A Christian Prepper’s Perspective on Giving- Part 4, by R2

Four Types of Giving

Yesterday, we started describing the four types of giving outlined in the Scriptures, starting with an offering to the Lord. Today, we’ll finish up this series with the last three types of giving, on which we have instruction. The most controversial one, and the one that is probably on most people’s mind, is next up.

2) Tithe

This is the method of giving that most think of when we talk about giving to the Lord. It is the most controversial one, because the basic church structure today depends upon it to survive, yet there is no mention of it in the New Testament. Doesn’t that strike you as ironic that many churches that teach that the Old Testament has little to offer the modern believer, particularly with respect to laws and commandments, will go to the Old Testament commandments on giving to justify their very financial existence? I am approaching this from the perspective that there is one Bible and that both the Old Testament and the New Testament are part of that Bible. We derive God’s lessons for living life from both parts of the Scriptures.

Commanded Giving

The key with tithing is that is it “commanded giving”. With offerings, you give voluntarily at the prompting of the Lord; with tithing, you are commanded to give. To define “tithe”, we will use Leviticus 27. There will be a number of things that we will pull from this scripture.

“Only the firstling of the beasts, which should be the Lord’s firstling, no man shall sanctify it; whether it be ox, or sheep: it is the Lord’s. And if it be of an unclean beast, then he shall redeem it according to thine estimation, and shall add a fifth part of it thereto: or if it be not redeemed, then it shall be sold according to thy estimation. Notwithstanding no devoted thing, that a man shall devote unto the Lord of all that he hath, both of man and beast, and of the field of his possession, shall be sold or redeemed: every devoted thing is most holy unto the Lord. None devoted, which shall be devoted of men, shall be redeemed; but shall surely be put to death.

“And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s: it is holy unto the Lord. And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof. And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord. He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he change it at all, then both it and the change thereof shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.” – Leviticus 27:26-33

Tithing is from your “increase”. We are all given an “increase” by the Lord. If you simply work for another man, your increase is your wages. If you are a farmer or self employed, your increase is whatever you gain out of any transaction, your labor, or what your livestock or crops bear. For example, if you are a farmer and you plant wheat every year. You do not tithe out of your base planting stock. If you have 100 pounds of seed that you sow, you do not tithe from that seed.

When the harvest comes out, your increase is anything over that initial seed. If your crop produces 14 tons of seed, then you would subtract your original planting seed and tithe 1/10th of the remaining seed (or value thereof). If you are a rancher, every firstborn calf or lamb belongs to the Lord, so you would need to either tithe the animal or sell it and tithe the proceeds.

From the Increase Not the Gross

The key is to recognize that your tithe is due from the “increase” or net, not the gross, and all of your first fruits belong to God.

“The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the Lord thy God.” – Exodus 23:19

“And whatsoever is first ripe in the land, which they shall bring unto the Lord, shall be thine; every one that is clean in thine house shall eat of it. Every thing devoted in Israel shall be thine. Every thing that openeth the matrix in all flesh, which they bring unto the Lord, whether it be of men or beasts, shall be thine: nevertheless the firstborn of man shalt thou surely redeem, and the firstling of unclean beasts shalt thou redeem. And those that are to be redeemed from a month old shalt thou redeem, according to thine estimation, for the money of five shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs. But the firstling of a cow, or the firstling of a sheep, or the firstling of a goat, thou shalt not redeem; they are holy” – Numbers 18:13-17

Don’t let those terms “net” and “gross” confuse you. The “net” is what is left after your original investment is taken out. For example, in monetary terms, if you bought land for $100,000 and put no more money into it and then sold it for $125,000, your net or increase is $25,000, even though the gross was $125,000. Your tithe would be based upon the $25,000. In this, the Lord teaches us to keep accounts that we know what is due Him. It’s good discipline.

First Fruits

It bears mentioning that so many people understand that they should tithe, but they struggle to come up with the money to do so. They don’t tithe from the “first fruits”; instead, they tithe from the leftover. After all of their bills are paid and after all their needs and wants are taken care of, whatever they have leftover they will use as their tithe. They may recognize the full amount, but seldom do they have that amount they can give. They are not giving to the Lord from the first fruits. Again, this teaches us discipline, in our spending.

