Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.
Tithing was commanded in the Law to the Jews under the Old Covenant. But the New Covenant which came into force with the death of Christ (1 Cor 11:25; Heb 9:16,17) does not teach tithing as a "law" for Christians. Even though Paul was an ardent Jew, he never once mentioned tithing even while he was writing on giving. On the other hand we are taught to give liberally, cheerfully and sacrificially (2 Cor 8:2,3; 9:6,7). In the absence of a "law" of giving in the New Covenant, there are no set rules as to where the money should be given. However, the following guidelines can be evolved from the Bible— Our first responsibility is to support those who minister the Word of God to us. Those who labour in Word and doctrine deserve "double honour" (1 Tim 5:17,18). The Word of God comes to us both through local pastors and translocal preachers, both from pulpits and through media like books, periodicals, audio tapes, DVDs, radio, television, etc. Abraham gave a tithe to Melchizedek who brought him bread and wine, symbolic of spiritual blessings (Gen 14:18-20). Anyone who sows spiritual blessings for us has a right to reap our material benefits (1 Cor 9:11). Next, we must support those who go evangelizing the non-Christians. "The Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel" (1 Cor 9:14). The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews was a missionary and he commended the believers for letting him "plunder their goods" (Heb 10:34). Because missionary evangelism is essentially among the non-Christians, the workers cannot expect support from the people they reach (3 Jn 7,8). Also by its very nature pioneer evangelism is expensive. Thirdly, we must contribute to speacialized ministries like Bible translation, ministry to drug-addicts, blind, deaf, dumb, lepers, invalids and so on. Unless Bible translators, Bible publishers and such literature agencies are strongly supported, the new Churches and growing congregations cannot have enough Bibles and books. Then we have the responsibility to support the poor. "He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord" (Prov 1:17). Especially we must help the poor believers (Gal 6:10). The Old Testament tithe was used also for the strangers, the fatherless and the widows (Dt 14:28,29). The spontaneous giving following the Pentecostal outpouring was to the have-nots (Acts 2:44,45; 4:32,35). What's done to the hungry and the thirsty is actually done to Christ Himself (Mt 25:35-40). The main reason why the rich man went to hell was his indifference towards poor Lazarus (Lk 16:19-21,25). Relief agencies which pave the way for evangelism must find a place in our support list. In the New Covenant we have neither a special tribe called Levites nor a separate group called priests. "All" believers are priests today (1 Pet 2:9; Rev 5:9,10). For what? "To proclaim His praises!" Yes, every believer must proclaim the greatness of God and the uniquenes of Christ, in his neighbourhood and wherever he can go. For this personal soulwinning and evangelism, one needs tracts, gospel portions, Testaments and other tools. There is also the cost of travel for outreach programmes. Nothing prevents believers from using the "Lord's money" for "Lord's work." Paul was a tentmaker (a builder or an engineer!). He used his earnings to pay for his ministerial expenses and that of his team members (Acts 18:3; 20:34). Even in the Old Testament, people were allowed to spend their tithes themselves for religious things (Dt 14:22-26). Quoting Malachi 3:10, there are some who teach that the "tithe" belongs to the local pastors only. This interpretation is wrong. Beware of giving to Churches where the pulpit is used to promote modernism and shake up the faith of Christians. Don't support such apostates (2 Jn 10,11).
The answer is yes. I know I have been. I have given out of manipulation/fear, and to impress others. I've also given to solve a person's problems in the flesh, instead of trusting God to use a person's lack for His glory. The key is to truly be led by His Spirit (Rom 14:23 "But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.") This passage gives a principle at the end which Paul is applying to a specific context. The principle is meant to be applied in other areas of life and faith. If our giving is not of faith then is not from God.
All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.
A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.