Giving to the local church is often a taboo subject. Many times it’s taught that it is wrong to mention finances, needs or how much giving is going on. Another bone of contention is often how much someone should give to the Lord. Some say whatever amount is fine and others stipulate tithing (10%) as a rule of thumb.
In this panel, a few from the assemblyHUB team weigh in on their thoughts concerning giving financially to the Lord.
When giving financially, I believe the most important thing is to give regularly, rather than to give a specific amount. Determine how often you plan to give, whether it be once a month, twice a month, every week, or another time frame, and stick to it. When the time comes to give, give whatever you can, whether it be more or less than planned. Giving faithfully is more important than the amount we give.
Although giving faithfully is more important, I do think we should still try to determine an amount to give and do our best to consistently give that amount. Perhaps the most well known Scripture on giving, 2 Corinthians 9:7, tells us to give as we have decided in our heart. In order to determine an amount, prayerfully seek the Lord’s guidance, and give as He provides. The Lord will use any amount His people give, whether large or small.
An important consideration when giving is where we should give our money to. There are ministries, charities, camps, individuals, and of course our local church who depend on the Lord’s people for financial support. My personal belief is that the local church should be the first priority in giving; however, we should still seek the Lord’s leading for where we should give. Although I think faithful giving to our church should be a priority, I do not mean we should only give to our church.
It is important for believers to follow the Lord’s leading in giving to other organizations as well. My young life has been incredibly blessed by camps, ministries, schools, local churches, and individuals who are supported by the Lord’s grace and the generosity of His people. The Lord answers the needs of His people by leading others to give; therefore, prayerful consideration when giving is important.
I was raised in a Christian family and the principle of regular giving to the Lord was clearly impressed on me. I remember seeing my parents putting gifts in the offering bag. I remember hearing my parents discuss where and to whom they should give.
The term ‘tithing’ is used in two distinctly different ways. Some use the word in a generic sense to simply express the general idea of giving to the Lord. Others use ‘tithing’ to mean giving 10% of one’s income to the Lord.
The difference in the two meanings is significant. If I were to say, “I do not believe in tithing” those who use tithing in a generic sense would interpret my statement to mean “I do not believe in giving to the Lord at all.” Whereas the second group would not necessarily think I do not believe in giving at all, but rather I believe that giving less than 10% is acceptable.
Therefore, when we hear someone use the word ‘tithing’ we must be careful to understand in what sense they are using the term. Likewise, when we use the term ‘tithing’ we should be careful to convey what we mean.
If the term is used in the generic sense of giving to the Lord then I’m in all favor tithing. Of course, we as believers should be regularly giving to the Lord. If, however, the term is used to mean believers must give 10% of their income to the Lord then I am not in favor of using the term.
Today, we are under grace… we are not under the law. We should not give because we must give, rather the motivation for our giving should be love. As 2 Corinthians 9:7 says “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV
‘Tithe’ (Heb. ma’aser) refers primarily to the presentation of a tenth of one’s goods to YHWH as a tribute of thanks for His blessing. Tithing predates the Mosaic law and actually goes back to Abraham’s tithe to Melchizedek. But does tithing still apply to us (those who live in the church age)?
Tithing is part of a legal system; therefore, it does not and cannot apply to a Christian under grace. Tithing was compulsory and as we know grace never compels. Grace has abolished the law. If a believer in this dispensation feels obligated to tithe they should also keep every other feature of the Mosaic law. He should observe Saturday as a day of rest, he should be offering sacrifices at the appropriate time and place, he should not defile himself with certain foods, if a male he MUST be circumcised.
To do less than this, if his tithe is to be accepted, is openly disobeying the law. Does this mean we do not give? Certainly not! We are not under the Mosaic law but we are under the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2). In order to determine how we should give we need to understand what Christ expects. In His teachings I find that He expects us to give 100%, not just 10%.
When the rich young ruler approached Christ about receiving eternal life Christ told him to sell ALL that he has and give it to the poor. But he walked away sorrowful because he had a lot of material possessions. Then there was the widow who put two mites in the offering. Christ was watching many rich people put in a lot of money, but he knew they weren’t giving anything.
Then the widow puts in two mites and Christ calls the disciples over to tell them, “this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance…” God is not looking for a specific amount, He is looking for it all.