Redeeming Your Tithe

An astute reader would have noticed, the term “redeem” is used several times in those scriptures. What is that all about? You have to remember that even though this is “commanded giving”, the Lord owns it all already. Why would He command you to give something that He already owns? It’s about stewardship. Most congregations will tell you that about 80% of their membership give barely anything at all, let alone tithing 10% of their increase. When you talk to those people, what you find is that their personal finances are in a mess. They can’t be an effective steward of their own resources, let alone stewards of those that they are commanded to give to God. They are in a financial hole and see no way out. Did you know that God provides a method for these people to recover from the mistakes that they have made?

Add One-Fifth

Note in the Leviticus Scripture listed above that a man may redeem his tithe by adding 1/5 of the value of the tithe. Tithe is intended for the funding and maintenance of the Lord’s work, and learning to be a good steward of His resources is part of that. The Lord allows you to pay that tithe to yourself to enable you to get out of your debts, but you have to add 1/5 of the value of the tithe and record what you owe the Lord. This is basically a loan from the Lord to help you get your life in order. But it is a loan.

“When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithes of thine increase the third year, which is the year of tithing, and hast given it unto the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled;” – Deuteronomy 26:12

Every three years, if you have been redeeming your tithe, you have to clear the debt. You take your tithe (10% of your increase), add to it your redemption price (20% of the tithe), and give it to the Lord. That gives you three years to get your life and finances in order.

Getting Out of Debt

If you want to learn how to effectively manage your own finances and get out of debt, learn how to tithe to the Lord. Remember the parable of the talents?

“For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: and I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” – Matthew 25:14-30

When the Lord returns, He expects that you will be a good steward of His resources. If He can’t trust you with only 1/10th of those resources right now, why would He trust you will all of them upon His return?

The Numbers

Before moving on, let’s take a quick look at how that works. If you made $1000, your tithe would be $100. But let’s say you can’t afford to pay that $100 because you are in a bad debt situation. You take that $100, add $20 to it, and mark it as a loan to the Lord. Then, you take the $100 and pay it towards your debt. That means over three years, you can pay $300 towards that debt, but after three years you have to pay the loan off to the Lord. You have to pay a tithe of $360 (rather than the $300 you would have tithed if you had been tithing regularly all along).

It may seem like an impossible task, but remember it is about learning to be a good steward of His resources. By learning to manage the tithe, even if it is redeemed tithe, you will be learning to manage resources better and you will naturally follow with better decisions. Once we made the decision to get out of debt, it took about three years to clear it all, including our mortgage. By learning to tithe from the first fruits, we tended to make better financial decisions and thus had more resources to apply to the debt relief.

What Are Tithes For?

Contrary to what most believers think, tithes are really not intended to be given primarily to the church or storehouse and generally should not be used for church buildings. Our churches have long morphed into dead cathedrals. Originally, the church was to be a place for believers to gather. It was a closed organization. If you weren’t a believer, you didn’t get to participate in the worship. The original Tabernacle and Temple were places for worshiping the Lord. They were open to all who desired to worship the Lord, but they were closed to those who did not have that desire.

The New Testament church was the same but on a smaller scale (probably due to persecution). You did not meet with the group for corporate worship of the Lord, unless you were already a believer. Church discipline was exacting, and if you demonstrated that you were not a believer you were cut off from fellowship. Evangelism was done on a personal level outside the place of worship.

Over the last 1700 years, our churches have changed, and now even in the evangelical churches most believers have the idea that their job is to invite someone to church and let the pastor lead the guest to salvation. This is wrong, and it leads to a whole host of issues and problems in the church organization. But that discussion is for another time. For now, suffice it to say that the church has convinced the average man that he should not be directly involved in ministry to people unless it is under the guidance of a church program.

We have taken the least important aspect of tithe and made it the most important. Personally, I believe this is because many churches have lost their way. It has become no longer about people but about buildings, power, and financial security for the pastors and staff. Of course, this is not the case in every situation, but it is the case in the vast majority of churches in America, as far as I can tell.

