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Money. Few topics cause more anxiety, stress and discomfort. And yet the Bible is full of references to money and giving. As a matter of fact, there are more promises in the Bible connected with tithing and giving than any other subject! Clearly, money is a powerful force in our lives and needs to be under God’s control. As Christians (those who have made a lifetime commitment to follow Jesus Christ), the cornerstone of our financial discipleship is understanding the tithe.
What is the tithe?
The word tithe means 10% or a tenth. In the Bible, God tells us to give him the first 10% of all that we earn. Giving less than 10% cannot be considered tithing.
What is an offering?
An offering is any amount of money or resource that we give above and beyond the 10% tithe. This could include gifts for special projects, building funds, missionaries, charities, etc. Tithing is the beginning standard for giving in the kingdom. As God prospers you, you will want to give offerings in addition to the basic tithe to your local church.
Isn’t tithing just an old Jewish law that we can ignore?
No. That’s an old excuse with no biblical basis.
First, God established the “principle” of tithing with Abraham more than 400 years before he gave the law to Moses. Tithing was a voluntary act practiced as a regular part of worship long before the Jewish nation or the law even existed.
Second, Jesus himself commended tithing in the New Testament (Luke 11:42). Tithing is not to be placed above the importance of justice and mercy, but it is clearly part of a godly life and a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.
But I can’t afford to tithe.
On the contrary, you can’t afford not to tithe! Hanging on to what we have for fear of not having enough is what we call “the spirit of poverty” or the “fear of not enough.” The spirit of poverty is broken in our lives when we step out in faith and obedience in our giving. In 1 Kings 17:7-24, God poured out his abundant provision to the widow of Zerephath when she gave her last portion to Elijah.
The starting point for getting our finances in order is always by being faithful to tithe.
Where should I give my tithe?
The Bible is clear that God expects us to give our tithes at the place where we worship and receive pastoral care, the local church. In the Old Testament, they brought their tithes to the temple. In the New Testament, the tithe was given at the church or in the homes where they met. You are also encouraged to support the poor and other worthy ministries with additional offerings.