What is a tithe?

The next few posts will be concerning tithing. I personally feel that this is an important subject. I feel that a lot of Christians are missing out on their best possible life because they overlook this form of worship in their lives.

I also believe that this is a confusing subject, so in my next few posts I want to explain what a tithe is. I then want to explain some really practical steps that you can take to start tithing. And I’m going to share how I think that church leaders are possibly talking Christians out of tithing in an attempt to talk them into it.

Like I said before, tithing is a form of worship. It has to come from your heart. If your heart isn’t ready to tithe, then your hands won’t be ready to tithe. So I want to help others get their heart there. Because the blessed life is amazing!

I’m not trying to step on anyone’s toes in this process. I once had a supervisor who was very smooth when he spoke to the crew of guys that I worked with. When he had to get down to taking care of a problem on our crew, he would always gather us around and tell us “we’re going to the grocery store, so everybody grab a cart. If you see something that you need, take it off the shelf and put it in the cart. If it’s not something that you need, just walk on by.”

That was a nice way of saying that somebody was about to get some discipline. We were all going to hear what the discipline was so we wouldn’t make the same mistake in the future. Now, the person who needed the “talk” knew who they were but no one else did. So they were the ones who needed what was on the shelf.

So everybody grab a cart and let’s go shopping….

I want to explain what my belief is concerning a tithe. When I use the word “tithe” I mean a measurement of income that you have earned. It’s actually the first 10% of your income. I think that there are many scriptures that explain this, you can Google them if you’d like. But a tithe is a measurement of earned income, and I believe that it’s what you give to your local church to fund the Kingdom of God. It’s not what you give to Toys for Tots or to The Salvation Army or any other charity (although I do believe that we should also be giving to charities). A tithe is not time that you donate to the church cleaning the restrooms or leading Sunday school. For instance, I can’t “tithe” my knowledge to the church.

Your tithe helps to fund the Kingdom. I only mention this so we are all on the same page. I once worked at a huge industrial facility where my coworkers and I were able to talk openly about our faith. One guy (who was the pastor of a small church in another state) who I was talking to on one particular day brought up tithing and how badly his church was doing financially. I asked if he himself tithed and he said that he did. Then he went on to offer “I tithe $200 per month, that’s what I feel convicted to tithe”. Because I had a general understanding of what his salary was, I knew that $200 per month was probably not even 5% of his income. Although I’m not casting stones at him, he wasn’t giving a tithe, he was giving an offering. It’s like saying “I’m giving 1 cup of milk, but I only feel convicted to give 1/4 cup of milk”. Well, 1/4 cup is obviously not 1 full cup. That’s why it’s relevant.

I feel that the scriptures clearly express this measurement as 10% of your income for a reason. Giving money to fund the Kingdom of God should have an effect on you. It should mean something. You should feel it. Funding the Kingdom shouldn’t feel as nonchalant as paying for gas or cigarettes. It is deliberate. It is planned and budgeted for. It is an act of worship and obedience. And it is a way of dying to yourself daily.

I’ve heard a lot of people tell me that they can’t afford to give 10% to a church. I would respond that you can. If it’s something that you really feel compelled to do, then you can. When my wife and I first realized that we weren’t tithing (we thought that we were, but after we did the math we realized we may have barely been giving 3%), we made the decision together that we were going to change our lifestyle to make sure that we were following God’s instructions. For us, that meant getting rid of cable for a while (because like many, we were living paycheck to paycheck. We weren’t just putting money away in savings). We also figured out how to complete a budget and live on it. And we did away with a lot of frivolous spending. For instance, we now save a small amount of money every month so we can buy small birthday gifts for certain family members on their birthdays. Notice I said “some” family members. Not everyone gets one. Most of our friends don’t get a birthday gift from us. Most of our friends’ children don’t get a birthday gift from us. That may come off harsh or sound rude, but we decided that following God’s command to tithe was more important than showering the people that we care about with more material things that will eventually decay or become obsolete. These may not be the steps that you need to take or feel led to take. These are just examples from my own life.

Later, I’m going to share some very practical steps that you can take to begin tithing. Again, the first step is to talk to God in prayer. Search your heart. Read the scriptures for yourself. Then decide what your next step should be. Start getting your heart ready to worship in a way that you never have!

Why do you think that it’s so hard for us to give 10% of our income to our church?

If Christ followers do not feel compelled to fund the Kingdom of God through their local church, who do we expect to fund it?

What kind of amazing things could the church accomplish if it were fully-funded?