Do we take our portion from what belongs to the Lord? Malachi 3:8 tells us, “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings.” 

Read: 1 Samuel 2: 12-17

12Eli’s sons were scoundrels; they had no regard for the Lord. 13Now it was the practice of the priests that, whenever any of the people offered a sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come with a three-pronged fork in his hand while the meat was being boiled 14and would plunge the fork into the pan or kettle or caldron or pot. Whatever the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is how they treated all the Israelites who came to Shiloh. 15But even before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the person who was sacrificing, “Give the priest some meat to roast; he won’t accept boiled meat from you, but only raw.”

16If the person said to him, “Let the fat be burned first, and then take whatever you want,” the servant would answer, “No, hand it over now; if you don’t, I’ll take it by force.”

17This sin of the young men was very great in the Lord’s sight, for theyb were treating the Lord’s offering with contempt.

For Eli’s sons, the judgment was death. Hophni and Phinehas thought they had the right to take their portion of the meat sacrifice since they are in fact entitled to some of it as per the law. But they took their portion BEFORE the meat was boiled, and BEFORE the fat was burned — thus, got their share before the meat was offered to God.  God said, “Far be it from me! Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained.” (1 Samuel 2:30). Ananias and Sapphira also died when they kept back money for themselves but made it appear to the apostles as though they have offered to them everything they had (Acts 5). The Lord has shown repeatedly that what He desires is obedience, not sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22)

Isaiah 1:11
“The multitude of your sacrifices– what are they to me?” says the LORD. “I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.

Jeremiah 6:20
What do I care about incense from Sheba or sweet calamus from a distant land? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable; your sacrifices do not please me.”

Amos 5:22
“Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them.”

Therefore, do not think it is alright to take our tithe and give it to the poor ourselves, or spend it in some form of ministry or charity, or maybe even give it to help our elderly parents,  thinking that we are still honoring God with our wealth in such acts anyway.

Instead, we must offer our tithe to the Lord faithfully, and if we really wanted to help others, then we are do so after the Lord’s tithe. The tithe shows our faithfulness to the Lord, and to me, it does not seem proper to have an “offering” but not a “tithe.” We are to honor God first and love our neighbors too, as this is part of honoring God. It cannot be the other way around, that we think as we do good to others by sharing our wealth to help instead of tithing, we are in fact, putting God first in our lives. It really doesn’t make any sense, does it? Honoring God first means exactly that — HONOR GOD FIRST!

Jesus further clarifies this in Mark 7:8-13. We cannot mock God and say to our parents (whom God also commands us to honor) that we have nothing left to help them because we chose to honor God first. Tithing does not give anybody the excuse to refuse to help others through offering because we feel we have already done our obligation to the Lord and the rest of our money is already meant for our own personal needs. The commandments go hand-in-hand — (1) love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and (2) love our neighbors as ourselves. God did not mean for us to choose the one that is most convenient and follow that only.

The Lord does not delight in us putting the matter of our tithes and offering into our own hands. It is obedience out of love He requires; it is the right standing of our heart to God; a full surrender and acceptance that what He says is true and it is good; a mind that seeks to follow as best as we possibly can (as far as it depends on us) as the Lord commands because of a true “fear and awe of God;” — that is what makes our offering a pleasing sacrifice, a “sweet-smelling aroma” that rises up to the throne of God.