Welcome to Day 15 of our 30 day celebration of the 5th Anniversary of
Giving Thanks: The Art of Tithing, by Paula Langguth Ryan – where we’re answering 30 questions about tithing!

Dear Paula,

I have been a giver in my church since being born again. Is tithing really commanded under the New Covenant? Did Jesus command we tithe? Didn’t tithing stop with the Levitical priesthood? Was it really about money? Were fishermen required to tithe fish? I believe He commanded us to be cheerful givers and whatever a man purposes in his heart to give. I have started to tithe, however, because of my financial needs and in Scripture God said it is ok to test Him in this. Remember Jacob made a vow to God before he tithed, although many preachers will say he WASN”T negotiating with God. Question #2, after our needs are met what are we to do with surplus? I will admit we can get into such a giving mentality that when God blesses us we immediately feel the blessing is not for our enjoyment and we are to give it away. God will meet our needs but what about our wants (provided they are acceptable )? I am not trying to sound ascetic because I feel these “Christians” take Jesus’ call of self denial to mean more like self annihilation which seems more Buddhist than Christian. Ascetics renounce ALL physical things i.e. sex within marriage, eating delicious food ( also never eat until you are satisfied make sure you leave every meal hungry ), technological amenities. But I digress. God bless you and I thank you for your reply. – Nick, Bermuda

Hi Nick,

To answer your question, Jesus came to fulfill the law and show people how to give according to the Spirit of the Law, rather than the letter of it. Tithing isn’t just about money – it’s about giving the first and best of everything you receive – giving of your time, your resources, your words, your actions and so on… everything is given to us by God and Jesus was teaching us that everything is a gift to us – and meant to be shared.

Tithing financially is a way to say “thank you” to God for all that you have received and all that you are about to receive. Once your needs are met, God wants you to be rich – so it is fine to have nice things you desire, or things that make you feel more comfortable. The important thing is to remember what they are for. What do you want the thing for? To show others you are prosperous? To make your and your family’s life more comfortable? To simply experience what it would feel like to drive a particular car, or live in a particular house or neighborhood, or visit a particular place? Be mindful that the want is not to fill a need (like wanting others to think better about you), but rather to experience something, and you will find it much more joyful. This way, should that thing no longer be in your life, it will not cause any pain in its going. Hope that helps!

Peace and prosperity,

Paula Langguth Ryan

Spiritually fed by my work? Tithes and offerings are gratefully accepted and passed on to do additional good work in this world. You can easily tithe online by sending a tax-deductible tithe via paypal to my ministry at The Village Gathering. Just send it to tammie@artofabundance.com; or if you prefer to send your gift via mail:

Paula Langguth Ryan
The Village Gathering
1121 Annapolis Road, Suite 120
Odenton, MD 21113

Please remember our work in your legacy as well – or when you’re doing your tax planning! When making donations of appreciated stocks, property, and other large items, please list the recipient as The Village Gathering. Many thanks and richest blessings, as my colleague Rev. Catherine Ponder would say!