For much of Christian history righteous tithing has been supplanted by unrighteous tithing. Instead of following the parameters of tithing given in Deuteronomy Christians have followed their own guidelines suggested by the receivers of the tithe.
In the Bible book the tithe was to be the first fruits of agricultural production. Ten percent of an individual’s work produce was to be put into his storehouse and saved for a celebration of God at some holy place once a year. If any Christian followed the Biblical way he would be blessed with abundance materially, for obviously he would always have a savings account with enough in it to enjoy a worshipful feast each year.
Except in the third year the producer was to give his ten percent to widows, orphans and non-producing clergy. The non-working clergy of the Levitical era were just ordinary men who would infrequently serve a year or less in priestly duties. They were not career ten per cent annually tithe collectors of everyone’s produce as they are today. Instead, they were humble individuals who would return to work their own fields after serving God a year.
In ancient Israel and Judah it would have been difficult to meet in a priesthood of believers unlike today where it would be instantly possible and a good way to have Christians gain maturity in the faith. Modern literacy and communication enable all responsible Christians to perform well-ordered liturgical and worship sharing tasks, yet a hierarchical priesthood devoted to ten percent tithe collecting usurps that formation.
It is useful to remember that God did not want Israel to have a King. God was their leader and he only allowed them to have Saul as their king when he was out chasing his lost ass and wandered into the people who recognized the tall searcher as their king. Eventually King David’s male line would die out and Jesus Christ-the King of the Jews, would arise from David’s line through Mary.
“22Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.
23And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always.
24And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the LORD thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD thy God hath blessed thee:
25Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose:
26And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,
27And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee.
28At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates:
29And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.”
Modern Christians should establish a priesthood of believers. The annual, individual’s family feast will assure that God’s will that Christians save their produce and do not want might be carried out with a pow wow and spirit dance perhaps with hired performers of song. The feast should place Jesus Christ at the center of the worship festivity. Obviously the third year donation to the Salvation Army, Catholic Social Services or other charitable organization dedicated to relieving poverty and bring the lost unto reconciliation with God through the saving grace of the Son Jesus Christ would be two thirds of the third year tithing allocation. Perhaps the other third would go to maintenance of the priesthood of believer’s staff and facility financial needs. Those should be far less than in a hierarchically led church structure as an activist priesthood would be the normal form of Christian association.
God has so often sought to provide rational social structures for human living. Usually society has disregarded those enlightened instructions for living and preferred to make life difficult for themselves after a nominal, superficial compliance. The righteous tithing methods were brilliant financial advice that made it an obligation for the faithful to work and save for themselves and not give away their savings to predatory ‘high priests’. Jesus Christ alone is the high priest for humanity.
Today’s clergy have made church meetings entertaining of course, yet they collect a ten per cent cut of everyone’s income for themselves, and that is plain wrong. Christians are urged to give away the ten percent of their produce to a professional clergy that they were to store for a celebration once a year. As Christian give away their savings they are left vulnerable to the vicissitudes of poverty and leverage financially from predatory lenders and others offering dubiously honorable employment opportunities or ‘deals’.
Christian’s bereft of their annual tithing savings account are told to rely upon God magically to produce abundance for them and forsake the practical word of God as given in Deuteronomy quoted above. God have provided a rational way of material provisioning for each individual. With ten percent of a crop in storage (perhaps grain or corn), the godly would not be a consumer or ever find himself without something to eat in an emergency. Today, even in hard times, the corruption of over-tithing a hierarchical priesthood 3000% persists with little chance of church reform into creation of a priesthood of believers.