain why Deuteronomy 26 and especially verses 12 and 13 (Deut 26:12-13) are overlooked. God in His infinite wisdom made provision to take care of His people. I have asked this question of my Jewish friends, 'what do you do with the tithe'? The response, what the bible says and taking care of the widows, etc. Then it dawned on me, the reason the widow could give her mite, provision had been made for her. Why do we ignore this area of scripture while so many in the church suffer,ie fatherless, strangers and widows? Please do not make up stuff or insult my intelligence. God's word is clear and simple on this issue.

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    • Hi Paulette,

      Thank you for bringing up this little nugget about God's provisions for the poor. You are probably right that we should pay more attention to God's plan for providing for the poor, though some argue that the government now takes care of the poor, and we pay taxes for the purpose.

      Israelites actually gave three tithes. The sacred tithe was the first 10% of their income. It was reserved for the support of the Levites. The remainder of their "increase" was to be tithed a second time and laid aside to provide for an abundance of food and drink for the yearly festivals held at Jerusalem. (Deuteronomy 14:22–27. Camp meeting money?) The tithe to which you refer was the third-year tithe, in the "year of tithing." This was to be reserved in a fund for the traveling Levites, strangers, widows and orphans.

      So the faithful Israelites gave nearly 30% of their income in tithes, before considering various voluntary offerings.

      For more on this see "The Three Tithes of the Old Testament", by C.G. Tuland in Ministry Magazine. You can find a shorter version at "Tithing in the Old Testament," bu Curtis W. Lindsey on his blog. (He believes that tithing is part of the "old law" that is done away with, including the Sabbath, so he has no axe to grind.)

      Some members of our extended family set aside a percentage of income just for this purpose. And now that you remind me of it, we will have to see what we can do ourselves. How about you? Will you follow the example set in the Old Testament for the care of the poor? (In countries with social services supported by taxes, the percentage set aside probably doesn't have to be a tithe, but it is probably worthwhile to talk it over with the Lord to see what he would have us do.)

      Like(1)
      • I have wondered about this Inge; the other "tithes". Yes, we have a "Needy family" fund which I contribute to regularly, but for camp meetings? Also, Israel was led directly by God through men chosen by God for that purpose, and they had no other government to tax them for the same purposes.

        I feel it's a divine appointment that we have in our government those programs that help the needy (which does not free us from helping more if able to) so that even the ungodly help the poor, even if they complain while doing so. I have chosen to contribute to ADRA, and there are many other such ways to help today as well. "Insomuch as you have done it unto the least of these..." are the words to be spoken in the future to all who have lived on this earth. I feel the examples from the old testament are still valid in teaching us our obligations to share God's blessings to us with others who are not so blessed. It is God's plan to lead us all closer to having His likeness seen in us. Yes, God could bless all equally, but then the opportunity would not exist to grow in grace on this matter, and it works for both the rich and the poor. It's a perfect plan for a sinful world, and God alone knows which state (rich or poor) is best for the needs of each soul.

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  21. Thank you all so much for the wonderful testimonies you shared about God's faithfulness.

    Like the widow's mite, may your testimonies circle the globe to bless others. (Thousands of people read these posts without commenting.)I have personally been blessed by your sharing.

    I believe that tithing is a relational issue, not a legal issue. Robert Whiteman said it well, when he wrote, "Tithe is for our benefit in giving us a constant reminder and connection to the Giver of life and blessings."

    And if someone happens to come on this post later -- even years down the road -- please don't hesitate to add your testimony as well.

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  22. Thanks for this good insight in concern of tithe. I've been experiencing up and downs in returning tithe. The difference is when I've returned it I feel peace inside me,I feel blessing and I manage well my income. I've seen in different way how God open windows of blessings. I remember the time when I had nothing in my pocket and wish to eat the best meal, it happen in amazing way. A friend might invite me for a special dinner or I can get money which i couldn't expect. Surely God provides, this is what i usually say. I'm praying that I remain faithful even in the hard time.

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  23. No, I don't pay tithe...I return it! It's not mine in the first place. I'm giving back to God what He's asked of me to give. I've been blessed by Him to have a job which produces income so that I can help care for my family. That's a blessing that I cannot take for granted. So, in obedience and my loyalty to God, I'm trusting Him with the 10th that I've been asked to return..with the faith that He will continue to reward my obedience to Him by continuing to bless and provide for me and my family always. His promises are sure and they are always perfect.

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  24. To solve my problem I reach in Church Manual and on page 130. it is written:
    Tithe
    In recognition of the biblical plan and the solemn privilege and responsibility that rest upon members as children of God and members of His body, the Church, all are encouraged to faithfully return a tithe, one tenth of their increase or personal income, into the denomination’s treasury.

    So, that is clear statement: "of their increase or personal income"
    Both are ok!
    Seams to me, that Church respects different ways of businesses.
    When there is a model with much expense and complicated systems of earning, there is a model of increase.
    The clearest model can be of income but in modern situations harder.

