Tithing is defined as “a tenth part, given for the service of God1.” The fourteenth chapter of Genesis records our father Abraham paying tithes to “Melchizedek king of Salem”, which Paul confirmed in his epistle to the Hebrews; “For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all2…”. Jehovah commanded the Israelites after entering the Promised Land that “Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year3.”
References to tithing are found throughout the Old and New Testaments but the clearest doctrine concerning tithing is given by the prophet Malachi. He was clear in the need for us to give back our tenth to the Lord stating that withholding tithing is akin to robbing God4. The implication is then that the money is the Lord’s all along and that all He is requiring is for us to return one tenth, a very small amount in the eternal perspective. It is a principle practiced by people of faith in many walks of life. The New York Times a few years ago published an article that featured a group of professional athletes that paid a predetermined amount of money (usually 10%) to their churches5.
Tithing is a commandment with a promise. The blessings promised to those who do pay tithing far outweigh what the Lord requires of us. Malachi promised that if we pay our tithing “I will…open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.
And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts6.”
On a personal note I have paid tithing my entire life, my parents taught me the principle as early as I can remember. We lived on a farm and I was allowed to raise my own sheep and cattle. When they were sold I was taught that before I did anything I was to pay the Lord His 10%. I am grateful to my parents for teaching me this principle; I have never begrudged a single penny paid. The Lord has blessed me both temporally and spiritually.
I challenge anyone who believes in the Bible to put Malachi’s prophesy to the test and pay their tithing, you will not regret it. Dallin H. Oaks said; “Faithful adherence to this law opens the windows of heaven for blessings temporal and spiritual. As a lifelong recipient of those blessings, I testify to the goodness of our God and his bounteous blessings to his children7.”
1. The Bible Dictionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
2. Hebrews 7: 1-2KJV
3. Deuteronomy 14:22 KJV
4. Malachi 3:8 KJV
5. New York Times, 29 Apr. 1991, pp. A1, C7
6. Malachi 3:9-12KJV
7. Tithing; Ensign May 1994