“But woe to you Pharisees! For you pay tithe of mint and rue and every kind of garden herb, and yet disregard justice and the love of God; “
— Luke 11:42
Without getting legalistic about the example of Christ before He surrendered at the Cross, in terms of our subject, the tithe, we do need to examine every element. While on this earth Jesus gave us many instructions. The Beatitudes, for example in Matthew Chapters 5, 6 and 7, Jesus gave some of the best instructions to live this Christian life.
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. When therefore you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.” Matthew 6:1-2
Throughout this section of scripture this is the only example or instruction for giving, but it is not a command. As a side note ‘give’ is also replaced with ‘acts of charity’ in some translations of the bible.
In all the teachings of Christ throughout the New Testament Jesus references tithing once. In Matthew’s account in chapter 23:23 he quotes Jesus as stating “and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law”.
As Jesus lived under the Old Testament, in order to remain blameless, He had to keep the commandments of the Law of Moses. He didn’t neglect tithing but after fulfilling His calling on this earth He showed us a better way through a new and better covenant built on better promises. By fulfilling the Law of Moses through Jesus there is nothing else left to fulfill only the commandment He left us, “to love the Lord your God with your whole heart, mind and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself”. Luke 10:27
The words of Christ are so powerful many Christians will do anything to follow Him to the very letter and become legalistic. Many will follow Jesus because it’s what and how they have been taught. However, understanding what Jesus really said takes humility to learn and to listen. As we see from the Pharisees and other religious leaders of the time, their traditions may cause us to miss what God truly has for us.
As I was reading over and over Matthew 23:23 I was praying and asking the Lord why He made this statement. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness’ but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.” The Pharisees were perfect in following the external commandments of the Law. They were perfect is showing people how they gave. They were perfect in showing others how they fasted and prayed endless prayers. However, there was no internal heart to truly love God and love people. Spirits of performance and pride kept them from giving justice, mercy and faithfulness. The Pharisees considered themselves above the Law.
How many times did Jesus rebuke the religious leaders for not loving people? They loved to show off how religious they were but did not care about being gracious, merciful or loving.
Where is our love for the Father? Do we tithe because tradition says we must or because if we don’t God will condemn us?
Religion will always keep people from being loved and showing love. Pride and performance will not allow the love of God to flow in or through us. How many religious leaders actually turned their hearts to Jesus who stood right before them? They were praying and seeking for the Christ but missed the ultimate revival when He came to town!
We can no longer perform for God. We cannot allow religion and tradition to overshadow the real relationship with the Father. The love of God has come and we are no longer under the Law. We are no longer under the 623 commandments written by man. We are under the only law that instructs us to love the Lord your God with your whole heart and your neighbor as yourself.
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