3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Tithe

3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Tithe November 2, 2010

I’ve read a lot of good articles over the last year about tithing and each made some great points. I wanted to put my own spin on the subject of tithing, so I’m going to give you three reasons why you shouldn’t tithe.

You Shouldn’t Tithe If…

1. You tithe because you want recognition.

Matthew 6: 1-4 instructs us how NOT to give to the needy.

“Matt. 6:2 So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.”

If we’re instructed to be humble about how we give to those in need, I think we can apply this to how we give to the Church – which will probably use some of your funds to…you guessed it, help the needy. The same is true if you’re giving directly to those in need. If you want recognition for your giving, you should reconsider your motives.

2. You tithe begrudgingly.

– Simple definition: Begrudgingly – adv. To give or expend with reluctance.

If you give unwillingly and complain every time you think about tithing, you probably shouldn’t tithe. You’re not alone if you feel this way; Paul addressed this issue almost 2,000 years ago. In 2 Corinthians 9:7, Paul says:

“Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

If you’re going to grumble about giving or tithing, then don’t do it.

3. You tithe because of selfish ambition.

Jesus himself addressed this issue in Luke 18: 10-14.

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.

But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

I tell you that this man, rather than the other went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

If you don’t want to be humble in your giving, you probably shouldn’t give. A selfish attitude doesn’t pair well with the true spirit of giving; so don’t worry about tithing if you’re just doing it to feel better about yourself.

Now, let’s talk about why you should tithe.

First, what is a tithe? Tithe literally means ‘tenth.’ As Christians, we’ve known tithe to be giving a tenth back to God. This is done usually through giving tithes to your church – but isn’t restricted to just your church (an issue that can be debated in and of itself).

The Old Testament gives instruction on tithing in many areas, but puts it succinctly in Deuteronomy 14:22-23:

“Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year. Eat the tithe of your grain, new wine and oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks in the presence of the LORD your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name, so that you may learn to revere the Lord your God always.”

The question that immediately comes up is: Are we to follow the law of the Old Testament for tithing if we are under a New Covenant through Christ? Besides, the New Testament doesn’t explicitly tell us to tithe 10%, so why do it?

The New Testament focuses more on ‘giving’ and the attitude of your heart.

This verse was used earlier, but is worth quoting again to summarize what giving means from a New Testament perspective:

2 Corinthians 9:7 “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

So here are three reasons why we should give.

1. It’s an act of worship.

Whether you’re referencing the Old Testament or New Testament, giving to God with a pure heart is an act of worship. By giving a portion to God, you’re trusting in Him to use it to further His Kingdom. You’re also acknowledging that everything comes from Him and that He’ll continue to provide for you.

2. To further God’s Kingdom.

How can we expect the Gospel to be spread if we don’t support ministries financially? We’re instructed in Matthew 28:19 to

”Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.“

The reality is that working in the ministry requires supplies and if we don’t give, who will?

3. To bless others.

The book of Acts tells us that Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” We’re instructed in 2 Corinthians 8:7 to

“excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us – see that you also excel in this grace of giving.”

This aspect of giving can be very rewarding spiritually. What better way to share the love of Christ than through meeting the physical needs of his people – so that you can feed their spiritual needs with His grace.

For me, giving can be summed up in these three points. I’m not here to convince you to start giving more. I just wanted to share my thoughts on what giving means to me and hope that a different perspective can help shape your views on giving.

Even more, I think that tithing/giving doesn’t just represent financial sacrifices. In fact, you can reread this entire post and insert the idea of tithing/giving a portion of your time, and each point will still apply. I tried to approach the subject this way and I hope it helped you as you decide what it is that you want to give.

I would love to hear your thoughts about tithing and giving! Share your opinions about giving below.

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  • Alisa

    Catchy title…I definitely had to read it. Good job with the posts. Keep it up.

