5 Short Essays on the Benefits of Tithing

James Linville

FIVE SHORT ESSAYS ON THE BENEFITS OF TITHING

God has entrusted you with many gifts. It is your responsibility to hold these gifts “in trust” – to use your time, talent and possessions according to God’s divine plan. As Owner, He holds you accountable for careful management of all He has place in your care.

A miser sees possessions as something to fondle and caress – to look at but not to use. God intended possessions to be used for both spiritual and material things. These include all of the physical, spiritual, educational, social and recreational needs of life. As a Christian, it is your responsibility to divide your spending between the spiritual and material. No matter how small your income, God expects you to divide it properly.

God Works Through Man…

God gives you His love and the means to share this love through the Church. Your giving to the Church is a test of your love for Him. Everything you have belongs to God. He will always give you sufficient to finance both the work of His Kingdom and your own life.

God’s gifts are not yours to spend solely for your own personal gratification. To live for selfish interests alone is to deny God’s plan for you. Wise and responsible management of God’s resources means a
faithful division of your income between your own material needs and the financial needs of God’s work.

Put God In Your Plans

Read the story of the rich man who decided to build bigger barns, recorded in Luke 12:16-21. Notice that in the space of the first three verses the word “I” is used six times and “my” five times. God is not mentioned at all! Yet in the end, God called him to account saying, “Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” The sin is not in building bigger barns, but in leaving God out of your plans. Giving only leftovers or a small percentage of your income shortchanges God and cheats both Him and yourself.

Plan your finances carefully and give god first place in your plans. Never leave Him out of your thinking, your planning, your life.

The Money Is In Your Hands

The money is in your hands right now! Even if God gave a larger income, you would not change your level of giving unless you first changed your desires and level of trust. Appetite for money and possessions can never be satisfied by getting more money. You do need more – more faith, more love, more trust – not more money!

The money is in your hands! What you do with it is up to you. Remember, God wants you, all of you. He wants the expression of your love in the proper use of all His gifts.

How are you using the gifts God has entrusted to your care? Firstfruits and a generous percentage of your income reflect your trust in God and partnership in His work. If you were called to account this day, would you be ready or would you be proud of your giving record?

It’s In Your Hands
Published by: Neibauer Press, Warminster, PA

You will never be in a better position to tithe than you are today. The amount of your income or the number of your financial obligations has relatively little to do with your ability to tithe. The person who says, “AFTER I pay all may bills, I can’t afford to tithe,” is telling the truth. That person simply has the cart before the horse. None of us could afford to tithe with what’s left. Tithing is a matter of putting things first,
taking our tithe out first, and then managing the rest of our income in a way by which we still pay all our bills. And this is easier than you may think.

Strangely enough, the decision to tithe is seldom made by sitting down with a pencil and paper. More often it is made by kneeling down with an open heart. The decision to tithe has very little to do with a mathematical formula. It has a great deal to do with a right relationship to God. Most tithers began the practice the day they finally realized that their possessions, their money, their very lives, were not their own, but God’s.

No one can talk you into believing this. Worship, prayer, and some mature Christian thought are the paths that sooner or later will lead you right into the heart of this inescapable truth.

Tithing requires a faith that gives God priority in our lives.

Sharing at least a tenth with God becomes a natural outgrowth of faith for those who have submitted their whole life to the guidance of the Divine Will. Tithers frequently witness that giving God priority in their economic life has helped them to develop faith in the rest of their life. Tithing helps persons believe that the ultimate goal of each person should be to give their whole life to the guidance of the Divine Will.

Once you see God at the very center of your life, nothing less than tithing will make any sense. You will understand your responsibility to manage 100 percent of your money, your time, your ability, as a trust from God. Then 10 percent of your income, dedicated to the owner, may seem to be all too little.

You do not arrive at tithing with the simple idea of increasing your giving until you are a tither or that tithing is some kind of goal that every Christian should reach. It is the result of a relationship that you have
developed with God and in response to that relationship. It really has little to do with percentages or amounts of money, because 10 percent is a small amount in relation to God and eternity. Therefore, tithing is something you do as a result of love and gratitude in the giving relationship you have with God. It is your sincere desire to see God’s love made available around the world to persons everywhere that moves you to
give more and more.

Tithing is a spiritual adventure. It is but a part of a deeper, richer relationship with God. The time to launch out is now.

The Time to Tithe Is Now
Published by: Section on Stewardship,
United Methodist Church

What is Christian Tithing?

“Christian tithing is voluntarily setting aside a minimum proportion of one’s income, 10%, a tithe, for Kingdom work out of a gratitude for Christ’s redeeming love.” The basic motivation for tithing is love out of
gratitude.

Is the Tithe Biblical?

Yes. It is the universal Biblical principle that the first and best are God’s. Jesus renders forceful approval of the tithe, Luke 11:42, Matt. 23:23. The Apostle Paul lays down the principle of proportionate giving, –
“Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store as God hath prospered him…” I Cor. 16:1-2.

What May a Christian Do About the Tithe Now?

1) Begin now to dedicate at least one-tenth of your net income for Jesus Christ and His Gospel.

2) Witness to others the joy you derive as a tither.

3) Put your church and/or Mission Boards in your will that the program of these agencies of Christ may go forward into the future with confidence and strength.

4) In all your understanding and practice of the Gospel, honor Him who said “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matt. 6:21.

Some Tithe Values

1) Each time a tither sets aside “the dedicated portion”, he is helped to more closely live up to basic requirements of Christian discipleship such as Matthew 6:33, 16:24; St. Luke 10:27.

2) Tithing makes it possible for the Christian to know he is keeping up to the only definite minimum standard that God gave.

