Tuesday, 27 November 2012

New Testament giving

To those who would think that tithing is ‘only’ an Old Testament view and would want to move on to talk about Jesus and his attitude to giving, well – that Old Testament practice of tithing was the foundation of the grace of the law. When we come to look at Jesus we have to remember that he was a Jew. He would have tithed as a matter of course. In his conversations with the Pharisees on this topic, not once did they challenge him on it. In fact, he challenged them and commends tithing. Matt 23:23 says this,
‘Woe to you teachers of the Law and Pharisees. You hypocrites! You give a tithe of your spices, mint, dill, cumin, but you have neglected the more important matters of justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter without neglecting the former.’
This comment is repeated in Luke 11:42. Jesus is interested in the heart and so challenges them but does not say that tithing doesn’t matter.

From the New Testament church we can learn further lessons. These people were very, very generous. Even a surface reading of the Book of Acts shows that this was a giving community, selling possessions so that no-one was in need and bringing the proceeds to the apostles and laying it at their feet - conveying that they were giving it freely for them to distribute.