Biblical Explanations and New Life’s Stance on Tithing

We take the Bible very seriously at New Life. If the Bible says it is, then it is. If the Bible says do it, then we do our best to do it. This is the spirit of the New Testament church.

Since we teach what tithing is through Class 201 and Living Life Bible Study, I will not go in detail to deal with it. But just briefly, all throughout the Bible, tithing is used to do mainly three things. One, to express our gratitude to God. Two, to demonstrate our faith in God. And three, to protect us from worshipping and idolizing money. Therefore, tithing does all these three for me. As I write the check on every Thursday, which is 15% of my income, and bring it to New Life on every Sunday, which is the place of my worship, I express my gratitude to God for the abundant blessings He has bestowed upon me, my family and church, I demonstrate my faith in God that even though I give this much that God will always provide for and take care of me and my family, and I protect myself from getting consumed and possessed by money.

Tithing, however, is not a membership requirement at New Life. If you are part of a house church, come to Receiving Jesus Meeting and receive Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, receive immersion baptism, take the membership class and decide on your own to become a New Life member by signing the Membership Covenant, then you become a member of New Life Fellowship Church of Houston. You, then, as a member, will enjoy many benefits and privileges. You will also be expected to fulfill certain responsibilities in order to build up this body of Christ and be held accountable to live a life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.

Some of the privileges of being a member are that you get to take more Bible study classes, get involved in meaningful and fulfilling ministries and go on short-term mission trips that are often life changing. Obviously, certain ministries require certain spiritual maturity. A spiritually very immature person can’t be allowed to serve as a shepherd. Every shepherd’s spiritual maturity is all very different just like every local church pastor’s spiritual maturity is all very different. However, the rule of thumb is that the most spiritually mature person in a particular house church is and should be the shepherd of that house church.

How, then, do we measure or gauge people’s spiritual maturity? This is not easy because spiritual maturity is not readily visible. And only God knows perfectly how spiritually mature we are. However, there are some things that we can use to do this. For example, house church participation, Sunday corporate worship service attendance, classes taken, class covenants signed and spiritual disciplines practiced are some of the tools we can use to measure a person’s spiritual maturity.

For some of us, tithing is one of the most, if not the most, difficult spiritual discipline to practice. So, we argue, debate, ignore, object and even oppose tithing.

However, the Bible tells us that tithing is an easier or lighter matter to embrace and practice.

“I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” (Luke 16:9-11) 

These words of Jesus Christ clearly tell us that “worldly wealth” is considered as “very little” or lighter matter and “gaining friends” or shepherding souls is considered as “much”, “true riches” or weightier matter. This means, if someone can’t properly manage money well the lighter matter, then he surely can’t manage people’s souls well, the weightier matter.

Some say that tithing is an Old Testament practice. But Jesus said:

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former” (Matt. 23:23).

According to Jesus, it’s possible to tithe without paying attention to justice, mercy and faithfulness. But it’s not possible to talk about justice, mercy and faithfulness without tithing. Someone who stresses the importance of justice, mercy and faithfulness but doesn’t tithe is being hypocritical. This is similar to someone who is trying to lift 200 pounds when he can’t even lift 100 pounds.

At New Life, any ministry that has to do with shepherding people, teaching God’s word or leading people to worship and love God has tithing as a ministry requirement. Imagine the following scenario:

Sunday school teacher: Kids, God loves us so much that He sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for us!

NLK kids: Wow!

SS teacher: So, how do you think we should respond to God?

NLK kids: …

SS teacher: We must love God with all our hearts and give all of ourselves to Him!

NLK kid: Teacher, do you tithe?

SS teacher: …

Therefore, if you are saved by God’s grace and if you say that you love Jesus, then you should tithe and become a lifelong tither wherever you go. Also, if you would like to serve in certain capacity or ministry at New Life, then you must tithe. However, if you are not ready to tithe after taking Class 201, then please don’t feel pressured to sign the covenant and tithe. Simply tell your instructor about your situation, take the covenant card home with you and then do the tithing challenge for a year according to Malachi 3:10. During this tithing challenge, if God proves Himself to be faithful, then sign the Class 201 Covenant Card and bring it to church. We then will have you graduate from the class. After that, you will be given the permission to take further core classes and considered for a certain ministry position. By the way, Premarital Life Bible Study, Married Life Bible Study, Parenting Life Bible Study and some others are not core classes. To take these non-core classes, you simply need to become a member and finish Living Life Bible Study.

I don’t want New Life to become hearers of God’s word but doers of God’s word. Instead of accumulating much Bible knowledge in our heads by taking lots of Bible study classes, we first want to practice what we have learned in our daily life. If we truly want to become spiritually mature, we will need to tithe. There is no way around it. We can’t love God and money at the same time. Where our money is, there our hearts will be also.

Your pastor,


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