On Tithes and Offerings
The Scribes, Priests, and Pharisees of Yeshua's day were not shy about asking for money. They praised the people for giving money and gave special honor to those who gave large gifts ( Matt. 6:2).
In Matthew 6:2-3 Yeshua taught strongly against the concept of honoring those who give on the basis of the SIZE of the gift. It is sad that many in the religious world still have the attitude condemned by Messiah. They continue to beg from the pulpit, radio, and T.V. for more and more money. Many suggest or demand that G*d wants far more than 10%, or that giving to some particular ministry will OBLIGATE G*d to bless the giver.
There is much confusion and ignorance about this very practical area of service to Ha Shem. It is our aim to present a biblical overview of giving, and have our thinking on the matter available for your carefull consideration.
What is Tithing?
The Hebrew word for tithe is ma'asrah. It means the tenth part. The Greek words DEKATOO and APODEKATOO also mean 1/10th. Genesis 14:20 shows that the 10% tithe pre-dates the Law of Moses.
In both Avraham's and Moshe's times the tithe (10%) was the basic amount a person who was protected by the superior party of a blood covenant was to return to the protector.
The tithes paid were 10% of the increase which came as a result of the work a person did to provide for themselves and their family. "Thus all the tithe of the land, or of the fruit of the trees is the L*rd's; it is holy to the L*rd." ( Leviticus 27:30)
The L*rd required that 10% of one's increase, the result of his or her efforts to provide for the needs of the family, were to be given to the L*rd, since the L*rd was the superior of a covenant between Himself and the descendents of Avraham.
How Do I Relate To Tithes and Offerings?
We have a new covenant with G*d by means of the blood of Yeshua, the Messiah. The confidence we place in the Almighty One of Israel is the basis of our acceptability to G*d. If those who were only under the Covenant of Avraham gave tithes to their covenant protector, it seems only reasonable for those of us who are also under the Covenant sealed in the blood of Yeshua to give tithes to G*d.
Where Should I Give My Tithes?
Under the Covenant of Moses, people gave to the Levites, or priests, who ministered to
the L*rd on their behalf.
Question: My Spouse Does Not Attend Services and Objects to My Tithing - What Should I Do?
The fact that the spouse objects to tithing indicates that the spouse either has yet to experience
the benefits of the covenant of the Messiah, or is ignorant of what the Word of G*d says about the matter. We are far more concerned with the spiritual welfare
of your spouse than we are about receiving money from you. Please do not make tithing to Messiah Assembly an issue of family warfare. Follow after that which works
for peace and harmony in your family.
Should I Give Tithes From My Welfare Checks, Child Support Payments, Food Stamps, Etc.?
Please do not give them to Messiah Assembly! Tithes are given from the results of your labor.
We do not want anyone to feel ashamed of receiving public or private assistance to meet the necessities of life.
Should I Tithe Off My Gross or Net Income?
There was no such thing as income tax withholding in Bible times. People tithed off the gross.
What is the Difference Between Tithes and Offerings?
A tithe is 10%. It is given as a deliberate act of worship, of what a person has received from their work.
Less than 10% is an offering, not a tithe. More than 10% is a tithe plus an offering.
Is It Okay to Split My Tithe Up Among Several Ministries Who Do Good Work?
If you are doing that, you are giving several offerings, not a tithe. A tithe should go where you are being sustained and nurtured
and assisted to grow in the L*rd. It is theft if I go eat at Burger King and then go pay at McDonald's. If the place where
a believer regularly attends is not feeding and sustaining a person, they should seriously seek to find a place
I Attend the Services of Messiah Assembly and Those of a "Sunday" Church - Where Should I Tithe?
We do, from time to time, have people who attend both our services and go elsewhere. Some people take time to adjust to our very different way of doing things. We try to give them plenty of time to adjust to the culture shock, especially those people who have spent most of their life in a "Sunday-Go-To-Meeting" Cultural Setting.
This is our request to those people concerning their tithes - Please do not split your tithe between us and another place. Figure out and decide where your primary loyalty is, where you are most comforted and
sustained in the L*rd, and act accordingly.
Why Do You Not Take an Offering During Services?
We want those who tithe or give offering to Messiah Assembly to do so because they consider us to be a proper conduit
for them to give offerings to the L*rd through a sense of a strong covenant tie with Him.
Some General Observations About Tithing and Congregation Finances
Contrary to statements made about Messianic Congregations in general, and us specifically on certain "Anti-Messianic" web sites, we do not receive ANY financing from any Christian congregation, organization, or mission board. Messiah Assembly is totally and completely supported by the members who attend Messiah Assembly. The Rabbi of Messiah Assembly still works at a secular job. We do not say this by way of complaint, for the members of Messiah Assembly are wonderfully generous in their liberality. We will say that any description of a Messianic Congregation being "Generously Financed by Christian Denominations" does not fit us!
The fact that we do not take a public offering does not mean that we take the tithes and offerings given by
members of Messiah Assembly lightly or for granted. We are very thankful for the generosity
of those who attend. We thank G*d for your generosity and liberality. We pray for your finances.
We agonize and hurt, and pray fervently for those who we know to be struggling financially.
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