The tithe originates in the Old Testament.  Under the law of Moses, the tribes of Israel (with the exception of the Levites) were required to give the tithe  - or 10% of all that they had accumulated (mainly agricultural produce) - to God.  It wasn't that God needed the tithe for Himself, but what was collected was given to the Levites, the tribe of priests.  And the giving didn't stop at 10%.  The Israelites also gave 10% for feasts, and another 10% every three years to benefit the Levites and the poor.   On top of that they gave freewill offerings. And what they gave to God was to come from their first fruits, the first of a particular crop. 

The tithe is a concept that predates the Mosaic law, and while not specifically mentioned as a requirement for Christians in the New Testament, the principle of giving back to God a portion of what He has given to us remains to this day.  As in the days of ancient Israel, the offerings of Christians help support ministers of the Gospel.  And they provide for the needs of the poor, especially of those who belong to the Church.

For some Christians who have very limited funds, giving back to God can be truly sacrificial.  Jesus recognized this by highlighting the generosity of the widow who gave all that she had to God.  And He Looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury.  And He saw a poor widow putting in two small copper coins.  And He said, "Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on."  Luke 21:1-4

We can take comfort in knowing that God, creator of Heaven and Earth, is very much aware of all that we do in our efforts to please Him.  And that He is more than able to supply our needs. 

In 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, Paul writes "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also.  On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper...."

Giving in the New Testament world is to be systematic.  And it is proportionate to how much we have received.

In 2 Corinthians 9:7 Paul goes on to write:  "Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."

Each believer must prayerfully decide how much to give then follow through cheerfully, not with an attitude of being forced into it.  God looks at our disposition as much as the amount of the gift.

"And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea."  (Acts 11:29).

Christian giving should primarily benefit Christians who are involved with active ministry for the Lord.  And, as in the Old Testament, to help the poor among believers.  God looks out for His own.  He takes His promises seriously.  And He regularly uses people to fulfill His promises.  Ministers of the Gospel often earn their entire living from their Christian work.  Christian believers who are for whatever reason poor financially and who look to the Lord for His promised provision may find it supplied through the giving of Christians who are more richly endowed with material wealth.

What if you are truly among the poor who need to receive from other Christians?  Pray and see if there is not something of what God has given you that you can give back to Him.  It may be very, very small, like the widow's mite, but you can be sure that He will be aware of it and may multiply it in ways you cannot even imagine.

God showed His deep love for us by sending Jesus to die so that we wouldn't have to because of our sins.  He knows exactly what we need.  By giving back to Him a portion of what He has given us cheerfully and without feeling we must, we demonstrate our faith in and love for Him.

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