On Tithing and Financial Giving (Chapell)

Scripture calls God’s people to give of their finances to support the ministry and work of his church. For one example, think of how Paul thanked the Philippian church for their generous financial gifts to support his missionary endeavors (Phil. 4:18). For another example, think of how Paul tells God’s people to financially support pastors (1 Tim. 5:18). Some people call this financial giving “tithing” or “giving alms” based on Scripture’s language. Whatever you call it, Christians should remember that the Lord loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7). Speaking of this, here’s how Bryan Chapell explains generous giving:

God is calling us to give from the heart, because if we begin to establish legalistic rules for giving, we will begin to argue over our rules rather than assessing others’ needs. Are we supposed to tithe on the gross or the net? Should we tithe before or after taxes? Should we tithe on the investment value, the purchase value, or the market value? I have heard preachers and accountants try to argue such things from the scantiest of biblical evidence in ways that make me blush.

What’s a better, more biblical way for New Testament Christians to think? Here’s where I land out of love for Christ and zeal for God’s mission: if those anticipating the gospel in Old Testament times gave one-tenth of their income, how much more should we, who fully know the triumph of our risen Lord and the goodness of his gospel, be willing to give for Christ’s purposes? God wants our generosity to be motivated by gratitude and thanksgiving for who he is and what he has done.

An honest tithe can be a good marker of a generous heart, but selfless hearts that are sensitive to others’ needs and confident of God’s provision are those best engaged in God’s purposes. Such heart motivation has always been the fuel that is supposed to drive God’s people in their provision for his worship. …The apostle Paul has given us the ultimate standard: ‘Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver’ (2 Cor. 9:7). God does not want us to be controlled by a formula or by fear but rather to be freed up for generosity by the cheerfulness that results from confidence in God’s gracious eternal provision.

Bryan Chapell, Grace at Work, p. 93-94.

Shane Lems
From Charlotte, NC