  • Dr. D Cornwell, DBS

    Excellent post. A preacher I once knew said, “If an Old Testament saint gave 10% of his increase under the bondage of the law, how much more should a child of God give knowing his sins are redeemed under grace!”

    Of note: Abraham and Jacob also tithed before the law and under grace (Genesis 14:20,28:22).

    • is not contained in scurrtpie. It is popular opinion more or less.Where is it written in scurrtpie that 10% is our guide to giving? Scour every page of the bible you will not find it in both Old and New Testaments. And the parallel you are trying to draw between all the offerings of the Old Testament and our giving in the New Testament is not one taught in the bible. The numerous offerings i.e. giving of firstborns et all were all shadows of Christ. Christ fulfilled every aspect of these rites on our behalf thus making it totally unnecessary to keep observing them either in whole or in part.Also, I am not very sure the bible describes the tithe the way you say. Tithes were given on crops and livestock alone, never on money. It is virtually impossible to tithe money. Furthermore, the bible never defines the tithe as 10% but as the TENTH PART. This was determined by dividing the crops into ten equal parts and separating the tenth part as the tithe. For the tithe of animals, every tenth one was separated as the tithe. So if for example a farmer had 37 sheep, the 10th, 20th and 30th sheep were his tithe. People assume that the children of Israel operated a barter system hence the tithe on agricultural produce; that is false. God allowed people to buy back their tithes by paying its monetary value plus 20% of this value in lieu. The tithe could also be exchanged for money if the place God commanded it to be eaten is too far for the tither. These commands would have sounded quite silly if money was not available.For the new testament believer, God never gave us a 10% guide or rule of thumb for giving instead we have are all encouraged to give as we are able and it will be accepted as long as it has been given willingly and cheerfully.

  • I haven’t always tithed but I can tell you that when I started things changed in my life. I didn’t come into some large sum of money. I didn’t get a huge promotion or even see a positive change in my health. But what did happen was a inward peace that came from knowing I was being obedient and that I was worshiping my Lord by doing so!

    • Betty

      Rich with SFP, i totally agree with you. Some of us interprate the bible to suite their interests and may God have mercy on them and show them the path of righteousness. In the book if Malachi 3:9-10 it says; You are under a curse the whole nation of you because you are robbing God. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this, says the Lord and see if i will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessings that you will not have room enough for it.

  • Tim

    @Alisa – Thanks! Appreciate the compliment : )

    @Dr. Cornwell – Thanks for sharing that quote! Never thought of that before, but that preacher was right! It just goes to show that tithing/giving shouldn’t be done in a legalistic way, but with a pure heart.

    @Rich – When it comes down to it, worshiping God is the exact thing we were made to do. It’s fitting that tithing/giving is an act of worship and that we can feel a peace about it as well as joy when we give!

    Thanks for your comments everyone!

  • Here are my 10 reasons why tithing is not required

    http:// churchtithesandofferings.com/blog/top-10-reasons-why-tithing-is-not-required/

    – jared

  • Tim,

    The title was a good hook…I just had to read why I shouldn’t tithe. Your reasons, of course, are quite valid, as are your reasons for why we SHOULD tithe.

    Although the New Testament does not clearly instruct tithing (it probably shouldn’t or we would become legalistic about it), it seems to me that those who argue against the tithe lean toward giving less than 10%. Have you ever heard someone promote not tithing because 10% is too little?

  • Tim

    @Jared – Thanks for stopping by and sharing your link. I agree that giving is what we’re called to do under the New Covenant. I like to use 10% as a goal for my own personal giving – but how great would it be if you could give 20, 40, 60% of your income and bless others and use your finances to expand the Kingdom!

    @Joe – Haha, yeah I guess I wanted to stand out : ) Thanks for the kind words. I think you’re right about the legalistic potential for tithing if the New Testament instructed us to give exactly 10%.

