What is Tithing, Offering, and Giving?
As Christ followers we know that earth and its possessions are not our home. We are striving for an eternity that is perfect in ways we cannot understand. But that doesn’t stop our human desire for “the next best thing.” It’s our instinct to strive for something greater – but in anything but Jesus, we will come up short. That’s why it’s crucial for us to give and tithe to our church, missions, and those less fortunate so that we do not get caught up in the race for “more” and instead keep our focus on eternity.
What is Tithing?
Did you know that the word tithe actually means tenth in Hebrew? That’s why you’ve probably heard the suggested tithe amount be 10% of your income. Because that’s what the Bible says!
Leviticus 27:30 (TLB) says, “A tenth of the produce of the land, whether grain or fruit, is the Lord’s and is holy.” And Proverbs 3:9 (NIV) says, “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops.”
What is the Difference Between Tithes, Offering, and Giving?
Tithe – This is the routine and specific amount (10%) that you’ve budgeted to give back to the church.
Offering – An offering is anything you are giving back that is above that budgeted, routine tithe amount.
Giving – Giving is also anything above and beyond that you give back. It can be towards your church or towards any other ministry that is helping those in need.
Why Should You Tithe?
We aren’t called to build our own kingdoms, but we are called collectively as believers to make disciples of all nations and build the kingdom of God. There is a seat at the table for anyone who calls on Jesus as Lord. It is our job to manage the resources God has given us in a way that invites others to fill those seats.
Psalm 24:1 says that the earth and everything in it belongs to the Lord. As followers of Jesus, God has trusted us to oversee and manage His creation. For us today, God entrusts us with time, money, possessions, etc. He gave us free will to make countless decisions each day about how we live our lives and what we do with these things. But in that free will we are called to honor God with everything we have and remember that the things we have are gifts to be used to further the Kingdom of God. That’s where our faith comes in. Faith allows us to let go of the things of this world and cling to His promises.
One way that we can do this is by using the resources God gives us to help others, both individually and collectively as a church. When we are selfless with the resources God gives us, not only are we able to help others both physically and spiritually, but we bring glory to God and find joy in the process as a result.
Do You Have to Tithe?
Although tithing is Biblical and a great way to profess that we trust God with everything we have – He will love us whether we tithe or not.
Does the New Testament Teach Tithing?
In the New Testament we don’t see as direct language around tithing like we do in the Old Testament books like Leviticus or Psalms. However, the New Testament does still point Christians towards the same idea that we are called to continuously position our hearts towards generosity to others. In 2 Corinthians 9:6-10 Christians are called to generously give in response to the gospel of the Lord Jesus, based on faith in God as Provider.
Should Churches Tithe?
Although the church should be giving to help those outside of its local church, it’s not necessary to follow the 10% rule of tithing. Many churches may take this into consideration when creating their mission budgets or may give larger percentages often spread to multiple missions. Giving logistics may also look different according to church denomination. The bottom line, it’s Biblical for the church to give back.
Check out these helpful tips for tithing and giving to and through your Church:
- Educate yourself on your churches mission outreach. Who are they currently supporting and in what capacity? Who is the congregation involved in this? Ask your missions pastor for more information on these ministries so you can better understand the impact your gifts are making around the world.
- Add a tithe to your budget. A good rule of thumb is to tithe 10% of the money you have coming in. Plan to discuss with your family how you want this to look (i.e. a schedule for giving). And if you feel you can be doing more, consider giving above and beyond the 10%.
- Pray for continuous guidance, selflessness, and discernment over the financial gifts the Lord has blessed you with.
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