Tuesday: Tithe in the Storehouse

Read Malachi 3:1-10. What is God saying to His people here?

Image © Krieg Barrie from GoodSalt.com

Image © Krieg Barrie from GoodSalt.com

What specific elements are found in these texts, and why would they all be tied together? That is, in what ways are these things all related to each other?

With these verses, God restates the basic message of the Minor Prophets: His love remains constant and unwavering. In verse 7 God’s call is heard once more: “‘Return to me, and I will return to you’” (NIV). The people then ask: “‘How shall we return?’” (RSV). This question is similar to the one in Micah 6:6, about the bringing of sacrifices to God. In the case of Malachi, however, a specific answer is given, and, surprisingly enough, it has to do with the question of their tithing, or lack thereof.

In fact, they are accused of stealing from what belongs to God. This happened because they were not faithful in the returning of their tithes and offerings.

The custom of tithing, giving ten percent of the income, is presented in the Bible as a reminder that God owns everything and all that people have comes from Him. The tithe was used in Israel to support the Levites, who ministered in the temple. To neglect the returning of one’s tithe is, according to Malachi, the same as robbing God.

Malachi 3:10 is one of the rare Scriptures in which God challenges people to put Him to the test. At the waters of Meribah in the wilderness, the children of Israel repeatedly “tested” God’s patience, something that He was angry about (Ps. 95:8-11). Here, however, God is inviting Israel to put Him to the test. He wants them to see that they can trust Him in this matter, which, according to the texts, is something of great spiritual significance.

How does the act of tithing (and of giving offerings, for that matter) strengthen you spiritually? In other words, when you cheat on tithe, why are you cheating yourself, not just God?



Tuesday: Tithe in the Storehouse — 41 Comments

  1. [Please use full names when commenting on our site. Thank you.]

    You steal Tithe you rob yourself of blessings.

  2. I have problem with tithe. Because of credits I am not quite sure what is my income. How to deal it?

    • Good question Goran. I get asked that question a lot. Deuteronomy 14:22 says, "Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year." Your increase is your profit. So, if my neighbor pays me $25.00 to mow his lawn, but I used $1.00 worth of gas to mow it,then my increase or profit would be $14.00. My tithe would be $1.40.

      Now if I am an employee with no business expenses which would go against my income, then I get a straight paycheck. Let's say I get $10.00 an hour so after a 40 hour work week my gross income would be $400.00. Lets say $50.00 is taken out for taxes which would leave me $350.00. Now the $400.00 was still my income, after all I benefit from what my tax money goes for, so my tithe would be $40.00. Now lets say someone is convicted they should only tithe off the net which is the $350.00. We need to be prayerful and careful as to whether we are really convicted to pay on just the net. Ellen White,says in 5th volume of the testimonies, page 149," Of the means which is entrusted to man, God claims a certain portion--a tithe; but He leaves all free to say how much the tithe is, and whether or not they will give more than this." So lets say we tithe off the net $350.00 which would be $35.00. Now remember if you get a tax return that you need to tithe on it because you were only tithing on what you actually took home. If you tithe on your gross their is no need to tithe on your tax return because you already did when you tithed on your gross. Some will tithe on the return after tithing on the gross too. That is a personal matter of conviction. Either way, you can't out give God.

      Does this answer your question?

      • William and all, thanks. If E.W. say that He give us freedom to say how much tithe is; that is heplful for my concience.
        In my country tax on gross is cc40%; and when you buye things there is 25% tax on price.
        There is no life for family in Croatia without credit for house or car. We stil buye houses not rent them. Maybe that is part of problem. It is true that I am maybe not so faithful but on the other hand why to do worse and give to self to heavy burden.

    • Goran B., Credits are moneys extended to you without you earning it, so credit money is not income. Income on the other hand is money you earned, and thats what God commanded His people to give ten% for the temple ministry. We should avoid credit all together, for this credit system i believe was introduced by satan to enslaved people and will lead many of God's people into financial ruin and eventually unfaithfullness to God. Many relationships and suicidal deaths are result in financial dilemmas stems from credit debts. God bless!!!

