A Word on Giving

A thoughtful question from a reader on my Finance Friday post prompted me to write this post today.  I felt that his question might be stirring in others.

In our home we follow the teaching that tithing is to take 10-percent off the top of our income and return it to the Lord.  But why? This is such a valid question.  I think this is something each person needs to seek out for themselves, or each couple needs to seek out.

To blindly give and not understand why you are giving robs you of the wisdom and truth the Lord wants you to have.

More so, it robs God of the praise he deserves for His ways.  If His ways are higher than ours, we should seek to fully understand as much as our finite minds can, the ways of the Lord.  If He wanted us to blindly do whatever he commanded he wouldn’t have given us free will.   That is the beauty of our Heavenly Father.  He loves us, He wants us to follow his leading but He wants us to do it because we sincerely want to, not out of obligation or because He made us do it.

Why 10%

The Hebrew word translated to tithe is asar which means ten. Ma’asr means tenth part or tithe.  This is why many follow the 10% guideline when giving.

When I start taking my offering seriously my husband was not on board with giving “that much” to the church.  So since I felt convicted I to increase I began to tithe on my income alone.

 Giving doesn’t just stop at 10% though.  The tithe should be your goal if you are not giving or are giving less but you also should not stop at 10% and feel that’s all you need to give.

This is a decision that you (or you and your spouse) need to make.  We have begun to increase our giving each year when we get a raise.

  

Ok, but why do I give off my gross pay and not my net pay (Or) Why give before taxes, why not after taxes?

Our reasons for tithing on our gross pay are this:

In biblical times when the Lord called for a sacrifice an unblemished (clean) animal was chosen.  The bible also says in Exodus 13:2 and 13:12 that the first-born was to be sacrificed.

By sacrificing the clean, the unclean was made righteous and was redeemed.  (In comparison to us and Jesus – Jesus, clean & spotless, was sacrificed to redeem us, the unclean.)

Exodus 23:19 says “The best of the first fruits of your ground you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God. We give back to God the first fruits of what He has given us.  In Proverbs 3 verse 9 we see “Honor the Lord with your wealth and the first of all your produce.”

While we no longer take grain offerings or animal offerings to the Lord we do take a check or cash to the offering plate. I believe that we honor God by bringing him the first of our wealth.

Simply stated, God over government.

In today’s society our paycheck is taxed before we see one cent of our money so I can see why people choose to give based on their gross earnings. I feel if God gave me a job at $10.00 an hour and I work 40 hours God has blessed me with $400.00.  I want to give back to him based on what He gave me not on what is left after the government has their fair share.

Only God has the authority and ability to bless our finances and multiply them.  The mortgage company doesn’t, neither does your credit card. And the government certainly does not have that ability (though they do think they have the authority.)

When we really started to budget our money I began to write out our tithe check before I would even look at our bills.  Why? Not because of an obligation but as my personal way of saying “God, this is your money and before I do anything else with it I am committing this portion back to you.” For me it was a matter of the heart.

Additionally, this is the only subject, to my knowledge that the Lord tells us to test him on.  Malichi 3:10 reads “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” He wants to pour out abundant blessings on us but we must acknowledge that it is all His to begin with and take back to Him His portion.

Until Next Time,

Be Blessed

 

A word on comments: This can be a hot button issue.  I encourage your comments but I demand respect, love and kindness.  You may disagree with me or what someone else may post which is ok.  Disagree in love.  Disrespectful comments or comments with cursing will be deleted.  

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2 responses to “A Word on Giving

  1. I read Henry’s question and it truly was a good question I might add but I don’t think you’ve answered it with this post.

    You have tried to string different scriptures together to come up with an answer but that only raises more questions. You are right in defining the original Hebrew word as “ma’aser” which correctly means tenth and that this is gotten from the Hebrew word “asher”. But unfortunately the bible never equates this to 10% as both tenth and 10% mean 2 different things.

    It is like this; the bible clearly states that the tithe was only to be paid on agricultural products hence the concept of the tenth and not 10%. The tithe of animals was determined by grouping the animals in tens and separating the “TENTH” one as the tithe. So if for instance a farmer had 29 sheep, he will count the first ten and separate the tenth one as his tithe, then count the next ten and separate the next “TENTH” as his tithe. However, he could not tithe on the remaining 9 because there was no tenth. In other words the tithe on 29 sheep is 2. But if this so-called 10% rule was correct, how then would this farmer determine 10% of 29 sheep?

    Furthermore, nowhere in scripture are we told to tithe money; it is virtually impossible to do this even though money was available at the time the tithe was instituted and even before this time. Joseph was sold for money and his brothers went with money to Egypt to buy food. Money was only ever associated with the tithe on 2 occasions; 1. In the event a farmer decided to buy back his tithe of agricultural produce – God commanded that he gave the monetary value of the tithe plus 20% of this value. This scripture would seem silly if one could tithe money. 2. For the tithing feast – for those who lived far away from the venue, God commanded that they convert their tithes into money and spend the money on anything they liked. Again this will look silly if money could be tithed.

    The Old Testament offerings all served some form of redemptive purpose and the sacrifice of Jesus spelt an end to all these numerous offerings.

    I too struggle to see where you sourced your tithing guidelines as they are clearly not in scripture. The only thing we are told about giving is in 2 Cor 9 where Paul states expressly that anything given as long as it has been given willingly and cheerfully is acceptable. No “10%” gross or net is commanded.

    God bless.

  2. Danielle,
    Thanks for your atttempts at clarification but what I found from your post is a lot of personal sentiments rather than what is gleaned from scriptures. If you purpose in your heart to give 10% of your income back to your church, this is fine. I mean you have said more than once that this is what you have personally chosen to do rather than out of obligation so there is no question of anyone disagreeing with you on what you personally choose to do. Where disagreement comes in is where you imply that what you stated in your previous post is a definition of the tithe from the Bible.

    Please note that Mal 3:10 was not an injunction to the church but rather to people of ancient Israel. In this age of the church we are called to live by faith. Testing God is not an act of faith but rather faith demands that you obey without question or without evidence of the rewards that your actions deserve. We are not under legalism anymore and so God does not define 10% of our income as His. This teaching is not supported anywhere in the New Testament nor in the Old Testament for that matter.

    God Bless

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