Updated: Jun 29
Deuteronomy 26 begins with offering the ‘first fruits’ of the harvest to the Lord (verses 2, 10). The act of this offering was not just bringing the harvest and leaving it at the temple altar. Rather, when the offering was brought to the temple, the person was to remember what the Lord has done for him or her and their family. Then, the offering was to be given to those who serve the Lord (the Levites) and those who are foreigners, widows, or fatherless, or people who are going through a financially difficult time. The first fruits offering reminded the people that the land that produced the harvest belonged to the Lord.
In the New Testament, Apostle Paul reminds us that we are not justified or made right before God by keeping the law; rather we are made right before God by our faith in Jesus Christ (Galatians 2:16). Paul goes on to say that the laws of the Old Testament were put in place to lead us to Jesus Christ so that we might be made right before God by our faith in Jesus (Galatians 3:24).
What it means is that the Old Testament laws, including the law of tithing does not apply to those who follow Jesus. We don’t need to tithe to remember that the land we own belongs to the Lord. The Holy Spirit who is in us (1 Corinthians 3:16) will remind us that everything we own, including ourselves, belong to God. So, we will generously manage all that God has given us – our money, education, talent, and friendships – to share the love of Jesus Christ with other people. Then when the Lord returns, Jesus will tell us, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. . . . I was sick and you cared for me. I was in prison and you visited me.” (Matthew 25:34 to 36).