Is it Okay to Hold Back The Tithe

QUESTION: “Dear Victoria, is it okay to hold back and accumulate my tithe to give at a later time for a bigger need my church or my favorite ministry may have?”  H.M.


Dear H.M., I can appreciate your desire to help ministries in times when something “bigger” is needed. Fortunately, the Bible has an answer for this dilemma. Throughout Scripture, the tithe is referred to as “firstfruits.” Being an agrarian society, the ancient biblical culture put just as much emphasis on produce and bartering as they did on coins or shekels. Proverbs 3:9-10 (CJB) tells us to; “Honor Adonai with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your income. Then your granaries will be filled and your vats overflow with new wine.”

In other words, the first fruit of your increase is for the Lord, be it from earned income or farm commodities (as in this Scripture reference). God says it is His and therefore it is holy – set apart for His purposes. If you give your first 10% into the Kingdom of God (that is taking care of the poor, widow, and orphan as well as those who are considered the “priests” or workers of the Kingdom who depend on ministry funds to meet their needs) then the rest (that is the remaining 90%) is yours. Even better, it is holy, sanctified and blessed!

 Romans 11:16 (TLV) further confirms this; “If the firstfruit is holy, so is the whole batch of dough; and if the root is holy, so are the branches.” In other words, if part of a batch of dough is made holy by being freely offered to God, then all the dough is holy. And if the root of your action is to walk in obedience to God’s Word, the blessings will flow into every part of your life. What a glorious promise!

Clearly, your desire to help your favorite ministry is to be commended. There will always be unforeseen emergencies, special circumstances, or “bigger” needs that will require extra funds. However, walking in obedience to God’s Word isn’t an option. In fact, it feels good to give God His portion, like a pressure relief valve. Another consideration is that you want to take care that you not draw attention to yourself by being an “important grand giver.” In which case in withholding your firstfruits you could actually be ministering to your flesh and nullifying your heavenly reward. Proverbs 3:27 (TLV) tells us, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back later—I’ll give it tomorrow.””

Give God His—don’t withhold—then what is yours will be sanctified from the enemy’s control. Who knows, maybe you will have even more to give—and keep—later as a result of not withholding what you can give immediately.

Be blessed as you bless others, Victoria.

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