Throughout history, the act of giving has served as a cornerstone of faith and community. In the Christian tradition, the practice of tithing and offering holds a special significance, representing not only a financial contribution but also a tangible expression of gratitude and commitment to God. But what does the Bible say about the importance of accurate giving, and how can we navigate this aspect of our faith with integrity and understanding?
The Foundation Of Tithing And Offering
The concept of tithing, donating a tenth of one’s income, finds its roots in the Old Testament. In Genesis 14:20, Abraham famously offers a tenth of his spoils of war to Melchizedek, the priest of God Most High. Later, in Leviticus 27:30-33, the Israelites are instructed to tithe their crops and livestock as a dedication to the Lord. While the specific details and interpretations of tithing may vary across denominations and individual understandings, the core principle remains – a portion of our material blessings is set apart as an act of worship and service.
Beyond the Numbers:
It’s important to remember that tithing is not merely a transactional obligation. The book of Malachi 3:8-10 challenges those who withhold their tithes, not for the financial loss to God, but for the spiritual impoverishment it reveals. The act of giving, when done with a joyful and generous heart, becomes an expression of trust in God’s provision and a commitment to his work. 2 Corinthians 9:7 reminds us, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, generously, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
Types Of Tithes And Offerings
You have many ways to give in service to God. Here are four of the most common types of tithes and offerings for Christians:
Tithes are offerings to your local church worth 10% of your income. You might tithe to church immediately after you get paid.
Offerings are given after tithes and on certain holy days of the year. However, you can also make offerings throughout the year whenever you want.
3. First Fruits:
First fruits are typically offerings given annually at “harvest time.” If you’re not a farmer, “harvest time” can mean anything from work bonuses to tax refunds. Whatever your harvest may be, giving first fruits is a way to show your gratitude to God for His blessings.
Alms are a type of giving where you give directly to other people and not through the church. Some examples of alms-giving include:
- Donating money to soup kitchens
- Giving cash to the needy
- Donating clothes and food to charitable organizations
The Importance Of Tithe And Offering
While tithing often receives the spotlight, the Bible also emphasizes the importance of additional offerings given freely and generously. In Exodus 35:21-29, we see the Israelites bringing an abundance of materials for the construction of the tabernacle, exceeding what was required. This act of selfless giving highlights the joy of contributing to God’s work and the beauty of a community united in generosity.
Navigating the Path:
Ultimately, the question of how much to give is a personal one, guided by prayerful consideration and individual circumstances. Hebrews 7:4 reminds us that Abraham, the father of faith, gave a tithe of his spoils, “not because of any regulation or command,” but because of his own reverence and devotion. Likewise, our giving should be motivated by a genuine love for God and a desire to participate in his work in the world.
Reasons Why You Need To Pay Your Tithe
1. To Avoid a Curse:
“Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me” (Malachi 3:9).
Someone has said, “You can’t outgive God, and you can’t outsqueeze Him either.”
Some people put their money into “a big with holes” (Haggai 1:6). They do not give God His tithe, bit they eventually spend the money for automobile repairs, medical bills, and a thousand other things that they might have avoided if they had been faithful to God in their giving.
God said that the whole nation of Israel was cursed because they had not given God His due. God asked Israel to dedicate the gold of Jericho to Him, but Achan took a wedge of gold and hid it in a tent. It became a curse to him and his whole family. I do not want God to curse my blessings. I want to give Him His tithe.
2. To Enjoy God’s Blessing:
“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse… and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it ” (Malachi 3:10). (See also Luke 6:38).
God blesses the people who pay tithes. They do not always have the most money or the best clothes, but they are blessed.
3. God Commands Us to Do So:
Tithing is repeatedly mentioned in the Bible. Scripture tells us, “Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year.” (Deuteronomy 14:22)
God commands us to set aside one-tenth of what we produce for the church. In modern society, your “produce” can be anything from your salary to your business profits.
4. Tithing Shows Your Love For God:
The tithe is the Lord’s way of asking us to show our love. Giving God a percentage of our earnings shows that we put our love for Him before our need for money.
5. Tithing Grows Trust In God:
By sacrificing 10% of your income, we learn to rely on God. While 10% might be a sizable part of some people’s earnings, giving tithes means you trust that God will still provide you with enough food and wealth to live.
The Significance Of Accuracy In Giving Tithe And Offering
While the exact percentage may differ, the call for accuracy and faithfulness in our giving remains consistent. Proverbs 11:1 states, “The LORD detests dishonest scales, but he delights in accurate weights.” This verse applies not just to physical scales but also to the scales of our hearts. When we approach giving with honesty and integrity, we honor God and demonstrate the seriousness of our commitment.
So, what does accurate tithe and offering look like in practice? It’s not about a rigid formula or a one-size-fits-all approach. It’s about prayerful discernment, guided by scripture and a deep sense of gratitude for God’s providence. It’s about giving cheerfully, not grudgingly, and reflecting on what portion of our resources truly honors God and serves His purposes.
Ultimately, the importance of accurate tithe and offering lies not in the amount we give, but in the spirit with which we give. It’s about recognizing God’s ownership and surrendering ourselves as faithful stewards of His blessings. It’s about participating in the sacred work of His kingdom, building bridges of love and hope through acts of generosity.
Biblical Story On Accurate Tithe And Offering
The Widow’s Mite: Mark 12: 41–44
Jesus was at the temple with the disciples. Here he witnessed something which he used to teach the disciples about giving.
He sat across from the treasury of the temple and watched many rich people put in large sums of money.
Then a poor widow came along and put in two small copper coins.
Jesus teaches the disciples that the woman gave more than the rich.
The poor woman, as a widow, would have had no source of income after her husband’s death. Therefore the two small copper coins were all she had – and yet she offered them to God.
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As we navigate this aspect of our faith, let us remember the words of 1 Chronicles 29:11, “Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, the power, the splendor, the glory, and the majesty, for everything in heaven and on earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted over all as head.” May our giving reflect the awe and gratitude we have for the magnificent God we serve.
Beyond the tithe, the practice of offering freely and generously finds its roots in the very character of God. He is the ultimate giver, showering us with blessings beyond measure (James 1:17). In response, we are called to reflect His generosity, extending our hands in compassion and support to those in need (Proverbs 19:17).
Difference Between Tithes And Offerings
Tithes and offerings are closely related because they both involve giving. However, there are two key differences between tithes and offerings:
Tithes literally mean “one-tenth”, so it has a set amount of 10% of your income, as defined by Scripture: “A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord.” (Leviticus 27:30)
Meanwhile, offerings have no set amount. Everyone can decide how much to give with each offering, as mentioned in the Bible, “Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God that He has given you.” (Deuteronomy 16:17)
Whenever you make money, you’re called on to give tithes first. This means tithing is the first priority when giving. Meanwhile, offerings are generally optional and come after the tithe.
Additional Bible Citations
Proverbs 3:9-10: “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.”
Malachi 3:8-10: “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.'”
Luke 6:38: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
As we embark on this journey of faithful giving, let us remember the words of the apostle Paul: “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7).
May our tithes and offerings be not just financial contributions, but heartfelt expressions of our love, obedience, and trust in the One who has given us everything.