    You make an interesting point about those who argue against tithe and give less than 10% of their income. I don’t feel that these people are wrong for giving less than 10%, but I’d challenge them to look into their motives and ask if they’ve ever thought about living on less and blessing others more.

    I’ve never heard of someone NOT tithing because 10% is too little. I have heard the argument for the graduated tithe, which is an interesting concept. Craig at Money Help For Christians had a cool post on it here: http://www.moneyhelpforchristians.com/the-graduated-tithe-a-giving-strategy/

  • Yes, I have read Craig’s post on graduated tithing. I generally pay close attention to anything Craig has to say. Wouldn’t it be great if all believers simply gave generously because of the reasons you listed? My hunch is that most or all of us would find ourselves tithing without doing the math.

    • Tim

      That would be awesome!! No calculators needed : )

  • Gene

    Whenever I’ve had financial difficulties I had to check my giving/tithing. I would find that I had become undisciplined in my giving. Still can’t figure out God’s math — I was “robbing Peter to pay Paul” and still couldn’t make ends meet, but once I made the commitment to start giving, with no increase in income, I am able to meet all my obligations and to my surprise, still have a few dollars left over. I guess it’s just the obedience that allows the blessing.???

    • Tim

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Gene! It goes to show how we serve an awesome God.

      When we give, I believe we are telling God that our dependence isn’t on money, but on him. As soon as we start fully trusting God in areas like our finances, marriage, relationships, etc, I think that His blessings will increase beyond our comprehension!

  • Tim-MO

    Have you ever applied the New Testament verse where Jesus said you’re right you should have given a tithe of every spice… but don’t miss God’s point completely of treating others with Love (loosely para-phrased). So Jesus did say in the New Testament that you should tithe. I’m more partial to the tithes + offerings, because it is more fun to give than receive.

    I like keeping a God/giving account(with checks and a debit card). Like Abraham(?) said, he sets Gods portion aside, out of his tent, so he doesn’t spend or consume what is God’s. All of our giving, whatever percent we elected, goes there first. Then we seek God’s direction on where He would like us to give His money. That usually includes Church and others whenever opportunities arise.
    Great article. Be Blessed!

    • Tim

      Thanks for commenting Tim! Literally setting aside money (in separate accounts if needed) can help develop discipline in our lives and let us focus on the things that really matter – sharing the love of God with others.

      Good points!

  • Excellent Article. Those are the proper motives. Not to receive, but to give. You site looks great and I like what I am seeing! Keep up the good work and supporting the work of the Kingdom!


    Pastor Duke Taber

  • James Benford







  • Hey! I just read your guest post on Punch Debt in the Face and had to come over and read this post. One of the reasons I tithe (other than the reasons listed above) is to remind myself that no matter how much or how little I have, I still have something to give. Sometimes I think discipline serves as a fantastic learning tool.

  • Tim

    Thanks for stopping by City Flips! You make a great point about the discipline of tithing in the small things and big things! Glad that you stopped by!

  • ela

    funny thing about tithing… most Christians do not do it. 3 percent or so tithe on a regular basis. so it would seem that most Christian don’t think they should be doing it. I did it for 6 months or so then stopped. Need to work on this area again.

    Many Christians talk about it, few do it.

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  • Wangari Maathai

    Nice post, I want to join Gabriel of Sedona community, they work for poor people of society & run programs to protect society. Do you guys have any view about them? Pls let me know.

  • April Green

    Awesome post the title really got my attention had to read your opinion!

  • Great article, thanks for covering it from this perspective. I counsel people in extreme financial difficulty sometimes and am humbled by those that continue to give, but sometimes people have to temp suspend most giving because things are so bad, so that might be a reason, but I think it makes sense to always give some time and money. I blog about tithe from time to time, and it is interesting and surprising to see the wide range of viewpoints. Many argue for or against it, funny it seems those that are the most generous open hearted warm joy filled people tithe.

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  • Saw the title and had to click on it. Great article. I really like your website too.