I know the Old Testament talks about a 10% thithe in several places but is this also applicable to Christians in the New Testament age? Some say yes and some say no. It always impressed me when I read in the book of acts how Early Christians sold everything they had and gave the money to the Apostles for the community good. Here are those verses:
Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet. Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.” When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.
About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”
“Yes,” she said, “that is the price.” Peter said to her, “How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.” At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.
I guess Ananias and his wife Sapphira missed the orientation meeting that said you have to give everything. Having held some back (we don’t know how much?) they were struck dead! I can certainly see where great fear struck others in the church! I suspect it also drove many out. I really don’t understand this story. Some say it is simply to make people aware that everything you have comes from God. But that was a harsh lesson for poor Ananias to learn.
Do we need to feel obliged to give 10% of our income to the church? From the latest data it seems that most Christians give less than 3%. Where is that thunder bolt that should be striking them dead (ha). Aren’t we lucky that the Apostles are still not around. I’m afraid that the church population would be approaching zero if this event were repeated many times. Is this story a reporting of an historical event or is it just a parable/myth to teach us an object lesson? I just don’t know but killing people because the didn’t give everything is a little troubling.