      • Am from Ghana.am an Adventist
        You just aswered a question of Goran and as you said i want to know legibly the difference between credit and income?

  3. I realy want thank God for this lesson. As adventist we have to understand that God had given us riches freely,so we have to return that one God is requesting from us and all so apreciate Him in offering. I'am a living witness in this tithe and offering given, let us be sincere in returning to God.

  4. Because credit you can't pay tithe well.You have to pray that God may change the stuation for you. I pray for every adventist around the who experience such condition that God Almigthy to change such from them. Amen.

  5. [Moderator's Note: Please use full names when commenting.]

    Our first item on our. Budget should be tithe.. Way before we factor. In our debts..

    • True Munya, but some people are confused as to what debt is or just business expenses. Our increase that Deuteronomy 14:22 talks about is what is left over after our business expenses which helped us achieve our profit. Personal debts or personal bills do not factor into our tithe, and yes we pay our tithe as the first fruit before we pay our other bills and debts.

  6. We are not faithful to God through the tithe we give.We are to divide what we get into ten and take one out of it to GOD.The Tithe giving not God who is going to consume it but just to test Him.He said if we test Him through the Tithe we give,He will bless us abundantly

    • Boakye, like most Adventists I have been fully aware of Mal 3:8-10 from the time I was baptized. That is a text that is used by every evangelist I have come in contact with.

      I generally think that the text has been misused and abused by a lot of Christians. First of all I think we misunderstand the purpose of tithe then we misapply the text as promoting a kind transaction. As a transaction there is no difference at all between buying something you want and giving tithe. You give to receive. If we treat it like that then we testify that we are still living off of milk like a baby rather than solid food and that we need to be rewarded in order for us to do the good that we know that we should do. We may also need a boost in faith that a mature Christian generally does not need.

      Tithe was given not because God likes to flex His muscle or that He needs it but because we needed to have a selfishness breaker and giving something outside of a contract does just that. Like giving to a charity we should not hope for something in return even though we know that God blesses those on His side.

      We tithe for several reasons. One is that it is a command from God and like any other law such as the Sabbath if we respect the authority behind it we will obey the command and do what it demands. Another reason is that we know that it was given for our good like the Sabbath was (Mk 2:27) that by doing it there is a consequence that leads to eternal life. It is a matter of being trained in selfless service which is the rule of Heaven and those that choose not to go that route will not be considered safe to save.

      • I agree with first part but dissagre with second part of your answer. The fact is that Jesus confirmed Sabbath but there is no text for tithing in Gospels. Jesus confirmed the obligation on paying tax but like nesesary evil not a thing on wich depends salvation. If tithing is of salvation meaning than what about circumission? Are we now departing from Romans?

        • Goran, tithe is one of those things that show up in the Bible first with Abraham as a tradition rather than a stated command (Gen 14:20; Heb 7:5-10). God then confirms it in Lev 27:30-32 rather than at Mount Sinai that establishes it firmly among the Jews. While there is very little said about it in the New Testament Jesus did incorporate it in one of His discussions with the Pharasees:

          Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone (Matt. 23:23 NKJV)

          He told them, "without leaving the others undone." Does that sound like Jesus thought the practice of tithing was discontinued?

          Furthermore the absence of an argument can't always be taken as an argument against something. There is essentially no argumentation in the New Testament concerning the Sabbath. That is something we take to mean that everyone was adhering to the command so that there was no general disagreement between the Jews and Christians over the command. The same could be said of tithing, everyone was doing it. Besides, there is no command against slavery in the entire Bible either. Does that mean that God puts His stamp of approval on the institution? Obviously not!

          Our works do not save us but they do have a bearing on our salvation in spite of that fact. As Paul states, "Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law" (Rom. 3:31 NKJV). The pattern of our lives determines whether we are safe to save or not. Judgment is determined by what we do rather than our stated faith so if we continually serve self rather than others then we will be considered a potential risk and most likely will not be saved because of our practice (Mat 7:21-23; Mat 25:33-46). Tithing is one of those practices that aid in training us to be less selfish. In and of itself it cannot save but it definitely helps.

