In the Old Testament, God commanded the Israelites to “tithe” their income (give 10%). This supported the priests and Levites who worked at the temple. The Israelites were also commanded to be generous and compassionate to the poor and needy. God had chosen the nation of Israel by grace, and they were to respond to God’s grace by keeping the law (which included attending worship), supporting Godly worship (through their tithes), and being compassionate and generous to those who needed help – the poor, widows and orphans.
There is no commandment in the New Testament for us to give. However, like the Israelites, we have been saved by God’s grace. They were saved from slavery in Egypt, we have been saved from sin through Jesus’ death. So while we don’t have to give, we should give at least as generously as the Israelites did.
We don’t give because God needs our money. God doesn’t need anything from us – God created the world, and has given us salvation in Jesus, so what could we possibly give in return? We give because it’s a privilege for us to be involved in what God is doing.
Revd Bryce Amner