Jesus talked about money . . . A LOT. He told us, “Where our treasure is, there our heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). It is no surprise that talking about money is a sensitive issue; it’s tied to our hearts. When our heart attitudes are confronted with truth, we always react. Do we get angry? Do we leave the conversation? Or do we humbly change? Much of our sensitivity comes from misconceptions/myths about the Bible’s teaching on money. In this blog series, we’ll look at some of the myths that people wrestle with.
Money Myth #1: The New Testament Doesn’t Talk About Tithing.
Paul talks about receiving offerings for the work of the ministry and for the poor, and giving in proportion to what an individual earns. In these cases the word “tithe” is not used. People often take that to say tithing isn’t a New Testament principle. But Jesus does talk about tithing. Jesus says this:
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.” (Matthew 23:23)
Jesus is confronting legalism in the religious establishment. The religious experts were sure that they needed to tithe everything. They even tithed out of their herb garden. But they were missing the point entirely. The tithe was supposed to be collected by the priest and used to fund the work of the temple, provide for the priests, and to be distributed to the poor in their community. The pharisees were tithing but they were not doing so in a way that was motivated by justice, mercy and faithfulness.
In this passage, Jesus is telling us that we should give our tenth, and pursue justice, mercy and faithfulness. Jesus never said to stop tithing. Tithing isn’t what saves us from our sins; Jesus alone does that. But when we tithe with a heart towards justice, mercy and faithfulness, we are transformed. Instead of giving merely out of duty and the burden of obligation, we give as an act of worship to God.