  7. Goran;what i will say to ur question is that,u must pay tithe on any money that comes in your way.The credits you are talking about,is it not money or what you have get?Then u must give tithe but try to be faithful to God because sometimes if such credits comes in our way we refuse to give titthe.I wish u good day

  8. I think some of us may have a different idea of the word "credit." If we are talking about credit as in using a credit card or getting a loan from the bank, of which we will have to pay back, that is not income or a gift or an increase of which God would require us to tithe on. Of course God always accepts the gifts from a cheerful giver. However, if by "credit" you mean a gift or a bonus of which you do not have to pay back, that would be counted as an increase which God would require you to tithe on.

    • All that is confusing to be honest.
      First, in Israel concept we have a State of Israel and the Temple of God.
      In modern world we have the Secular State and the Church.
      State and Church ask for money.
      Second, our business are complicated systems, and for Israel with agriculture on given part of Promised land it was simple.

      There are many ways to explain why we must pay, but I think that in core tithing has nothing to do with "unselfishness".
      Unselfish is to give to others, to people, to brothers and sisters.
      To needy... to give yourself to church activities and so on.
      If one give 10% tithe, that is (often) from selfish reasons: to test God and receive more, and also one can (and is) being selfish in rest of 90% also, even cursed, not giving even to his family.

      So, from your opinions, there is again diversity from "all-even gifts" to "profit" and "net".

      I think we have a problem with this, there is no united stance.
      I also think that stance of some: tithing is of salvation matter, is very wrong, because one can never be sure in his salvation just because maybe he wrongly calculated and all this in spite faith in Jesus and His sacrifice!

  9. If my income is $10000 my tithe is $1000.Right? But if EGW says I can choose what my tithe is then I am at liberty to return maybe $50 instead of $1000. Am I right? Does tithe mean ten percent or can it mean any amount or percentage in light of what EGW says in testimonies vol 5 page 149 about being at liberty to choose what tithe means?

    • Jasper, I believe the Bible is quite clear that tithe is 10%. The quote by EGW in my understanding would be that it is the individuals responsibility to calculate what their profit is to find the 10%. It is also the individuals responsibility to find if God is asking them to tithe on their net or their gross. There are a lot of advantages to tithing on the gross and of course we can never out give God, but that conviction must come from God either way, and not from man.

      • Thank you William. It is clear. And happy Sabbath to you and all the sabbath keepers on this SSNet blog

  10. Regarding tax, I think there is biblical precedence for deducting it before you calculate the tithe. The Levites served many functions that governments take care of now: education, penal system, medical procedures and so on and tax money is used to fund these activities today. So, deducting taxes before tithing is legitimate. You don't have to but it is legit.

    But I would agree with William. If you tithe on the net then it is fair to tithe on any tax returns you receive at the end of the year.

    • Thanks for this discussion. I was taught to tithe on the money earned after taxes.
      Thanks William for explaining the "increase".
      On all our income, we pay tithes, taxes (federal and state), social security and medi care. So if we get a tax return, I haven't paid tithe again.

      • Hi Jane and Ennis,
        I believe we should be very careful of what we tell people regarding how they should tithe. The tithe is 10% of "increase," and we need to settle with God what our "increase" is, rather than being told how to do it.

        William suggested the benefit of tithing on "gross income," but I think he meant "before taxes," because tithing on "gross income" of a business is hardly doable, seeing that the "increase" on a business may be only 10% of the gross income. Thus tithing on the "gross income" would mean there would be nothing left to live on!

        As for tithing before taxes: We have always done so, considering that taxes are payment for services provided, including government. In a democracy, that's something to be thankful for.

        There were times in our lives when we returned a tithe (before taxes) and gave offerings of another 20% to support a new church. We were only students at Andrews University at the time, but God blessed abundantly. While we have generally lived on what others would consider a relatively low income, the amount after tithe and offerings has stretched enough that we have always lived quite well. I remember one time sharing our actual income figure and being met with total disbelief. 😉

        In short, I can corroborate William's suggestion that "there are "a lot of advantages to tithing on the gross (i.e. before taxes)."

        There may be situations where tithing before taxes is not practical -- if the taxes are very high even on a relatively low income. Where taxes are graduated, a high tax rate is usually indicative of a high income, and tithing before taxes may be quite practical.