    Apologies if I sounded like a tenth opponent. It was a bit confusing to look at the whole. Thanks for Regulations in Manual!

    Manual is amazing to read, there is a lot of great directions.

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    • Yes Goran. I thought of this last year when I was able to (finally) have a garden again, and I tithed my garden increase as well, having never done that before years ago. No, I didn't return 1 tomato for every 10 I gathered, but returned a tenth of the going price I would have to pay if not for my garden's increase.

      Would they actually accept a tomato in the offering plate?!! ;-)

      Like(1)
    • Yes, you are right, Goran, that the church leaves the figuring out of "increase" or "income" to individuals. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to guide us in this. Circumstances differ, so your way of figuring tithe may be different than mine -- partly because of differing circumstances, partly because of differing convictions -- but we can both be "right" because we are following the leading of the Holy Spirit.

      So glad you discovered the Church Manual. :) I would encourage others to click on the link and download it for themselves, if they do not have a paper copy. It is full of good instructions based on over 100 years of experience. :)

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  25. i hav been truly blessed,and especially by(Mathew 23.23),it just says it all,and the idea of working wt God,as a manager of his possession,is just so amazing!however i have a qsn,i have always known tht an offering is an expression of my love to God,bt i heard some1 say our offering should rightfully be 15% of our income,is this biblical?secondly,i am student at college and i recieve money monthly from home,for rent(since i dnt stay on campus) and general upkeep.I do return offerings,am i also suppose to return tithe?(i hav always told myself tht ts nt necessary snce my family would hav returned th tithe of their income frm where i get mine too)I know the issue is not legal,but i dont want to be counted unfaithful.

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    • Hi Brian, The way I look at it, my increase is the increase for me, no matter what the source. So, if my parents returned tithe on their increase and blessed me with some increase, I still recognize God as the the One who blessed me through them, and I tithe the increase, like any other.

      But the Bible gives no definitive instructions on the matter. Follow the convictions of your heart, and the Lord will bless you accordingly. :)

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  26. Just want to Praise the Lord for the teaching of stewardship through the return of what is the Lord's, tithing is so powerful that we under estimate the principle God laid in the concept of tithing. I would just like to share that it has reminded me to return ALL that really belongs to the Lord, which includes my body, mind, strength and soul. And the tithe of course, Praise the Lord Inge, help me pray that we maintain the 1/7 and 1/10 exclusively for Him.

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  27. Thank you Inge for sharing on this truely important matter. Tithe is returned not paid as you rightly said. Even in our tithing, "God loves a cheerful giver", thus it shouldn't be done grudgingly or out of duty, but with a heart that is grateful and appreciative of God's wonderful provision towards and for us. I personally experienced the "testing"of God when I was out of work for a long time, I claimed the promise in Malachi and reminded God how I had faithfully returned to Him even when it seems there wouldnt be enough, and He WAS faithful in honouring HIS word. I never lacked and truly believe that returning our tithe is definitely worthwhile and a blessing as we also assist those working in the Ministry, doing work that I would not be able to do in reaching millions of people worldwide.

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  28. Would you please give some Biblical guidance on restitution of God's tithes? When it comes to the percentage, I originally understood it to be 1/5 to be added to the amount of tithe that had not been returned. I now understand that 20% is the correct amount of percentage to be added.

    My perplexing concern is this: It has been stated in congregations that if you have robbed God, confess and repent and start from where you are in being faithful in returning God’s tithes. For the last year, I have felt impressed to make restitution to God for tithes not returned for years past. However, I don’t know the exact amount; therefore, I cannot determine the amount. How should this be handled? Maybe through tax returns if they are available?

    I am making restitution on an amount from last year. I do so much want to be in harmony with God’s commands. I recently read in one of Sis. E. G. White’s writing that many will be lost because of not making restitution. Again, is this a sin that is not forgiven? I do believe that we should make restitution to anyone we have robbed.

    Is there a reason why restitution is not taught in more of our congregations? At the three SDA churches where I have been a member, restitution has not been mentioned from the pastor or stewardship leader; nor at any other church I have visited. If restitution is indeed a matter of salvation, it definitely needs to be publicized and verbalized.

    It has come to my mind in that I don’t know the correct amount, perhaps I should vow to return a given amount monthly for as long as the Lord gives me life. Please know that I am returning the present and past tithes with cheerfulness.

    Seeking prayer, wisdom and peace from God.

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    • Claudette, I believe our Lord is far more interested in our hearts than a specific amount of back tithe.

      So, if you feel convicted on the topic and do what you believe is right, you will experience the blessing of the Lord. The intention of your heart is what counts.

      There will be tithe payers going to hell, and non-tithe payers going to heaven. We are not saved by paying tithe or any other act of obedience. Only Jesus saves, and He wants our hearts. When He has our hearts, obedience will naturally follow. And He may lead one person very differently from the way He leads another. He asked the rich young ruler to sell all He had to follow Jesus because He knew that the young man's heart was bound up in His riches. He did not ask others to do the same thing. Yet, when He has our hearts, we will be ready to give up all, if and when He asks.

