Is it a sin to tithe? No. Yes. No, tithing (giving a tenth) is not a sin if the actual dollar amount is sacrificial, proportionate to the level of your financial prosperity, and generous. Whatever you think about the applicability of Old Testament tithing laws to the new covenant believer (see my article 'The Truth about the Tithe'), the New Testament clearly lays out the following minimal requirements for acceptable giving: 1. Acceptable giving is sacrificial (Mark 12:41-44; 2 Cor. 8:1-3) 2. Acceptable giving is proportionate to the level of your financial prosperity (1 Cor. 16:1, 2). 3. Acceptable giving is generous (2 Cor. 8:2). If the dollar amount of the tithe you put in the offering plate meets these standards, the tenth is enough and God is pleased. I believe it is possible for someone to give less than a tithe, and still be giving obediently. However, I challenge people all over the world to give at least 10 percent, no matter what their financial situation. This has resulted in great blessing for them. Yes, tithing is a sin if your income is so large that giving a tenth of it requires no sacrifice, if the dollar amount left over is so huge that giving 10 percent is stingy in proportion to the level of your God-given prosperity, and if the dollar amount is so low that it is not reflective of true generosity. If the dollar amount of the tithe you put in the offering plate doesn't meet these standards, the tithe is not enough--and is, therefore, sin. Christian business leader Fred Smith wrote, 'I led a rather unusual seminar once in which the majority of those present were millionaires. Just for the sheer fun of it, I described tithing as using an Old Testament teaching to help the rich get out of giving. It was quite a shock to the participants, and they didn't care to discuss it to any great length. I firmly believe that tithing for wealthy people is an escape from giving. Frankly, I'd be very happy if the Lord would tell me I'd fulfilled my responsibility if I gave ten percent. When I worked for six dollars a week and I dropped in sixty cents, I was giving something I felt was pleasing to the Lord. But I'm not sure the Lord is excited about my giving a tenth of a six figure income.' (Leadership, 'A Holy Boldness Toward Money,' p. 48, Spring 1981, Vol. 2, No. 2). I couldn't agree more. The danger of an unqualified teaching on tithing is that our people are left with the impression that the first 10 percent belongs to God, but the rest is theirs. Of course, the truth is that it's all God's money. Many of the families in the church I pastored gave well over 10 percent--some up to almost 30 percent. The last year of my pastorate my wife and I gave 24 percent of our income to the Lord's work. For many of us, a mere tithe simply wasn't faithful stewardship. And we would have missed out on many blessings God had waiting for us. Beware that tithing doesn't limit your generosity. Many people can and should give much more than a tenth to the Lord. For them tithing is a sin. Don't be one of them.
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