        But the bottom line is that the decision regarding precisely how to tithe is a matter to settle between us and God.

        • I think we should be careful also, Inge, but when people ask, we show them much more respect when we give them biblical ideas to consider when making their own decisions. Being careful isn't the same as being silent.

          You and your husband have made some serious sacrifices in your efforts to support God's work. I respect that. But though your sacrifice is commendable it is not commanded.

        • Ennis, my suggestion of "being careful" of what we tell people was in regard to telling them precisely how to figure out what is their "increase." I was not suggesting that we should not share biblical principles.

          I don't believe it is our business to tell them they ought to tithe either before or after taxes, before or after pension deductions, etc. The Bible only tells us that the Lord asks us to return a tenth of our income/increase to Him.

          Your reasoning from the history of the Israelites is something that makes sense to you, but it is not a biblical directive.

          My reasoning from the same history is a bit different: It is true that during the theocracy the Levites performed many of the functions of government. However, when the Israelites chose to have a "normal government" like the nations around them, the kings levied taxes, just as our governments do now. And the taxes were not assessed instead of the tithes and offerings, but in addition to them. And it seems that the taxing had become excessive by the end of Solomon's reign. That's why the ten tribes rebelled when Rehoboam refused to lower taxes but, instead, said he would increase them!

          Thus tithing is a totally different issue than taxation and is unrelated to it. For a little more on the topic, see "Do you pay tithe?"

          [Section below edited, since the comment got away before I was finished.]

          I also see that you may have misunderstood my sharing of our experience with tithing. You wrote, "have made some serious sacrifices in your efforts to support God’s work." I didn't share this because of what we did, but because of what God did.

          Perhaps giving 20% on top of tithe (of income before taxes) might be considered "serious sacrifice," but it didn't work out that way at all. Never before or since was my husband better rewarded (adjusted for inflation) for time invested than during that time. So it wasn't a sacrifice at all. We were inspired to do this partly because we learned that faithful Israelites gave fully 30% of their income to the Lord -- that is 20% on top of their first tithe. And we found out that we could not outgive the Lord.

          And, by the way, I also believe that tithing is separate from giving freewill offerings to the Lord. Offerings begin after returning a tithe as a recognition of God as Creator, Lifegiver and Enabler of our earning an income. That's why Malachi refers to tithes and offerings. I believe that even freewill offerings are best given as a proportion of income -- whether this be 2%, 5%, 10% or 20% beyond the tithe. Each person needs to work this out with the Lord, and the percentages may change with the circumstances. And there may be occasions when we are moved to give beyond our usual percentage.

    • In my country taxes are big. If I calculate and deducte tax before tithing that will be 40+25 on salary incom. That is 65% less. I dont get tax returns anymore state caceled it. They just take.
      Are gifts due to tithe? If recive a car or a house or gift from parent is this an increase or not?

  11. Oh my dear Heavenly Father, I am so guilty in tithing. Please forgive me for robbing you and help me to please start giving you back what belongs to you, in Jesus' name I pray.

  12. [Please use first and last names when commenting on this site. Thanks!]

    Was tithe not part of the Old Testament ceremonial laws which were abolished at the cross?

  13. Dear I want to highligt on Goran question on tithe.If the credit giving to you,you are to work on that money then you need not to give tithe on it.But if the credit you have received is free then u must give tithe on it

  14. [Please use first and last names when commenting on this site. Thanks!]

    Indeed to give tithe brings back the blessings. What I learned is that if we earned less we give back the tithe but if God blesses us more than we give lesser or nothing. May God helps us to be faithful in giving tithe and offering

  15. [Please use first and last names when commenting on this site. Thanks!]

    I would like to know whether one is supposed to pay tithe for money given as daily lunch allowance & yet there is a monthly salary. What about a student's pocket money?

    • Johnnegro, we are to acknowledge every increase that God supplies each individual. My dad paid tithe on his salary and then gave me an allowance as a child, which I paid tithe upon. His increase was not mine until given to me.

