Q. Referring to the tithing done in the Old Testament – ten percent was given to support the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who served, not only as spiritual leaders, but as the governing body of Israel. As you well know, we give more than ten percent to the IRS — our governing body. But, then, Yeshua said to give to Caesar what was Caesar’s and to Yahweh what is Yahweh’s. While this would not be a hardship for us, it is for many who make very little.
Also, to whom do we give this ten percent? There are very few churches that teach the truth. My husband will not give ten percent of his salary for many reasons. I, being without earned income, donate each Wed. afternoon to doing work at my congregation. At minimum wage, this still would not make up for the ten percent we don’t give. We also try to help some of our needy neighbors down the road with food, appliances, and help with things they don’t know how to do (such as installing a window air conditioner, fixing a broken down pipe, driving them to the store, etc.) But this still doesn’t replace the ten percent, I realize.
This bothers me a lot, but I don’t feel free to give my husband’s salary. Please comment.
A. Two years out of three the tithe of their production was set aside and brought to Jerusalem at harvest time to be used in a giant national celebration during the Feast of Tabernacles. (Deut. 12:4-7) Every third year it was given to the Levites for their use and for helping the foreigners among them. (Deut. 14:28-29) Israel’s kings, who ran the country, taxed the citizenry separately just like our governments do today.
A good rule of thumb for distributing your tithe is first to financially support those who spiritually support you (a church and/or other ministry) and then to look around you to see where God is working and pitch in. This could be a missionary effort, pregnancy resource center, rescue mission, or other similar kind of outreach to the downtrodden both within and outside the church.
When you exercise your prayerful judgment and give in faith, the recipient(s) of your gift become accountable for its use. And remember, no matter how little you earn, faithfully paying your tithe is the remedy for financial hardships, not their cause.
Your husband’s unwillingness to return the Lord’s portion is his problem, not yours. Perhaps he doesn’t understand what his attitude is costing him. You should respect his wishes, but pray that the Lord will change his heart. In the mean time continue as you are, contributing as you can, and the Lord will bless your efforts.