There is a priority for how we spend our tithes. Let’s take a look at these, in the order of priority.

First Priority For Use of Tithes

The first priority is taking care of the widow and the orphan or the “core” of the brethren. We are to minister directly to those believers around us that need to be helped.

“And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.”

Does your church have widows or orphans who are in need? Do you have brethren who are without work and unable to care for their family? If so, why are you considering that building upgrade or supporting foreign missions? Your first priority is your own family. Your second priority are the widows, orphans, and destitute in your own congregation.Notice that we are not just to throw money at the problem, but we are to be personally involved.

The Gospel works because God wants each one of us to be personally involved in the lives of each other and those in need. You should be talking to and working side-by-side with those who need the help. Just throwing money at the problem teaches them to work the system. Walking hand-in-hand with those in need teaches you compassion and demonstrates the love of the Lord to them. They are your family. Look out for them!

Second Priority For Use of Tithes

The second priority is taking care of the Levite among you. We don’t have the Levite priesthood in our churches, but it is not unfair to place the pastor in this category. This would be those from whom you receive teaching and ministry. It is acceptable and desired that you take care of your pastor, but really his salary should not be coming from the church treasury; it should be coming directly from you in the form of your personal tithe. You should be writing him a check directly or feeding his family with the meat of your livestock or produce of your garden. Notice that the Levite is required to tithe as well.

“Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the Lord, even a tenth part of the tithe.” – Leviticus 18:26

Third Priority For Use of Tithes

The common storehouse is the third priority of your tithe. This would be your church organization. Note that money is only given to the church organization when your brethren (including your pastor) are taken care of. Your community outreach and foreign missions should only be funded after your local congregation has its basic needs met.

You and I are to be directly and intimately involved in the ministry to others. We have no business attempting to meet the needs of the homeless in the community or the foreign missions out of our tithes until every member of our congregation has their basic needs met. We should also not be spending our tithes on electric and gas bills or building new church buildings. The tithes are for the ministering to people.

3) Gifts – “Teruma”

Gifts are a special kind of offering. Rather than an offering of sacrifice, this gift comes from the heart. This is what we call generosity.

“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” – 2 Corinthians 9:7

This is completely consistent with what the law taught when such gifts were requested for the materials to make the Tabernacle of Moses or even refurbish the Temple under Joash. You don’t give this because you need to or because you are commanded to. This gift is completely out of joy and love for the Lord. You simply desire to do something special for the Lord. But remember that there is an element of secrecy to this gift.

A few years ago, I knew a person who wanted to send his child to a Christian private school but couldn’t afford it. I was already sending my children to the same school and knew that I could afford another child as well. I approached the school and offered to pay for the tuition of this pastor’s child under the condition that it must be anonymous. It was with great joy that I watched that family send their child and receive the benefits of that Christian school rather than the pollution of public school. They never knew who paid for it, and I never felt a need to get recognition. The joy of giving the gift was enough.

This is the giving that Malachi was talking about. Give bountifully. Paul also reiterates to give bountifully and you will reap bountifully. I’ll note that I never received anything but the joy of watching a family have something that they couldn’t afford. It was enough. These gifts are usually to a specific purpose that the giver determines they want to participate in.

4) Widows Mite

The last form of giving is a special form of gift. We get it from the same scripture we started with.

“And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: for all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.” Luke 21:1-4

Mark 12 also describes this occurrence of giving. In the first three types of giving, you are giving a portion out of the abundance that the Lord has given you. In offerings, you give what the Lord has laid on your heart to give for the reason you are told to do it. In tithing, you are commanded to give 1/10th of your increase for the funding and operation of the Lord’s ministry. In gifts, you give voluntarily and generously to a cause of your choice but in all three cases you are always giving out of a larger amount.

This special type of giving, you are giving out of your own life. You put the needs of the person you are giving to above your own needs. Mothers understand this type of giving. This is the kind of giving that the Messiah gave to us. He gave out of his own life for us. There are no qualifications on the receiver of this gift. It does not matter whether the receiver deserves or even needs the gift. In the case of the Messiah, He gave to us when we had no claim at all on the gift. We did not deserve any part of it.

