When churches preach about money, they almost always quote Mal 3:8-12 to stress the importance of giving 10% of your monthly income to the place you worship – i.e. THEM… But what does the Bible teach about tithing? Let’s look at the verse from Mal 3:10 to better understand what he is referring to.
“Bring all the tithes (the tenth) into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “ if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you [so great] a blessing until there is no more room to receive it.” Mal 3:10 AMP
Let’s look at the first concept: “all the tithes” – to understand this we’ll have to go to Deut 14:22-29: 22 “Every year you shall certainly tithe [a tenth] of all the yield of your seed which is produced by your field. 23 You shall eat the tithe (tenth) of your grain, your new wine, your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and your flock before the Lord your God in the place where He chooses to establish His Name (Presence), so that you may learn to fear [and worship] the Lord your God [with awe-filled reverence and profound respect] always. 24 If the place where the Lord your God chooses to set His Name (Presence) is a great distance from you and you are not able to carry your tithe, because the Lord your God has blessed you [with such an abundance], 25 then you shall exchange your tithe for money, and take the money in your hand and go to the place [of worship] which the Lord your God chooses. 26 You may spend the money for anything your heart desires: for oxen, or sheep, or wine, or [other] strong drink, or anything else you want. You shall eat there in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household. 27 Also you shall not neglect the Levite who is within your [city] gates, for he does not have a share [of land] or an inheritance among you. 28 “At the end of every third year you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce for that year, and shall store it up within your [city] gates. 29 The Levite, because he has no share [of land] or an inheritance among you, and the stranger, and the orphan and the widow who are within your [city] gates, shall come and eat and be satisfied, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.“
Verse 28 says that “at the end of every third year you shall bring out all the tithe” see here’s the concept of ‘ALL OF THE TITHE’ and we can gather from Malachi 3 that the Israelites kept on eating the tithes even in the third year when they were supposed to bring it to the Storehouse and that is why God is angry at them and accuses them of stealing from Him. Also when the Levites, poor, needy & strangers came to get food from the Storehouse, there was none to be given them. The second concept is the Storehouse. In ancient times special storehouses were established in the temple to receive the tithes of the harvest. If the people were not faithful, the priests could not continue to serve and perform their duties. (Deut 26:12-14; Neh 12:44).
So only once every THIRD year should a tithe be given and put into the Storehouse for the Levite, poor & strangers and this tithe is NOT money but food. Imagine churches starting to build Storehouses for tithing food and the poor & needy could come and get what they needed…?
As followers of Jesus, I still believe in giving but as Paul has described it in 2 Cor 9:6-12: “Let each one give [thoughtfully and with purpose] just as he has decided in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver [and delights in the one whose heart is in his gift].”