Here’s an interesting topic that a friend brought up, should we be tithing in today’s context? My friend didn’t just leave it there, but then asked if it was even “biblical.” So, is it? Let’s take a moment to think about this one. First off, I don’t really want to dive to deep into this topic. Not because I don’t want people giving in my church, but because I really think there are more important topics to be discussing.
Tithe literally means 1/10th. I personally know many Christians who tithe to the dollar and some even to the penny on what they earn. I also know Christians who may give less financially, but give greatly with their time and energy. So who’s doing it right?
Part of the reason I don’t wan’t to dig too deep here, is that I don’t want to step on toes or hinder anyone’s faith. If I do, I apologize. In the Old Testament accounts, tithing was almost exclusively used for livestock, grain, and other produce. In the New Testament, tithing is only mentioned a hand-full of times, and never as a command. In actuality, in the monetary sense, the New Testament talks about giving abundantly and not about tithing. Think of Jesus and His disciples, they didn’t have much in the way of money, but they gave abundantly in other means.
So which path is right? I personally think that if making sure you give a certain percentage back helps you with your walk, then go for it. But don’t be stingy, with your mind on worldly possessions. Maybe give 10% to your local church, but then (if you can) help out individuals when the opportunity presents itself. I have seen God work miracles with people who trust Him with their money, and I’ll never talk against it. I think that part of the reason that the New Testament doesn’t really talk about this topic is for a different reason than what this basic argument takes hold of. If you Google “is tithing Biblical” you’ll see what I’m talking about.
What does it mean to trust God with your money? How do you give your money to God to show that you trust Him? Do you give it to the church? What church? Isn’t the body of Christ the Church? Therein lies the real issue with tithing. Where does it go? I believe in supporting your local church. Give there and give generously, or it might not be there much longer. But we are called to do so much more, to support each other and help the needy. If we give everything we can afford to our local church, and that local church spends all it can on staff, building, sound, power, heat, bills, international missions….. what are you doing? When you stand before God and He asks what you did to help, are you going to reply “I gave to my church?” And then He might ask, “and what did they do with that to help the people I put you around?”
Don’t limit your understanding of helping as a Christian to giving to your local church. You are the church, and you need to act like it to the needy around you too.