Do you wonder if you can give at this level?

Are you trying to qualify the recipient. Do you think that they might not deserve the gift? Can you give to those that you don’t even know? To give at this level, you only care that you have an opportunity to prefer the recipient over yourself. This is what a bond servant is. If you want to call yourself a bond servant of the Lord, you need to be able to give at this level to the Lord. You need to grasp the sovereign-vassal relationship and understand that as a vassal of the Lord, your only desire is to give to your Lord your widows mite.

Give As You Have Received

Learn to give as you yourself have received from the Lord. Give the best you can, even if the only thing you can give is yourself. Give your heart and your life to God. That is way more valuable than any money or material objects in the world. When you begin to share out of your need rather than your abundance and prefer other brethren over yourself, you have given a truly great gift.

See Also:

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  1. Where is Part#4 is your writing ??

    Ok… you did an Excellent job of presenting the “First Fruits ” side, but Proverbs 3-vs 9 reads….
    “Honor the Lord from your Wealth
    AND from the first of all your produce”
    NAS Bible
    Your Bible May read slightly different, but any way you cut it…. this means TWO sources.. not one. ie. Both “First Fruits” AND “Your Wealth”.

    I found this verse about 10 years ago [after having already lived 65 years as a practicing Christian Tither!] and finally found the missing piece in my Estate Plan…. GOD !!

    Hard to believe but I am told that 70% of practicing Christians DO NOT give Any of their Wealth at death to God. It all goes to our children and/or some favorite charities/ Universities etc. NONE to God. That was us… part of the 70%. Sad. .

    That changed and now I can smile while reading that Proverbs verse. For the first time we ‘added’ GOD to the families “Estate”[after our death] Planning and created a Charitable Trust by “deeding” to the Trust an already paid-in-full property [a Commercial Building that we owned]. When that “sunsets” [upon the deaths of both me and my wife] it will automatically become a “XXX Family Foundation” as a living Legacy to all my families future generations to enhance THEIR Christian giving lives! Our Family Foundation is already in place with the Georgia Baptist Foundation, Duluth GA [800-452-9064}, who will administer it with the active advice of our living family members on where Christian giving from the Family Foundation will go every year.

    If You have a “Missing Piece”…GOD… in YOUR Estate Plan,like we had, then change that. Remember that Proverbs Verse… “…and your Wealth” !

    Lets hear from others on this.

    1. Lee,

      I don’t understand what you mean about “Part 4”. You’re reading it here in this article.

      Actually, I did address your concern. You are to tithe your first fruits and from your increase. The increase is what you have over-and-above what you paid for it. The first fruits are because you are to give the “first” of anything that is returned to you back to God. It teaches you discipline. Another way to look at that might be called “delayed gratification”. You are not supposed to enjoy your wealth until you have taken care of your obligation to God. This discipline is what is required to learn to make good financial decisions. Remember, it isn’t about giving “things” to God. He already owns it all. It’s about teaching us to be good stewards of His resources.

      There is no Biblical mandate for donating part of the inheritance you give to your inheritor as a tithe. You can, of course, give it if you want, but it isn’t tithe, offering or a gift at that point. There is no Biblical requirement mandating it though. That inheritance is to become “seed” to the recipient and then they are responsible for learning to manage the resources through tithing on the increase over an above what they inherited.

      It is very important to remember that God does not need nor desire your things. He already owns it all. The concept of giving part of your wealth to God upon your death is derived from the apostate church who thinks in terms of money rather than ministry. They want that money and they have no qualms about guilting anyone into making them an inheritor. But the reality is that tithing’s purpose is not the ministry, but to teach us to be good stewards of His resources and to get us personally involved in the ministry to the needy of our brethren.

      To be fair, there is nothing inherently wrong with giving a church or a ministry part of your children’s inheritance, but it is kind of a pointless gift. It doesn’t count as tithe, offering, or gift because after you are dead, there is no sacrifice on your part in the gift. The sacrifice must be part of the gift to be valued by the Lord.

