The subject of Tithing is one of the most frequent topics brought up by my Christian family, friends and clients. In fact, last week it was brought up on two occasions. So, I decided to write about it.
I will not discuss the doctrine, history or details of tithing here. I’ll leave the research to you. Suffice to say that I believe that as Christian stewards of God’s resources we are compelled by Scripture to give of our ‘first fruits’ to the Kingdom. This takes the form of 10% of our income (tithe means ‘tenth’). Therefore, I am going to explain my methodology and provide practical advice. Your version may look different than mine. However, this is just one man’s Biblical interpretation tithing. Let me remind you that the most important component of tithing is not centered on the ‘right’ amount of money. The tithe is heart-centered. How can I be joyful and obedient in this wonderful and mysterious endeavor?
When I first began tithing, I started with my leftovers (I did not know any better). After bills were paid and I bought all the stuff I ‘needed’, I would give some of my leftovers to God. If I had a really good week at work, I may give God a little more money that week. Come to find out, I had the heart of Cain. I was essentially telling God, “Thanks God for a great week at work! Here is a little extra for you…” I truly believed I was being generous. However, I was deceiving myself. Prideful, I was essentially throwing God a tip.
God is not a vending machine and He definitely does not need my money. The creator of the universe who sent his only son to die for me only to raise him from the grave does not need my help. The reverse is true. I need Him. I must understand my position in the economy of God. Since I came into the world without material possessions and will leave the world without material possessions, I must be honest about my position. I am a dependent steward of whatever God is pleased to place in my charge. The tithe is not ‘Tipping God’. The tithe is the act of giving back a portion of what the Lord has given me in order to honor and grow His Kingdom. Jesus Christ is in the business of saving sinners and my duty is to support his mission.
Why should I Tithe?
I believe that this wonderful experience is beneficial on so many levels an entire book could be written on the subject. Personally, I tithe because, as I alluded earlier, it is ordained by God in Scripture. It is a practical and meaningful way for me to honor God. It is a reminder that I own nothing in this world. Everything is a gift from God. After many years of tithing, I have seen how God puts my resources to use to expand His Kingdom and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who desperately need it. This simple act helps me understand my place in God’s economy. When I know my place, I experience the joy of doing what is pleasing to the Lord.
I’ll stop here for now. Next time I’ll explain the mechanics of tithing and my process. I’ll also provide my views on tithing on personal and business incomes. We’ll discuss how I go about selecting where I send tithes and how to deal with the offering plate at church on Sunday.
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