There’s More to Tithing Than 10%

I was taught from an early age to give God 10 percent of everything. That meant if I got a dollar, I put 10 cents in the offering plate. If I got 10 dollars, one of them went to the work of the Church. And so on.

But that routine by itself doesn’t engender a mindset of giving. Even if you give 10 percent faithfully, it doesn’t mean you’ll come away with the right perspective about the other 90 percent.

It was always easy for me to give God 10 cents out of a dollar or 10 dollars out of a hundred. I also remember getting a check for a thousand dollars and having no hesitation about giving God His hundred.

But when it got much bigger than that, a little alarm would start to go off inside. If you get $10,000, are you really going to write a check for a thousand dollars? You can almost feel irresponsible about giving away that much money.

Whenever we sense that hesitation, it’s because we have started to view our money as our money. In those moments, we’re not completely in touch with the fact that everything belongs to God, comes from Him and is dispensed by Him. In a way, we’re buying into the myth that we own it and we’re giving it to God.

But God owns it all. So I’m really just “giving” Him what already belongs to Him. The idea that we ever “give” God anything is really just a myth.

We are to honor God not with a percentage, but with all we possess. It’s not 10 percent. It’s 100 percent.

This applies not just to money, but also to things like honor, strength and opportunity. Everything that’s “yours” belongs to God, comes from God and is dispensed by God.

So what would it look like for you to honor God with all of your stuff?

Does that question give you butterflies in your stomach? Are you getting images of being called to the mission field, taking a vow of poverty and living in squalor the rest of your life?

If the thought of turning everything over to God makes you a little nervous, you’re not alone. But here’s what I want you to remember: God doesn’t want to take your money; He just doesn’t want your money to take you.

First of all, He doesn’t need your permission to take your stuff. It’s already His. And second, God is a giver, not a taker. He didn’t send His Son, Jesus, to collect from everyone who owed Him. He sent Jesus to give His life for you.

And by calling you to acknowledge Him as the owner of your stuff, He wants to give you something yet again. He wants to give you the freedom and peace that come with letting go.

Did you know that the more you hold on to what you possess, the less peace you have?

So let me ask you again: What would it look like for you to honor God with all of your stuff? Do you need to take it up a notch in the area of giving? Or perhaps honoring God would mean stepping up in the area of providing for your family. For some people, honoring God means saving more, spending less or liquidating that cabinet full of collectibles.

I don’t know where this will land for you. But if you ask God, He will show you how to honor Him with everything you have. Not just with a percentage of it, but with all of it.

This article is adapted with permission from How to Be Rich (Zondervan, 2013).

Top Comments

lynda t

159

lynda t commented…

The tithe is how the electric and gas bills, the overhead, the salary, the missions, the church sponsored events all get paid. The love of money is the root of all evil (1 tim 6:10), when we tithe, we are putting God first. The Word says where your treasure is, there your heart is. 12:32
I tend to think the less money you have the harder it would be to tithe, because you would have less discretionary income. But, I find with most people, the more income, the harder it is to tithe that 10%, because they have gotten caught up into the love of money. They look at the dollar amount, as opposed to what's left. As I tithe, I find if I do it first, before gas, groceries, mortgage, electric, water, cell, internet (need I go on?), I don't resent it, because I have already given it. But if I get caught up in paying this bill first, then I want to hold onto it. When I tithe first, my bills have always been paid (it's been tight sometimes), but when I take care of me first, I don't always have that 'leftover' to give.

J Burton

14

J Burton commented…

A few things in short form:

1. Tithing is not presented accurately. It was about acknowledging the source and celebrating. It was specifically about celebrating life coming from the land.

It's not an obligation anymore than any other Jewish law from the old testament is, though it's principles (and possibly the format) might be good for some as a training tool. That's a personal choice though.

2. Giving is not presented accurately. There is no minimum or maximum. There is no clear obligation that it has to be in a cash format. The orientation of our soul is of upmost importance.

