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.
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,
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.