I have been working for a year. I just recently got a raise. I paid tithe on the check the raise was on, but someone told me the first time it appears on my check I was supposed to give the whole thing to the Lord as the first fruit. They use the scripture Proverbs 3:9 (honor the Lord...) My question is if this is true then any money such as an inheritance or any increase, does that all go to the Lord? Or should I continue to tithe as I do already?
I'm constantly amazed at how many ways are devised to change God's simple plan into a money-making operation. Christians are told, "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come" (I Corinthians 16:1-2). Notice that no set amount is specified other than that it is to be based on the individual's prosperity. "For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have" (II Corinthians 8:12). We are to be generous, but only if we are also willing. "But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver" (II Corinthians 9:6-7). Notice again that the emphasis is on the individual selecting the amount he or she desires to give.
Under the Old Law that the Israelites lived under they were required to give ten percent or a tithe of their profits. This tithe was to come from the best that they had, not the worse. So if a lamb was given, then it had to be one without blemish. When crops were given, it came from the first fruits, which is the first harvest, which typically contained the best of the harvest. "And it shall be, when you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, and you possess it and dwell in it, that you shall take some of the first of all the produce of the ground, which you shall bring from your land that the LORD your God is giving you, and put it in a basket and go to the place where the LORD your God chooses to make His name abide" (Deuteronomy 26:1-2). It was not the entire first harvest, but their tithe would come from their first harvest. That is what the Lord was telling the Israelites. "Honor the LORD with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine" (Proverbs 3:9-10).
We don't live under the Old Law today, but we can learn from the principles laid down. We aren't required to give a fixed amount of our income, but what we do decide to give ought to come from the top, so to speak, instead of from the bottom. Too often people decide to give to God a portion of whatever is left over after all the bills are paid, items are purchased, and dinners are eaten. Then if something is leftover they give God a piece of that. There is no honor in that system. Rather, we should be looking at our income and say X% of this is going to God, now let's see what I can do with the remainder. "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:33).