Thursday, February 26, 2009

Importance of Tithing

Let me start out here, by sharing that tithe is a topic I have been studying and learning about recently. While I have given to the church throughout my entire life, I have never been taught the basics about tithing.

Lately, it has struck me that sex and money within the church, are an equal to religion and politics in the work place. Religion and politics are the two topics most people refrain from talking about at work because of the controversy surrounding them, however these are two very important topics to discuss.

The same is true for sex and money. Many churches tend to skirt these issues because it brings up topics that many dont like to hear. Sex, a huge topic, brings with it abstinence, homosexuality, and can lead into topics like divorce. Money, well thats just a topic everyone seems to get uptight about.

Money is a foundational topic in the Christian faith. If we look at tithing in the Old Testament, God commanded His people to tithe, whether you call it a tax or not, I believe it is something we should all be following.

Tithe is 10%, no more, no less. If you are not returning 10% of your total gross income, you are not tithing, you are giving. Confused? Tithe belongs to God, and so it never really belongs to us, which is where we get the phrase "robbing God".

Tithe is a starting point for your giving, not the ending point. We are called to return to God His portion of our income, and anything above and beyond that if a freewill offering (something that your heart has lead you to give). Tithe teaches us the joy in giving, something many Americans dont have. Studies have shown that the more money we accumulate, the less we give, which brings up the proportional aspect.

Proportional giving looks at how much you keep, after you have given. This is important, so important we see Christ talking about it as well (Mark 12:41-44 and Luke 21:1-4). I widow gave her offering of two mites, which in totality is next to nothing, until we look at it proportionally.

She gave two mites, which was all she had. Likewise, if a person with an income of $40,000 a year gives 20% annually, or $8000, it seems little in comparison to someone who gives $20,000 on a million dollar income. Proportionately, the smaller gift is actually a larger gift, because that household has less to live on, but requires a greater faith. They are living on less than 80% of their income, and trusting God to provide for them.

Tithe teaches us faith. When we tithe we are trusting in God to provide for us. The more we give, the more we are forced trust. As a new believer learns about God, he/she must first learn to tithe. Tithing is a basic tool that a new believer ought to learn to use, because it teaches many lessons about faith.

First, it requires the new believer to trust God. Second, it will show the new believer that God does provide. Third, it shows God is not a big angry God, He asks us to test Him in our giving, and if we do, He opens up so much for us, its hard to keep track of it.

If you are not returning to God 10% of you gross annual income, I challenge you to start. Test God in this, and see what He does in your life.


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