How much do you tithe? When do you tithe? Many people give the 10% of their income as a tithe, but is that really a tithe or does it fall into another category such as a charitable donation? What is a tithe versus an offering, first fruits, or charity? Let’s clarify the categories of giving. The following scripture (emphasis added) shows us that there are truly many ways to give to God.
Deuteronomy 12:6 (KJV 1900)
6 And thither ye shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and heave offerings of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and of your flocks:
Before we get into defining differences, it is important to understand that tithing is not optional. Tithing is obedience to God and recognizing that everything we have is from Him. The tithe is in recognition and the 10 percent is God’s. When we fail to tithe we fail to recognize God and acknowledge that 100 percent of what we have is His. All He asks, though, is for us to give Him 10 percent and we get to keep 90 percent!
Leviticus 27:30 (KJV 1900)
30 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s: it is holy unto the Lord.
Malachi 3:8 (KJV 1900)
8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me.
But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee?
In tithes and offerings.
Many times we will say that we don’t have “enough” money to tithe. But tithing isn’t something that we do when we have “enough.” It is what we do first. When we are living paycheck to paycheck, we are loaded down with the worry of not having “enough.” The reality is that when we worry about where the money will come from and whether we can afford to tithe, it is then that we most need to tithe. Tithing is part of the process of relying on God for all that we need.
My personal experience is that I have more when I tithe. This year I changed my tithing. I now tithe 10 percent of the gross amount of money that I make in my business. I take that 10 percent to God on the Sunday after I receive it. If things are tight in the business in a particular week or month, I still tithe the full amount. I have found that the 90 percent that remains goes much further. Perhaps it is that knowing I will have 90 percent to spend it pushes me to make wiser decisions on how funds are spent. While that practical change helps, each week that follows the tithe has resulted in more business. Clients that I haven’t heard from in months or years call or e-mail with a project they need taken care of. New clients come in from unexpected sources.
This year I did something for the first time with a full understanding of the difference between tithing and other types of offerings. This year I gave a full first fruits offering from a new project; the entire first funds (first fruit) went to an organization spreading the gospel around the world. With the new clients, I have shared the fruits of new client projects and I also planted some seeds giving funds beyond what is required as obedience (tithe and first fruits).
In the economy we have been experiencing and all the uncertainty that results from government and world events, stepping up to go beyond being obedient to giving to recognize God’s providence and blessings has taken my faith to a higher level. I am relying on God to take care of tomorrow. I am not putting my trust in Him, not in my bank balance or my ability to get new clients. The more I give, the more I receive in security, faith, and my relationship with Him. He in turn has provided more than I could imagine in both my personal life and business.
What we give to God is not charity. Charity is giving to those in need. Be clear that 10 percent goes to God it is His. What we give to charity, to the needy, to the poor, to the less fortunate is not part of that 10 percent. Charity is what we give over and above tithing. Charity is the manifestation of love for one another. Providing for those in need is demonstrating love.
Luke 11:41 (NASB95)
41 But give that which is within as charity, and then all things are clean for you.
If you are struggling financially in your business and/or personally, then take it to God. Reach out to Him and acknowledge all that He can do. Begin tithing 10 percent of what you receive. Talk with God about whether you should tithe off of your sales, salary, or net receipts. Each of us needs to be obedient and submit to God with a willing heart to give to Him what is His. Make a plan to tithe and to manage your 90 percent better than you ever have.
Author: Lea A. Strickland, MBA CMA CFM CBM GMC
Copyright ©2012 Lea A. Strickland
All Rights Reserved