“You shall surely tithe all the produce from what you sow, which comes out of the field every year.” (Deut 14:22)
“Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.” (Malachi 3:8)
I just did a short read on tithes in the Tanakh and it seems tithes were more about giving of what you produce or ‘sow’ from the land to the community of God…or one could say ‘tithe’ what you make/earn to God.
I have seen this talked a lot about in Christian circles about giving to the church and what have you – and there is some of that inherent in the passage (a religious aspect). However, if we are to modernize an idea like this then isn’t it with regards to the whole of society we live in?
I suggest this idea is met within the tax system. I live in society where about 18% of my cheque per month is taxes both Federally and Provincially to help with stuff like roads, social services, fire/police, hospitals, etc. Top that off I also pay taxes for property that go towards stuff like education and up-keep of the neighborhood (ie: garbage disposal). It’s a more minor amount – something like 4% of my personal income. In essence, you can see a very helpful trend happening here – 22% of what I ‘earn’ is being used towards the development and betterment of society around me. My working has an inherent version of the ‘tithe’ built into it (and I don’t mind giving it).
So in my version of this idea I see a giving to the community thus fulfilling the aspects of ‘loving my neighbor’ and also ‘sharing’ what is earned by me for the benefit of those around me. The country has built this into what we do, so if we ‘work’ we ‘tithe’ so to speak (one can view it that way IMO). So we would suggest and help people to find work in our communities – this is doing them a huge service in the role of helping society function and in giving.
As for the religious aspect, well it’s not mentioned in the NT. And if it is it’s pretty couched into the scriptures somewhere and not respresented in a search for the exact term. However, I still believe in helping out the local church (if you attend one) since this is a place you frequent and want to see it’s up-keep (even may help pay for programs). One needs to remember the church is tax-exempt in this society since they are by virtue a ‘charitable’ oranization and we also support them with our taxes in various ways. So how much to give to a church is a better question?
*I will note in my interpretation a church is not subject to tithes (via the Law) but subject to making just rules and charity via the Noahide laws for Gentiles (which may also have roots in Acts 15).