About Tithing


Tom Baughman

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”.
Genesis 28:22

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.)

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