3) Tithing is one way for the Christian to prove to God, to himself and his fellow men the genuineness of his gratitude and love. (II Cor. 8:8,24).

4) Tithing demands a stronger faith because of the size of the gift in proportion to income. Most of our giving takes little or no faith, it is so small.

5) After starting to tithe many people find it possible to devote even more to God’s work as they experience the joy of Jesus’ words, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

6) Tithing often leads to more careful spending of the other 90% because most families must make a family budget to meet all obligations.

7) Tithing helps a man have the satisfaction that he is a worthy partner with God in bringing the gospel of preaching, teaching, healing and serving to many needy.

What Tithing Does to You

1) Tithing makes God central in one’s giving and his living. Tithing expresses gratitude and develops greater gratitude, thus enriching life.

2) Tithing makes worship easier and more meaningful in the giving of self and thus deepening your relationship to your Creator.

3) Tithing is partnership with the Almighty, returning some of the substance He has entrusted to you, to help accomplish His work.

Tithing is One-Tenth
Published by: Neibauer Press, Warminster, PA

Such arithmetic would get a banker into trouble. It doesn’t make sense – unless you’re talking about Christian giving. God’s arithmetic is: $10 – $1 = $10 when you depend more upon God than upon things. “If God so clothes the grass of the field… will He not much more clothe you?” Matt. 6:30. You can be sure of God’s blessings when you trust Him completely. God’s arithmetic is not the arithmetic of doubters.

$10 – $1 = $10+ when you dedicate all ten dollars to God. Ten per cent for God is not enough. He expects 100 per cent of your time, your talents and your possessions to be used as He wishes. None of these are “yours.” They all belong to Him. We are only caretakers of our life and all He gives. Blessings cannot come to any proportionate giver who uses the remaining nine parts selfishly or wastefully.

$10 – $1 = $10+ when you give the dollar to Jesus out of thankfulness for His gift of salvation to you. Giving is to be act of love for Him “Who became poor the we might be rich.”

$10 – $1 = $10+ when you bring a generous part first. “Bring the first-fruits.” Honor the Lord with you substance.” Give “as God has prospered you.” The one-tenth is not the sacred thing, but the dedicated portion is. Faith may indicate 11%, 9%, or 14%. Our love for Christ cannot be computed in a definite permanent percentage. Giving the first-fruits places God, not self, first.

$10 – $1 = $10+ when you give your offering freely out of love. Christian giving is not bargaining with the Lord for His blessings. “Give and it will be given to you.” Luke 6:38 – not always kind for kind, but blessings nonetheless.

$10 – $1 = $10+ means that the $9 is worth more than the original $10! Some will find this difficult to believe, especially when they barely got along with the ten-tenths. Giving a generous percentage of our income to Jesus before we spend for ourselves works no hardship. It is a rich and holy partnership. Only the spiritual mind can understand this. Until one actually practices this type of giving, one cannot really know that $9 is more than $10.

Try God’s Arithmetic: Learn that $10 – $1 for Jesus = $10+. Start today and prove it for yourself.

When $10 – $1 = $10+
Published by: Neibauer Press, Warminster, PA

How much shall I give…?

Giving money to the church is a highly symbolic act. It is also a very practical manner. By giving money, we symbolize the offering of ourselves in service and devotion to God. We make it possible for the church to pay its bills and carry out its ministry in the world.

“How much shall we give to the work of the church?” therefore becomes a very important question. Our answer reflects our willingness and readiness to offer ourselves to God. It provides the means for an effective witness and service through the church.

Here are several plans. Reflect upon them, and then select a plan that fits you.

The decision is yours to make.

“Fair share”

In a number of American cities, people are asked to give a “fair share” to the annual United Fund appeal. A standard widely in use is a gift of twelve hours’ pay per year. It amounts to a gift of one hour’s pay per month.

In a similar way, a congregation might suggest a fair share for its members. A gift of twelve days’ pay per year or 4.8 percent of earnings might be considered a fair standard of giving to the church. This would
amount to a gift of one day’s pay per month.

“A percentage”

The practice of setting aside a fixed percentage of income for the church is a practice that is dependable and methodical. Many people find this a practical way of determining what their response should be. They decide on a certain percentage and then set aside that amount each week for the church.

“Proportionately”

Another popular plan is based upon the principle of proportionate giving. It makes use of the formula, “one dollar per week for every $1,000 of annual income.” Such a plan is simple, easy to understand and to calculate. When such a plan presents too large an increase at one time, it is possible to reach it by increasing the present rate of giving 25 cents per week for each $1,000 of annual income, each year, until the goal is reached.

“A planned amount”

The Christian recognizes that he is responsible for the use he makes of his whole income. One part of it is no more sacred than another. All of it can be used in a stewardly fashion.

Normally, there are three steps involved in the responsible management of family income. The first step is to determine the total family income for a twelve-month period. The second step is to list the fixed obligations – the expenses that must be met for rent, mortgages, taxes, life insurance, installment payments, and so on. The third step is to list the variable expenses – the estimated amounts that will be required for food, clothing, home upkeep, transportation, personal allowance, education, recreation,
etc.

Contributions to the church may be included either under “fixed obligations” or under “variable expenses.” In either case, the decision of how much to give to the church becomes part of the planning for the
management and spending of the total income.

Our giving in “a planned amount” becomes a true expression of our Christian stewardship when it is an integral part of the thoughtful management of our total income.

“The same as last year”

Giving the same as the year before decreases the services the church can render. The church’s expenses increase with rising living costs. If everyone give “the same as last year” the work of the church would be less every year. If you have a plan a giving which gives evidence of good stewardship or with which you feel happy you should decide to increase your gift to meet higher yearly costs.

How Much Shall I Give?
Published by: Neibauer Press, Warminster, PA

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