    2. Lee,
      Upon rereading your comment, I have a question for you. Since sacrifice is an integral part of any gift to the Lord, how is it that you think your “family foundation” will enhance their Christian giving lives? And why do you feel you need to have a legal entity that is not a human carry your legacy?

    1. JimW,
      Thank you for those kind words. This actually represents years of studying the concept of giving to God and was actually started because of a discussion I had with a KJV only, NT only person who claimed that the only valid giving to God was giving with a cheerful heart. There is much I left out because this could easily have been a 20 part article, but I think I covered the most important parts – What types of giving, how the giving is valued by God, and why we do it.
      I’m frustrated that the modern apostate church just ignores scripture – unless it says give them money.
      I didn’t even touch on the subject of 501c.3 in churches and the modern trend of trying to get credit with God and the secular government for the same gift, along with many other subjects on giving. It is a very rich subject in the Scriptures.

  2. 1-these commands were given to physical isreal- we are spiritually grafted in. 2- only agricutural and naturally occuring produce was to be tithed on. 3- only priests from the bloodline of Aaron could accept tithes in the name of God- only priests genetically descended from Aaron- no exceptions!

    1. Ray,
      You can’t just present a statement like that as truth without any scripture to back it up. What are you basing that on? Without any sort of scriptural basis, the statement is only an opinion.

      1. R2- ok 1- when we are saved we become Christians- not isrealites.2-the old testament commands were given to physical isreal- not those of any other bloodlines. 3 – the (what) to be tithed on is described in leviticus 27-26_33. 4- after the 10 commandments were given and the commandments on tithing were established. Only Aaron and his sons- decendents- were given permission to collect tithes in the name of God- there NO exceptions given to this rule!

        1. Ray,
          You are still not giving scripture to support your opinion. You are only stating an opinion. What you have is a very traditional church view – One that has 1700 years of anti-Semitism deeply ingrained in it. The 3rd century church worked really hard to separate itself from their Hebrew origins, even to the point of all out anti-Semitism. Let me give you an example:

          We all understand that the Hebrew people are God’s chosen people. In Exodus 12:6, right after they are brought out of Egypt, they are referred to as the Congregation. ( עֵדָה or “adat” Strong’s #5712). This same word is translated in the Septuagint as ἐκκλησία (ekklasia). Interesting that that same word appears multiple times in the New Testatment and is translated “Church of God” or “assembly of God”.
          Just what do you suppose Paul means when he says in Galations 3:29 “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

          If you want the promises of God to apply to you, you ought not to be so quick to separate yourself from the Hebrew people. If you are adopted into the Lords family, then Abraham is your father as well. The promises you seek from God belong to the seed of Abraham.

          Broken church tradition is a hard thing to turn loose of even if it is wrong. Just because they did it that way for 1700 years doesn’t make it right either.

  3. RE: Getting out of debt,. Since my brain doesn’t always fire on all cylinders, I want to make sure I get the Getting out of Debt part correct. So, let’s say the debt is $14,400 and the person will tithe 400 per month. So 1/5th of 400 is $80. We know that $14,400 divided by $400 will take exactly 3yrs to pay off. We know that $80×36= $2,880. So on that next tithe the redemption would be $2,880+400=$3,280 Is that correct?

    1. @Mongo

      no, it would be $14,400 + $2,880.

      The advantage of the system is that you learn to become disciplined. Most people will not pay their tithe when they are deep in debt. Some even feel that they can’t as they are just getting by. But if you adopt the sytem and keep track, budgeting along the way, you’ll find that you make much wiser choices. It’s not about saving money. You are obligated on your debts and you have to pay them. It’s about learning to be a good steward of your resources. Today’s society is so far into the debt culture that they can’t grasp owning a home free and clear and paying cash for a car with no debt. When you hear most say they are “debt free”, they are usually excluding their home mortgage. To truly get debt free and be a good steward of God’s resources, you have to be a good steward of what He has given you. The Tithe redemption is simply a method that loads the payment toward the end of the three years to give you time to get your finances under control.

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