Dear Friends in Christ,
Summer is now upon us. A great time for getting together with family, friends and enjoying God’s creation to the fullest. My prayer for you is that each of you have a great summer.
This month, I would like to talk some about tithing. Here are some thoughts to consider.
Biblically, the tithe, by definition is 10% of your income, and it should be given to God faithfully. Tithing honors the Scriptural principles of generously providing for religious leaders, giving to those in need, and laying up treasures in heaven.
Throughout Scripture, we are encouraged to give the first part of our resources to God as an expression of honor and gratitude. “Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first-fruits of all your increase: so shall your barns be filled with plenty, and your presses shall burst out with new wine” (Proverbs 3:9–10).
Tithing is mentioned throughout the Old Testament, particularly when God commissioned the Israeli tribe of Levi to serve by caring for the tabernacle and providing spiritual leadership for the nation of Israel. Since the tribe of Levi was given these two unique responsibilities, God did not assign to them a portion of land (as He had assigned portions of land to the other tribes of Israel), but He instructed the rest of the Israelites to bring tithes of their increase to provide for the priests and Levites. (See Numbers 18.)
In the New Testament, Jesus affirmed the practice of tithing (see Matthew 23:23), and the Apostle Paul encouraged Christians to give to those in need and to those who were ministering in the Gospel (see II Corinthians 9:6–15). In our present culture, when you give back to God, you enable those whom God has called to serve as pastors, missionaries, and ministry personnel to faithfully build up the Church and expand the kingdom of God.
Tithing is one way to worship God—to honor Him as your provider and remind yourself that all of your resources belong to Him and are provided through His grace. As you give your tithe from your income, you set your course to honor God in the way you handle the rest of your finances.
- When should I give?
Consider your pay schedule, and establish a pattern of giving when your resources increase. This habit allows you to regularly remind yourself of God’s faithfulness and to express gratitude to Him by giving to meet the needs of others.
- Where should I give to?
Typically, the tithe should be given to the local church where you worship. These gifts support your pastor and ministry staff members who are actively serving you, and they help maintain the work of the church in your community. As God prospers you and directs you, additional gifts can be given to other ministries that are advancing the Gospel.
- How much should I give?
Tithing in the Scriptures means giving at least 10% of your income. To help illustrate this, imagine you received 10 apples to eat for the week. In the principle of tithing, you would take one of the ten apples and give it back to the Lord, living on the other nine apples. God promises to bless us when we give back obediently and faithfully to His work. In addition to giving 10% of your monetary income, consider giving God the first-fruits of other resources as well, such as your time (giving Him the first part of your day in a quiet time and taking one day in seven to focus on worship and rest) and energies (investing your gifts and abilities in your church and community).
- What should be my motive to give?
Your motives for giving are important to God. “Let each on do just as he (or she) has purposed in his/her heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.” (II Corinthians 9:7–8). Give with the expectation that God will faithfully supply whatever you need so that you can abound in good works!
My friends, the practice of tithing provides a regular reminder of your dependence on God. In good times, tithing helps you remember that God is the source of all blessings, and it allows you to demonstrate your gratitude for His care. In hard times, tithing motivates you to remember God’s faithfulness, and it enables you to demonstrate trust in God to provide for all of your needs. In Deuteronomy 14:22–23, God instructed the Israelites: “You shall surely tithe, all the produce from what you sow, which comes out of the field every year. And you shall eat in the presence of the Lord your God, at the place where He chooses to establish His name, the tithe of your grain, your new wine, your oil and the first-born of your herd and your flock, in order that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always.”.” Whatever your current situation, tithing is a key to learning to live in the fear of God.
As Christians, we are challenged to set our hearts on what truly matters, on those things that are of eternal value. Jesus challenged His disciples, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal.” (Matthew 6:19–21).
Giving a tithe and giving beyond the tithe are ways that you can honor God and reach out to meet the needs of others. “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessings until it overflows!” (Malachi 3:10).
May the Lord our God continue ministry in our community as we faithfully give to the work of His kingdom. Amen!
Your friend in Christ,