      As a dependent child, I did not tithe the meals provided by my parents who tithed the monthly income which payed for the food, but I did tithe my personal allowance increase that I could save and use as I wished, which was earned by helping around the home. If I was given lunch money for school, I did not tithe that as it was actually my parents paying for the meal rather than giving me a lunch to bring. Does that make sense? It was not given to me as an increase to my personal allowance.

      If we understand tithing correctly, it's actually simple in most cases.

      • My daughter returned a tithe on the pocket money I gave her. I praise God for my daugter's faithfullness.

  16. This is what Jehovah is saYing to his people: " But the days of purification of the church are hastening on apace. God will Have a people pure and true." 5 testimonies for the church p.80

  17. Sometimes I think we make the issue of tithing sound like a bit of legalism. It must be understood that we are not Christians because we have paid our monthly subscription. The church does not compel us to give, nor are we offered a pathway to heaven because we have given so much or have worked so many hours (in spite of recording
    "Hours of Christian Help Work" in the old days of MVs -ok now you know how old I am!)

    Our salvation is a free (priceless) gift. Our tithe and offering are our personal response to that gift. A loose translation of Matt 10:8: "You got if free! Give generously!"

    God is not interested in our ability to do arithmetic. He wants a generous responsive heart. And when that happens there is no need to divide by 10 and add 15 and so on because our response in time and money will be appropriate - and we won't be looking over our shoulder to see what the other person gives either.

  18. Hallo brethrens,we should avoid too much questions about tithe offering,God just requires only 10% of what you receive the rest is yours,remember there is no blessing when you give tithes the blessing is earned when you give offerings for tithes is adebt you clear because it's acommand from God hence if you need more blessings then you should pay more in your offerings.compare container that holds only 10 litres of water and another holds more than 10 litres of water,you are told to fill the container and for every litre you pour you are paid adollar,will you not fill the one with more capacity so that you earn more?why cant you give more offerings then having given your tithes?I thank GOD for being in Kenya God BLESS YOU.

  19. Thank you for this lesson. Kindly pray for me so that i can desist from robbing God's money. I haven't been so consistent in paying Tithe.

  20. I have found tithing to be a blessing which God has appointed for our own good. We tend to be forgetful, selfish and withholding, which is the way of this world and it's present ruler. Being always reminded of our stewardship and blessings is a blessing itself. Be careful of calling such a duty legalism, because I have learned that it's often legalistic people who point out how legalistic something seems to be. Yes, we can easily make Christian duty a legal "work", thinking we have merit because of our "works". (Do you suppose that those who condemned and crucified Jesus were faithful tithers?!) A true follower of Christ will have no thought of earning anything and will be both grateful and generous in the cause of Christ their Savior.

    Keep in mind that every duty appointed by God is to help us reflect Jesus more fully, and to prepare us for dwelling in His presence forever. God has given a precise amount for tithe, but has not given His reasons for that amount. It just works if all are faithful, and each has an important part in helping out, however small that part might be. It also lets me know if I am "in the faith" or not.

  21. From time to time I listen to Dave Ramsey's show and I happened to be listening one day when he was speaking of tithing. What he said about it made a lot of sense to me in conjunction with some ideas I already had. In his comments he indicated that the purpose of tithing was to teach us that our money is not our own. If we see our tithe as God's money, and not ours, it helps us to depend on him more and less on what that money could have done for us. Just like Sabbath is designed to teach us to let go of the worries of the world, even if just for one day, to focus on our God, tithing teaches us to put even this into His hands as well.

    This was just one more step added with my own personal philosophy that once I have paid my tithe, it is God's and that whatever becomes of it after I give it is for God to reward or punish. If my church mismanages the tithe that I have paid in good faith to my God, then it becomes the sin of the abuser to which God himself will require an accounting. Unless I am aware of blatant abuse, it is no longer my responsibility or my money that is being misused, but it is God's and he will be the one to demand an accounting in His time.

    Sandra Nosik

  22. Tithing and offering should be as our response to what GOD has done for us. This is like a child saying thank you to a parent. As much we can never fully show how grateful we are with our tithes and offerings but they are just a token of what we feel towards the gift that GOD has freely given us even though we were undeserving. Tithe is more of an obedient response as well it is to show that we admit and acknowledge that GOD is boss!!!


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