I. What is Tithing?
A. It’s making a voluntary, systematic contribution of financial support to your church.
1. Voluntary: giving out of love and gratitude for all God gives you.
2. Systematic: giving a predetermined portion of your income as you receive it.
B. The Old Testament Guideline for giving was a “tithe” – or tenth – of total property.
1. “And of all that you give me I will surely give one tenth to you”.
C. Today – the tithing tradition remains an important part of church life for many Christians.
II. Tithing symbolizes and helps express your commitment to Christ and the church.
A. A regular plan for giving can help.
1. Enrich your life, Through giving, we offer ourselves in service and devotion to God. We become stronger in faith, more aware of others’ needs, and we experience the joy of sharing with others in Christ.
2. Accomplish the church’s mission, Reliable funding allows the church to plan for expenses, carry out programs, maintain outreach activities and help those in need.
III. The Origins of Tithing.
A. Old Testament
1. The Old Testament contains many references to tithing. It refers to tithing as being required of all.
a. A tenth of possessions such as animals, grains, etc (the best tenth or “first fruits”), were to be set aside and offered to God in thanks for the blessings we are given.
2. The custom of tithing may have started before the 8th century B.C.
a. All tithes from the land, whether the seed from the ground or the fruit from the tree, are the LORD’S; they are holy to the LORD. Leviticus 27:30.
B. New Testament
1. According to the New Testament, Jesus affirmed tithing as a form of STEWARDSHIP.
a. Stewardship means using everything God has given us – life, talents, possessions – to serve God with love and gratitude. Jesus encouraged giving in proportion to what we have received, praising the poor widow for her generous gift. (Luke 21:2).
2. The Apostle Paul directed his followers to plan their contributions.
a. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put aside and save whatever extra you earn… 1 Corinthians 16:2.
IV. Tithing in the Early Church
A. The custom of tithing changed and developed as the church grew.
1. Tithes were often crops or livestock.
a. The early Church, poor and struggling, stressed voluntary giving of what ever was available. Later, when money became more common, it replaced the practice of tithing animals, grain, etc.
2. Tithing became compulsory.
a. By the 4th century, Christianity had grown to include many prosperous people who were able (and required) to give more.
3. Tithing rules were developed.
a. By the 6th century, the Church decreed how tithes would be collected. Violators were punished (by excommunication in extreme cases.)
4. Tithing changed after the Reformation.
a. By the 16th century, compulsory tithing had alienated many Christians. The requirement was gradually abandoned in most churches.
V. Tithing in Today’s Churches.
A. The success of tithing depends on the understanding and participation of church members.
1. Tithing as stewardship.
a. According to the teachings of the New Testament, Church members are stewards of God’s gifts and should give freely to further God’s work.
2. Tithing as a church program.
a. Many churches have organized plans for encouraging tithing and helping members to tithe.
3. Tithing in estate planning.
a. Through your will or life insurance plan (offered by many church organizations,) your estate can continue to provide support after your death.
4. Teaching tithing to others.
a. Church members should teach their children to tithe, explain it to others and set good examples themselves.
VI. Reasons to Tithe
A. Everything we have comes as a gift from God.
1. To show our faith and thanksgiving, we can return a part of God’s gifts to us to help the church carry out its work.
B. Tithing is a way of:
1. Loving, Through giving, we show our love for God and humanity and receive God’s love.
2. Growing, It is a challenge that helps us develop self-discipline, responsibility and maturity.
3. Helping, Tithing supports programs to help those with material and spiritual needs.
4. Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. I Peter 4:10.
VII. Everyone can Tithe
A. Anyone who has an income can plan ahead to make tithing a regular p part of his or her budget.
1. Employees, Regularly set aside a portion of your salary.
2. Self-employed, Compute the tithe based on your income after business (not personal) deductions.
3. Retired People, Tithe, even if income is small. The amount is not as important as planned, consistent giving.
4. Teens, Giving a percentage from part-time jobs will help establish the tithing habit early.
5. Children, Even youngsters can put aside a small amount each week for God.
VIII. How and When to Tithe
A. These guidelines will help you meet your plan for tithing.
1. Be systematic, The key is to make tithing a normal part of your budget. Whatever your program of giving, keep records, be prompt and try not to miss dates.
2. Tithe Weekly, Weekly or monthly tithing helps your church plan its budget. Planning to tithe yearly often results in not having the money ready when promised. If you don’t receive income on a regular basis, tithe when you receive it.
B. Realize that tithing is not a substitute for other Christian obligations such as volunteering your time for church-related activities. Think of tithing as an important part of your total stewardship responsibilities.
IX. Computing your Tithe
A. When you tithe, give generously. There are several ways to determine what you should give.
1. The choicest of the first fruits of your ground you shall bring into the house of the LORD your God. Exodus 23:19.
2. For example: Some people set aside a percentage of their income… others give by proportion –$2 or $3 per week for every $1000 of annual income.
3. If you start at less then 10%, try to increase your giving as your income grows, until you reach 10% or more.
X. How your Tithe is Used.
A. It helps the church meet basic needs.
1. Tithing is necessary.
a. Every church has fixed expenses which must be met every month: building maintenance, utilities, salaries, etc. Through tithing, the church can meet its practical responsibilities with putting a burden on just a few members.
2. Tithing is reliable.
a. Tithing provides a regular, predictable source of funding. This reduces the need for constant fundraising activities and frees time and energy for other responsibilities of Christian life.
B. It helps the church reach out to people everywhere.
1. Proclaiming the gospel.
a. Many of the world’s people have not had the chance to learn about Christ. The Church uses tithing funds to help reach out to those people and strives to unite all nations in the peace of Jesus Christ. Tithes help to support missions, Christian publications, etc.
2. Helping those in need.
a. Your tithe supports the Church’s worldwide efforts to combat disease, ignorance and poverty. Programs at home and abroad include: funding hospitals and schools, providing information services, and participating in wide variety of civic and charitable activities.
XI. The Rewards of Tithing
1. Joy, Tithing is a concrete way to acknowledge God’s presence in our lives. Serving, in response to God’s grace and generosity, brings a happiness that cannot be achieved through more self-centered activities.
2. Awareness, Tithing is a way of sharing concern for others throughout the world. As we become more sensitive to others’ needs, we grow closer to God.
3. Fulfillment, People who tithe regularly strengthen the sincerity of their commitment to Christ. Tithing itself becomes deeply satisfying, a way to follow Christ.
XII. Make Tithing Part of Your Life in Christ.
A. It’s an important way to:
1. Express your gratitude to God for the gifts and blessings you have received.
2. Renew your faith and grow closer to Christ.
3. Help your church remain strong and fulfill its mission.
4. Give with a loving, generous heart.
“The measure you give will be the measure you get back.” Luke 6:38.
(The above material was published by A Scriptographic Booklet, South Deerfield, MA.)
Christian Information Network