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If I am unemployed should I tithe?

Is tithing binding on Christians?

Tithing is an Old Testament practice and is not binding on believers today. Having said that, tithing is not a bad bench-mark to use when considering how much to give. Note that the tithe today would include any and all charitable donations not just those given to a church.

You must realize, however, that there is no mention of tithing as binding on believers in the New Testament. However the Bible does talk about tithing in the Old Testament. Here's a passage in the Old Testament, Leviticus 27:32 which defines the "tithe" "And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD." The word "tithe" in the Hebrew of the Old Testament and the Greek of the New Testament literally means "a tenth" which is 10%.

The "tithe" under the law of Moses is no longer in force for New Testament believers. Our offerings are the equivalent of "freewill offerings" under the law - these were voluntary and involved no set amount. In Christ, nobody has the right to tell us how much to give or to whom it should be given. In Christ, we acknowledge that all that we have belongs to God including ourselves, not just 10%.

Here is the New Testament standard of giving, Romans 12:1,2 "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." He wants us to offer ourselves which is our "reasonable service." The Greek word for "reasonable" is "logikos" and it means literally, "according to the word." It is only when we make our offering of dedicated serivce to God in accordance with His will as expressed in His word that our offering will be acceptable.
In terms of your situation, the check you are receiving is not a result of your own labour but is itself a form of charity. If i were counselling you, I would say that you should use that money to help yourself to regain employment so that you may once again contribute to the church from the fruits of your own labour. Under the law of Christ, you are not bound to tithe even if it were your own money. You are only bound to give from the heart of that which God has blessed you in the work of your own hands. The money you receive from the government should be used to meet your needs and to find gainful employment. Indeed, the church should, at this point, be helping you financially; not the other way around!
I hope you have found this helpful.
God bless and keep you,
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