Do we Christians really have to tithe? Are we really under a compulsion to give? Aren’t we free? Don’t we have a freedom from the law that was purchased for us by Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection?
The problem is that our sinful flesh uses our freedom for selfishness. Christ did not die and rise so that we could give less and do less good work in the world. He died and rose to free us from the compulsion of the Law, to free us from a burden we could not bear.
We are missing the point completely if we use the freedom from the Law that Christ won by His passion, crucifixion and resurrection to give less or to do less of any good work. Christ set us free to live in His image of faithfulness, generosity and kindness. We are free from the Law’s condemnation so that we can walk in the good works the Lord has prepared for us.
Our freedom is not given to indulge our sinful and selfish flesh. Our freedom was purchased and won by Christ so that we could serve our neighbors– our family, our society, our church.
As a result, much of your freedom is not a freedom from, but a freedom to and for. You are not free from serving your neighbor. You are free for service toward your neighbor– willingly and without compulsion. You are not free from giving to your church; you are freed to give to your local congregation in joy, willingly and without compulsion.
The reason you are free to serve, the reason you are free to give is because of Jesus Christ and the forgiveness of sin He won for you on the cross, which He delivers to you in the Gospel and the sacraments. This is our motivation. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). And since God loves us in this way, by giving us His only-begotten Son so that we do not perish, we also love one another in this way, by giving what we have so that our neighbor does not perish.
If the God who has provided the sacrifice for your eternal salvation, the God who delivers that salvation to you in Holy Baptism, the God who continues to forgive you and show you His faithfulness, if that same God is the one who also promises to give you daily bread and take care of your earthly life, you can trust in Him, even in giving. After all, Jesus Christ is proof that God loves you and will take care of you.