By Jimmy Tuten, Jr.
Under the Old Testament the law of giving for the Jews was in terms of percentages. Of his income, he was to give a tithe of 10 ofp (Deut. 14:22-27). Under the New Testament our giving is not regulated in terms or percentages, but in terms of liberality. We must first give ourselves and of that which God “hath prospered” us. We are to give “bountifully” (2 Cor. 8:5; 9:6; 1 Cor. 16:1-3).
Occasionally, brethren having more zeal than knowledge, strive to bind this tithe of a tenth upon Christians. Their authority is Matthew 5:20, “Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Little do they realize that in applying this verse as they do to giving, they are misapplying it and are taking it out of the context just as surely as they would misapply “touch not, teste not, handle not” (Col. 2:21) if they applied it to smoking or drinking. Generally, these ten-percent advocates do not practice what they preach in that they give ten percent, no more and no less. Their proof text says “exceed.” Brethren, if this verse applies to giving, then our giving would be. based upon a minimum. Even though we are capable of giving more and should give more because we are under a better covenant, we could give 11 % of our income and say “my righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees” and let it go at that.
Let’s leave this ten per cent idea in the Law where God put it and cease this effort to bring it over into the covenant of Christ. After all, the New Testament is a better covenant (Heb. 9:11-15), and the law of giving found therein is a better standard: Learn the New Testament principles of giving and learn them well! Give yourself first and when you do this there will be a “willing mind” with knowledge that “the Lord loveth a cheerful giver” who gives “according as he purposeth in his heart.” Away with this attitude of “how little can I get by with.” See that “God is able to make every blessing abound to you” (2 Cor. 9:6-8). Give all that you can give each Lord’s day for the support of the cause of Christ. Prove the sincerity of your love!
Truth Magazine XXII: 17, p. 285
April 27, 1978