The tithe is found in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, and we see the Old Covenant bringing forth the New Covenant with relation to the tithe. In Genesis 14, Abram mobilized 318 trained men who had been born into his household to go to war. Victorious, Abram then goes into “the King’s valley” to meet the king of Sodom. Melchizedek “king of Salem (Jerusalem) and priest of God Most High” meets Abram there and brings him bread and wine and blesses him. Out of this communion Abram is moved to give 1/10 of all his spoils to Melchizedek, in the time before Moses and the Law (5000-6000 years before Christ). I believe that Melchizedek is Jesus appearing to Abram in a theophany (a manifestation of God to man), and out of Abram’s encounter with Melchizedek his response was to give him 1/10 of his spoils.
We again see Melchizedek in Psalm 110, still hundreds of years before Christ, and he is also referenced in the New Testament as Hebrews 6:20 refers to Jesus as “our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek”. The link between Jesus and Melchizedek is made with special note to his lack of lineage (important in Biblical times) as he remains “a priest forever” in Hebrews 7. Under the Old Covenant, the priest was the mediator between the people and God. The old system was abolished through Jesus’ sacrifice. When we bring our tithe, we are we are not tithing to the power bill or the water bill – we are trusting Jesus Christ, our high priest.
Tithing and giving is as much about discipleship as it is about anything, and this is a growth moment for us. In Matthew 16, Jesus says “I will build my church” and in Matthew 28, he tells us to “go and make disciples”. Believers are born into the kingdom; disciples are made. Being a disciple includes: absorbing teaching, living that teaching, and living to see the fruits from obedience. Paul is called a “master builder” not for building structures but for building people. We are called to disciple others – this isn’t the Dean and Jill show – there are people for you to disciple! When we come into alignment with the Word of God, blessing flows.
Abram was so self-assured about the abilities of his 318 men that he saw himself as a king, enabling him to be victorious and go to “the King’s valley”. These men were “born” into his household similar to the way we are born into this house. Being born into this house doesn’t only include people who got saved here; it is any of us, as we are all adopted into the family of God by which we can cry “Abba Father”. Abram could do more with these men born into his house than he could with thousands of hirelings. When you are a hireling, you are not invested and secure – when the heat is turned up, you run and the first storm you see wipes you out. When you are on the periphery you are an easy target; wolves look to pick off the sheep from the herd by choosing the ones on the edges. This is why relationships are so important at C3. Relationships undergird the structure we have here and when you make this your house, you have connection, you have fellowship, and you have protection. The Word of God transforms your thinking. It’s not hard to get blessed when you do what the Bible says – put God back in the center of your life. Tithe and see what God will do.