We’ve looked at giving yourself to God first, giving in response to Jesus’ gift, giving with sincere desire and love, giving under grace instead of a commandment, and giving as much as you are able or even more. The next aspect of New Covenant Giving we’ll look at is giving so that there may be equality. God desires that our giving may result in equality among believers. He does not want some to be burdened while others have it easy. This principle of New Covenant Giving helps us see why using the Old Testament tithe of 10% is not part of God’s desire for Christians.
God’s Desire for Equality
New Covenant Giving is based on the principle of equality – all believers having just enough to meet their needs. This is what Jesus meant when He taught us to pray for our daily bread. God desires that our giving reflect this idea of equality. Those who have more should give more, and those who have less should give less. Those who cannot afford to meet their own needs should be receiving gifts from Christians who are more prosperous.
Paul taught God’s desire for equality in his letter to the Corinthians:
12 For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what you have, not according to what you don’t have. 13 For this is not that others may be eased and you distressed, 14 but for equality. Your abundance at this present time supplies their lack, that their abundance also may become a supply for your lack; that there may be equality. 15 As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”
2 Corinthians 8:12-15 (WEB)
When one Christian has an abundance, he should use that abundance to help supply the needs of others. When those who were in need find abundance, they should look to supply the needs of others. Just as the Israelites who gathered manna only had what they needed regardless of what they gathered, God wants Christians to meet each others needs through their giving. This equality according to what each Christian can give is only possible when we use God’s New Covenant Giving principles.
God’s desires for New Covenant Giving are far superior to the Old Testament tithe because they promote true equality among the believers. Let’s look at how New Covenant Giving requires more faith than tithing.
Why New Covenant Giving Is Better Than a Tithe
New Covenant Giving is based on the guidance of the Holy Spirit according to what you have and can give. We no longer have a legalistic standard for how much we should give. God teaches each one of us what we should give. Some Christians have high incomes and can afford to give much more than those who are poor and struggle to get by.
For example, a family making $200,000 a year will have much more left over than a family making $20,000 a year if both are giving based on the Old Testament tithe. Where one would have $180,000 left over to meet their needs, the other family would only have $18,000. And you definitely don’t need $180,000 a year to cover your true needs – your daily bread. Tithing puts an undue burden on the poor – the exact burden that Paul preached against in his letter to the Corinthians.
It’s the same for two families who earn the same each year but one has high medical bills while the other does not. God does not require both of these families to give the same amount. God desires that we give according to what we have – not what we do not have. God’s New Covenant Giving principles no longer place a burden on the poor or struggling. Even the tithe of the Old Testament was created to help the poor and struggling, but New Covenant Giving prompts Christians to give much more than just 10% if they can afford it.
The New Covenant Giving Guidelines
God has made it clear that He expects Christians to give as much as they are able – whether that’s more than or less than 10% of their income. Jesus talked about selling everything you own and giving it to the poor. Paul explained giving in terms of following the Spirit after giving yourself completely to God and giving according to what you have. God desires equality among the believers – not legalistic giving based on percentages, Old Testament laws, or the worry that people won’t give enough to keep the Church going and spread the Gospel. God wants us to give by faith. He wants us to lay it all down at His feet to be used for His glory.
God’s teaching on New Covenant Giving makes it clear that the rich are expected to give much more than the poor. Paul explained this expectation to Timothy:
17 Charge those who are rich in this present world that they not be haughty, nor have their hope set on the uncertainty of riches, but on the living God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy; 18 that they do good, that they be rich in good works, that they be ready to distribute, willing to communicate; 19 laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold of eternal life.
1 Timothy 6:17-19 (WEB)
Christians who are blessed financially in this life should not hold on to their worldly riches. Jesus commanded those who were rich to choose God over Money if they want to see the Kingdom of Heaven. Paul’s instructions to Timothy reflect that same teaching. As Christians, we have riches in heaven beyond anything we can imagine here. Jesus wants us to realize how important it is for us to focus on heavenly treasures and give up our devotion to Money.
This choice to fully serve God is reflected in our giving. If we choose to give and teach others they should give 10% based on Old Testament laws, we are choosing not to follow God’s Spirit. We are rejecting His New Covenant Giving principles and placing a burden on the poor that God never intended. God desires that we give as much as we possibly can so that there can be equality and everyone’s needs can be met. This is the standard of giving for Christians. Any other standard rejects God’s Word and teaching, His desire for Christian Giving, and the teachings of Jesus.