We recently had an investigator visitor in our Elders Quorum class. He was asking whether tithing was strictly enforced by Jesus during his ministry. He specifically asked us to quote from the New Testament. Can you help out? Regards.
During his ministry Jesus told people to render unto “Cæsar the things which be Cæsar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s” (Luke 20:25). We also read of His response to the widow casting her mites into the treasury (Luke 21:2-4). The Lord clearly recognized the widow’s donation and sacrifice as a good thing. The widow’s donation was accepted by the Church as it existed at the time.
However we don’t really get to see any kinds of enforcement during Jesus’ mortal ministry. We do get to see it during the Apostle’s time. In Acts 5:1-11 we read the story of Ananias and Sapphira. They chose to withhold some of the money while lying about it. Because of their lies they were struck down.
Now for an investigator, none of these is Christ telling him directly that he personally should pay ten percent. For that the investigator needs to learn for himself that the Book of Mormon is true. Once he believes that, then he can find the Lord repeating and approving the words of Malachi in Third Nephi (3 Nephi 24). Malachi’s words were important enough that Christ Himself gave them to the Nephites, and that includes the instructions to pay tithes.