Q. The Pastor at the church we attend says that tithing is mandatory to be blessed by God and he also says very often that if you don’t tithe you will be cursed. I thought we were saved and blessed because of what Jesus did. Doesn’t God bless us because he loves us and we’re his children in spite of our performance in tithing?
A. The only thing that’s mandatory in the New Testament is believing that Jesus died for our sins and rose again. For New Testament believers, our giving can be compared to leaving a tip in a restaurant. Tipping is the way we say thanks for the service we’ve received. Giving to God is our way of saying thanks for all he’s done for us.
But Jesus did say that He would determine the level of blessings we receive based on our giving. In Luke 6:38 He said, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Paul confirmed this. He said whoever sows sparingly will reap sparingly, but whoever sows generously will also reap generously. He also said we should decide for ourselves what to give and that we shouldn’t feel like we’re being forced to give, because God loves cheerful givers (2 Cor. 9:6-7).
This doesn’t mean we should only give because we expect to get something back. That’s being greedy, not grateful. Our giving has to be an expression of our gratitude for what we’ve already received.
Finally, as far as the Lord is concerned, being generous to others is just like being generous to Him (Matt. 25:40). Giving to ministries that help the less fortunate, or helping someone directly, is just the same as putting money in the collection plate. Like everything else where the Lord is concerned, it’s the attitude of our heart that counts. God will respond generously to all who demonstrate an attitude of generosity toward Him.