      I would also like you to consider that there is a difference between wilfully withholding tithe and not understanding the tithing practice. The rule of paying back with 20% added is for wilfully withholding tithe. You see, returning tithe is a matter of faith and trust. We trust God to take care of our needs. If we do not trust Him enough to take care of Him and withhold our tithe, when we turn back to Him, He tests us by asking us to pay back what we withheld. We will be blessed according to our faith when we obey.

      What others do and don't do should not really affect our acts of service. When Peter asked Jesus about John, Jesus said something to the effect of "That's none of your business. Just follow me!" (See John 21:22)

      (By the way, 1/5 and 20% are the same amount. This was the rule in OT times.)

      Like(2)
      • Thank you for your response, Inge.

        After reading your comments, I believe God wants me to start from the point of my conviction based on the promptings of the Holy Spirit – which was last year. I feel compelled to also give the Lord a peace offering as well. If at some point, He tells me to go further, I will so do.

        Before writing to you, I had saved a document entitlted Every Dollar Charged – which I copied from E. G. White writings – you may have read it as well:

        "Why the Blessing is Withheld from Some
        Hasten, my brethren and sisters, to bring to God a faithful tithe, and to bring Him also a willing thank offering. There are many who will not be blessed till they make restitution of the tithe which they have withheld. God is waiting for you to redeem the past. The hand of the holy law is laid upon every soul who enjoys God’s benefits. Let those who have kept back their tithe make an accurate reckoning, and bring to the Lord that of which they have robbed His work. Make restitution, and bring the Lord peace offerings. “Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me.” If you acknowledge that you have done wrong in misappropriating His goods, and freely and fully repent, He will forgive your transgression."—The Review and Herald, December 10, 1901. – {CS 87.1}

        Does the 1/5/20% restitution still apply in NT times? (I should have left the question about the 1/5 or 20% out, because I did know that it is one in the same by the time I posted.)

        John 21:22 "Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain utill I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”

        Inge, the restitution for me was and is a personal matter. In seeking counsel from a conference stewardship director, we both prayed and read scriptures relating to tithing and restitution. This has been on my mind for almost a year now. For the questions I had and he did not have the answers, he researched or asked someone else. He is not the only minister with whom I talked. This knowledge for me was as it was with any of God’s truths. I felt and feel that it should be shared. Maybe I should not make it a matter of sharing. This, too, will be a matter of prayer. Please know that what others do and don’t do does not affect my acts of service.

        I am so very glad that I discovered this site as I was searching late one Friday night for anything I could on the subject of returning tithes. God indeed knows my heart and He does have it. Thank you for focusing on this point. The wisdom that God has given to you is much appreciated.

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      • Hi Claudette,

        Thank you for your sharing.

        I believe that tithing is a matter of faith. And faith is a matter of relationship, because it means to trust - and in this case it means to trust God to take care of our needs when we put Him first.

        So tithing is also a relationship matter. When we do not trust God enough to take care of us, by withholding tithe, we are blocking the blessings He wants to bestow on us. That's the way I read Ellen White's comment, even though she frames her comment in law language. In the middle of the statement, Ellen quotes Isaiah 27:5, which is relationship language.

        And, yes, I do believe many people are missing out on great blessings because of their lack of faith demonstrated by withholding tithe. Insofar as restitution is possible, they will be blessed by making it. But I imagine there are many who have withheld tithe for so long that full restitution is impossible. If they do what they can and throw themselves on His mercy, He will surely honor their change of heart.

        I believe you are right - that this is an important topic - and that teaching on this topic has been neglected, to the detriment of our members.

        May our Lord bless you abundantly, according to your faith. :)

        Like(1)
  29. Hi there, really enjoyed your piece on tithe but have a question that has been realy prickling my brain for sometime now. please advise me, I run my own business and out of the money that comes in I have to run that business and pay myself a salary now what I want to know is do I pay tithe on the whole amount that I bring in or on the amount that I pay myself every month. It is a business that God instructed me to open so most of the money that comes in goes straight back to pay staff, and run the business but I do have to take money out to run my home and personnel expenses. I also have a problem giving money to our conferances as I know that they are not altogether good stuwards of the Lords money but still know in my heart that I need to return to the Lord what is His.

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    • Dear Irene, the tithe is returned on the "increase" that the Lord gives you. So, by definition, the business expenses are excluded. Beyond that, it is best you take it to the Lord to decide how to tithe the "increase" of the business, as separate from your personal "increase."

      As for "giving money to the conference" - don't do it. Return your tithe to the Lord to the appropriate "storehouse," which is usually the local conference, and let Him look after it. He has promised to bless you quite independent of conference finances. Remember how the Lord commended the poor widow who gave offerings in the temple when the whole system was corrupt enough to crucify the Lord of glory?

      Offerings (besides tithe) are another matter. You can choose to direct your offering where you consider they will do the most good, after prayerfully taking it to the Lord.

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