3. Giving to God comes with responsibility. Just because an organization claims to represent God does not mean that they do, or that they do effectively. Would you sign a contract with a business that had no clear plan for their future sustainability or that spent 90% of their revenue on upgrading the space for their employees or gave lavish bonuses to all their executives? If you would question the impact and effectiveness of your resources with a business, why wouldn't you do that when you give to a church or nonprofit?

4. If you give, there is an obligation that your church/nonprofit have a storehouse mentality for vulnerable populations. If a church does not want to plan for supporting the vulnerable (locally first, then in other locations), then I believe they should just have a membership fee and not garble the concept of tithes and offerings.

5. Giving should have a long-term perspective. Too often we Christians will over a minor difference of opinion (not fraud most of the time), move money between organizations. People who swap flippantly don't understand that it comes at an expense to whoever may be providing a service. Recently World Vision was suddenly the target of this kind of reactionary behavior. While it may seem like this kind of behavior is punishing the org, it's ultimately those who are meeting needs that experience the pain as they have to stop what they are doing to suddenly go and chase money from a different source. This is a consumeristic perspective on giving (it's all about me filling good about the organizations I give to). There may be valid reasons to change how we give. It's just important to consider the impact when we do so flippantly.

9 Comments

Fred H Otte

1

Fred H Otte commented…

how about tithing as obedience

Jelinda Raeon

1

Jelinda Raeon commented…

tithing was in Genesis, before the law came.

myoshi robinson

3

myoshi robinson commented…

I believecin tithing but I must admit you are right in what you said. I have strayed away from God but I want back in...nothing better than having God in your life. Pray for me in my struggle..thanks for creating Relevant...

lynda t

159

lynda t commented…

The tithe is how the electric and gas bills, the overhead, the salary, the missions, the church sponsored events all get paid. The love of money is the root of all evil (1 tim 6:10), when we tithe, we are putting God first. The Word says where your treasure is, there your heart is. 12:32
I tend to think the less money you have the harder it would be to tithe, because you would have less discretionary income. But, I find with most people, the more income, the harder it is to tithe that 10%, because they have gotten caught up into the love of money. They look at the dollar amount, as opposed to what's left. As I tithe, I find if I do it first, before gas, groceries, mortgage, electric, water, cell, internet (need I go on?), I don't resent it, because I have already given it. But if I get caught up in paying this bill first, then I want to hold onto it. When I tithe first, my bills have always been paid (it's been tight sometimes), but when I take care of me first, I don't always have that 'leftover' to give.

J Burton

14

J Burton commented…

A few things in short form:

1. Tithing is not presented accurately. It was about acknowledging the source and celebrating. It was specifically about celebrating life coming from the land.

It's not an obligation anymore than any other Jewish law from the old testament is, though it's principles (and possibly the format) might be good for some as a training tool. That's a personal choice though.

2. Giving is not presented accurately. There is no minimum or maximum. There is no clear obligation that it has to be in a cash format. The orientation of our soul is of upmost importance.

3. Giving to God comes with responsibility. Just because an organization claims to represent God does not mean that they do, or that they do effectively. Would you sign a contract with a business that had no clear plan for their future sustainability or that spent 90% of their revenue on upgrading the space for their employees or gave lavish bonuses to all their executives? If you would question the impact and effectiveness of your resources with a business, why wouldn't you do that when you give to a church or nonprofit?

4. If you give, there is an obligation that your church/nonprofit have a storehouse mentality for vulnerable populations. If a church does not want to plan for supporting the vulnerable (locally first, then in other locations), then I believe they should just have a membership fee and not garble the concept of tithes and offerings.

5. Giving should have a long-term perspective. Too often we Christians will over a minor difference of opinion (not fraud most of the time), move money between organizations. People who swap flippantly don't understand that it comes at an expense to whoever may be providing a service. Recently World Vision was suddenly the target of this kind of reactionary behavior. While it may seem like this kind of behavior is punishing the org, it's ultimately those who are meeting needs that experience the pain as they have to stop what they are doing to suddenly go and chase money from a different source. This is a consumeristic perspective on giving (it's all about me filling good about the organizations I give to). There may be valid reasons to change how we give. It's just important to consider the impact when we do so flippantly.

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