The Apostles' Doctrine: Giving

Spiry Tee

"Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life."
I Timothy 6:18‭-‬19 NKJV

Giving is one of the foundational teachings of the New Testament.  The key scripture that I believe opens the New Testament is John 3:16 in which God loves the world too much to give His ONLY begotten Son. Giving is the fruit of love. Where there is love there is giving and that with a ready mind; for love is not love until you give it away.

The New Testament doctrine of giving is founded on God's type of giving. He did not give to get, He gave because He loved. Love must be the believer's motivation when giving. In Christ we do not give to get a blessing for we are already blessed. Jesus became a curse for us that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ (Galatians 3:13-14).

When it comes to blessing, apostle Paul said, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ," (Ephesians 1:3 NKJV). Therefore our giving is out of the blessings we recieved from God. We don't give to try and convince God to bless us, protect us from the devourer or take away the curse. We give because of love.

John the beloved gives witness to love as a motivation for giving, "By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?" (I John 3:16‭-‬17 NKJV). His enquiry was how can you say you love and can not give where there is need because where love is, giving is a natural consequence.

It is a lie that when you don't tithe your life will be tight. It is a lie that a Christian who does not tithe is cursed.  The blessing of the New Testament has one condition: are you in Christ? If you are in Christ it is impossible to be cursed just because you did not pay tithes.

After all when Abraham gave the tithe to Melchizedek, he was already blessed; "Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said: “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him a tithe of all." (Genesis 14:18‭-‬20 NKJV).

Check what came first on Abraham from Melchizedek who was a type of Christ? Is it the tithe or the blessing? The blessing came first of course.  By this time Abraham was already blessed and rich by God's grace and provision. Take a look at what he said to the king of Sodom, soon after his encounter with Melchidezek King of Salem, "Now the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the persons, and take the goods for yourself.” But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have raised my hand to the Lord, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth, that I will take nothing, from a thread to a sandal strap, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich’" (Genesis 14:21‭-‬23 NKJV). He was already rich. It is not the tithe that made him rich, it was the Lord. After all, the goods he used to give tithe to Melchizedek was not his own stuff but the spoils he got from battle which actually belonged to the Sodomites. He later gave the rest of the goods to the king of Sodom for they belonged to him.

Don't let anyone bring you into bondage by saying that tithe came before the law therefore we are SUPPOSED to tithe. No. There are many things that came before the law including worshipping God with animal sacrifice. So must we do that because it came before the law of Moses? Of course not.

You owe God nothing but love. If you love Him, His people, His Agenda and His kingdom, nothing is too good to give away. It is too late to pay God ten percent of your belongings when you have already given hundred percent of your life to Him. God does not deserve, neither does He want ten percent of our lives, He wants to be Lord and that means He owns us hundred percent. We are His and everything that belongs to us. When He needs it used somewhere in His plan it must go.

Some Christian's today say you must not eat your tithes. That is even worse than the law of Moses. In the Old Testament they ate their tithe, “You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year. And you shall eat before the Lord your God, in the place where He chooses to make His name abide, the tithe of your grain and your new wine and your oil, of the firstborn of your herds and your flocks, that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always. But if the journey is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, or if the place where the Lord your God chooses to put His name is too far from you, when the Lord your God has blessed you, then you shall exchange it for money, take the money in your hand, and go to the place which the Lord your God chooses. And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or similar drink, for whatever your heart desires; you shall eat there before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household. You shall not forsake the Levite who is within your gates, for he has no part nor inheritance with you." (Deuteronomy 14:22‭-‬27 NKJV).

Tithe was for the person that was tithing, his household and not forgetting the Levite, the poor including widows and orphans. To be clear, tithe is not a New Testament doctrine. The apostles did not teach it even though they taught giving. Giving must be done in love and true love is not transactional. You give even expecting nothing back but the fulfillment you experience in loving others. And remember we have life because God first loved, and we love because He first loved us and love is the proof that we have eternal life in us. Those alive to God do not struggle to give because it is part of their nature to do so.

I am born of love and I express my love through giving of myself to God and others. Loving God and others is proof that I have life.

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