Q. My question is about the prescribed way and the motive behind new testament giving. In Luke 6: 38 and 2 Cor 9: 6-11. The kind of blessing associated with this way of giving far surpasses the blessings associated with tithing in Malachi. It even includes physical, spiritual, mental and social blessing. Why do we still dwell so much on tithing instead of this kind of giving? And shouldn’t we give where we are fed, or should it automatically be given to our local assembly?
A. In my experience believers begin tithing out of a desire to be obedient rather than to receive the promised blessings. Later, those who realize they’re being blessed for tithing often find their motivation changing from obedience to gratitude. That’s the point at which Luke 6:38 and 2 Cor. 9:6-11 become meaningful. They begin to understand that the measure we use in our giving determines the measure God will use in His blessing, and that our generosity toward others so pleases Him that he looks for ways to be more generous with us.
You’re right, the promises of the New Testament are much more comprehensive than those in Malachi 3:9-10, which promised only an abundant harvest. In 2 Cor. 9:11 Paul said we’ll be made rich in every way so we can be generous on every occasion.
I think it’s a big mistake for some in the Church to focus so much on tithing. Generous giving is a practice that can be learned but I don’t believe it can be taught, except by the Holy Spirit. And I don’t agree that the entire tithe should necessarily go to the local assembly. Surely we should contribute financial support to the place that contributes to our spiritual support. But believers should learn follow the Lord’s prompting in their giving.