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Some preachers teach that Tithing does not only mean material things, but it also means giving 10% of your time as well. Some even say 10% of your everything, like your thoughts, your desires, your food, etc.

Is there any ambiguous1 reference from the Bible to support this? When did this teaching evolved? Is there any particular Christian sect who follow this?

It's a good teaching anyway.


1 I can't find any direct reference

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God has already "required" 1/7th of our time, if you follow the 4th Commandment ("Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy") literally. –  warren Feb 27 '13 at 18:12
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Don't forget the command to "love the Lord your God with 10% of your heart, mind, soul, and strength." –  Jas 3.1 Feb 27 '13 at 20:24
    
@Jas3.1 You mean 10% or 100% ? –  Mawia Feb 28 '13 at 6:51
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2 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The tithe is seen by many to be an Old Testament law for people in the covenant and not binding on New Testament Christians. That being said, the tithe is also seen as a good principle to start from.

I personally try to give more than 10% and hope to increase the percentage over time. (However, the government keeps taking more of my money, which makes this more difficult.) R. G. Letourneau actually gave 90% of his income away to various Christian ministries.

It seems a proper Christian attitude is not to give the bare minimal to the work of Christ and indulge the flesh with the rest of it, but to glorify God with 100% of our income, and to not store up for ourselves treasures on earth (Matthew 6:19-21).

The same principle should be applied to our time as well as our talents, opportunities, relationships, and everything else. Paul gave us this instruction:

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV

So, "all" is not 10%, but 100%.

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The word tithe literally means "tenth", so by definition, a tithe is a tenth. I believe that's why the teaching originated the way it did.

The idea of the tithe comes originally from Genesis 14, when Abraham gave Melchizidek a tenth of everything he had:

And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) And he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

Now, today, there are many people who would say that a Christian should give 10 percent of everything they have, thoughts, money, time, talent, etc to the church.

Unfortunately, there are a couple of problems with this statement.

Firstly, nowhere in Scripture does God demand, and nowhere in Scripture is it demonstrated that one should give back 10% of anything other than money. Even the 10% given by Abraham was a voluntary 10% he chose to give because of the blessing given to him by Melchizedek. Thus, this viewpoint of things other than money is an extension of the law, and is not supported by Scripture. Is it good to give of your time and other things? Sure. Is it required by the Law? No.

Secondly, Paul, in the New Testament indicates that people ought to give as they see fit (2 Corinthians 9:7):

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

So here, Paul is saying that we ought to give as we have decided in our heart, not out of compulsion. In my opinion, to require somebody to give 10% is really demanding money out of compulsion. Most listener's response to hearing this would be something along the lines of, "I need to give 10% because my pastor has asked me to do so."

Lastly, and I think this is the most important part, when we set these kinds of laws before us, the chief danger isn't that we'll break the law, but that we won't break the law, and in not breaking the law, we begin to depend on our own goodness to earn God's favor. Depending on our own goodness and our own works is antithetical to the Gospel.

If you are in Christ, and if you believe that Christ's death pays the penalty for your sins, you're free, and not bound by any law any more. That includes the law of tithing. You're free. Give as you see fit, and don't obsess over the numbers.

This can be summed up with a couple of verses.

1 Peter 2:16:

Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.

Galatians 5:13:

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

When we see we're free, we'll give out of our gratitude for Christ's sacrifice, and not out of conformity to the law. And so, like the Macedonians in 2 Corinthians 8, we may actually end up giving more than the 10%, but it will not be because of the requirement set forth in the law, but rather because we've been set free from it.

2 Corinthians 8:1-5

We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints—and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.

So to answer your question: No, we do not have to tithe 10% of our time as well.

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+1 Give as you see fit, and don't obsess over the numbers This line is good. –  Mawia Feb 27 '13 at 14:01
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