Testimonial: A Change of Heart

Many years ago, I dug into the concept of tithing to prove a Protestant friend wrong. She tithed, as most in her church seemed to do. Arguing that Old Testament rules didn’t apply to modern-day Christians, I researched tithing from an Orthodox Christian perspective to bolster my side of our pending debate.

A little-known passage in Genesis 14 was one of the things I came upon. In short, the story goes that after Abram returns victorious from battle, the king and priest Melchizedek brings out bread and wine and blesses Abram. After receiving the blessing, the passage ends with these words: “And Abram gave him one-tenth of everything” (Genesis 14:20).

One-tenth. A tithe.

My research on the topic led me to tithe. I would have lost the debate, but I believe that the exercise reaped eternal rewards for me. What did I learn?

  • Jesus Christ came to fulfill the law, not abolish it. He never overturned the tithe.
  • Old Testament Jews tithed out of fear. Christians should tithe and give even more, out of love!
  • Many Church Fathers, especially St. John Chrysostom, wrote extensively on tithing. Tithing is a thoroughly Orthodox practice!

One of the most profound lessons I have learned since then, personally, was the connection between worship and giving. In that passage from Genesis, Melchizedek represents Christ, and the bread and wine he brings out to Abram are symbolic of Holy Communion. In response, Abram gives a tithe. Our giving is intricately bound up with our worship of God. Tithing completes our worship. On the flip side, not giving affects our attitude toward God and our prayer and worship.

Giving is first and foremost a spiritual issue, a contributor to and often an indicator of spiritual health. To tithe is to live the Gospel. Begin to tithe, and you won’t even think about that money anymore; it belongs to the Lord.

Fellow Orthodox Christians, I challenge you: explore the concept of the tithe. But be prepared for the transformation of your heart and mind that will follow!

We are grateful to our readers who have offered to share their giving story with us, so that their testimony may inspire others. Read more on our Testimonials tab. We invite you to share your story, as well! Email us at info@everygoodandperfectgift.org or visit Share Your Story.

 

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