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Should I tithe on money I inherit?

by Stephen Davey

Otis asked: Must I tithe on inherited money that has already been tithed?

In the nation of Israel, when God commanded that they tithe, all of the money that changed hands would have been previously tithed on by someone else.

For example, when a shepherd sold a lamb, he would tithe on the money he received. Maybe he would take the rest and give it to the baker for some bread. The baker would then tithe on that money, and use the rest to give to his landlord for rent. On and on it went. In all likelihood, each time money changed hands, the new owner of that money would tithe.

But Otis, we need to step back and explore your question because we don’t live under the Old Testament Law. We are not obligated to a tithe.

In the New Testament, believers give as God enables and leads them, but there is not a set amount that we are required to give. There is no tithe, or percentage that we are commanded to give.

Instead, God gives us principles to follow to help guide our thinking on what we give. Here are four principles I’ve discovered from the pages of Scripture.

First, our giving should be rooted in what God has given us. The Apostle Paul wrote of the eager giving of the Macedonians to the needs of believers living in Jerusalem. He describes that these Macedonians literally begged for the privilege of participating in this special offering (2 Corinthians 8:3). Can you imagine people begging to give what little they had to help other believers? And then Paul makes this telling statement of them. He said that they first gave themselves to the Lord. Giving that is God-honoring is giving that ultimately proceeds from the overflowing of a life entirely devoted to God.

Second, our giving should be faithful. Believers support God’s work financially through faithful, regular giving. Paul used the testimony of the Macedonians to encourage the Corinthians to faithfully steward their resources toward the support of the church. While they had a desire to give, Paul told them they needed to follow through and make sure they completed their giving (2 Corinthians 8:11). In other words, Paul is telling us to be faithful to give what we can!

Third, our giving should be cheerful. Paul also said that our giving should not be forced, but that we should give willingly and cheerfully. In fact, he said that God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7). This means that to God, the attitude we have when we give matters more than the amount we give. Don’t give if you hate giving. Don’t give if you believe you have to. Instead, give because you can’t wait to give. God is most interested in those who love to give because they understand they are engaging in eternal things.

Finally, our giving should be sacrificial. When Paul wrote of the Macedonians who gave eagerly, don’t be tempted to think they had extra money laying around. Actually, Paul describes their situation. He said that they were in a great ordeal of affliction, and that they gave while in a situation of deep poverty (2 Corinthians 8:2). in the midst of suffering and poverty, the Macedonians were an example of the kind of giving God desires.

So, whether it be with money you inherit or money you earn, use these principles to evaluate your giving and determine your future giving.

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