Finances are one of those areas of our lives we consider very personal. Jesus taught that what you spent your money on was an accurate indicator of what you care about.
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21)
As His followers, we believe that our finances are an important way to show that God has first place in our hearts. Giving to Jesus is easy because we know He looks out for us, provides for our every need, and cares for us deeply.
“Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.” (Proverbs 3:9-10)
Time and time again in the Bible, we are called upon as God’s people to honor God. This means that we give Him a rightful first priority in our lives. This passage in Proverbs teaches that honoring God includes giving to him the firstfruits of all the financial increase. Firstfruits is a Bible word meaning, “off the top.” We believe our offerings should be presented to God by faith, before our other expenditures.
Let’s start with the basics. Simply put, the tithe is the first 10% of your income that should be given to your local church. It’s strictly measured in money, so you can’t replace it with giving your time or your talents.
“Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 3:8-11)
The concept of the tithe is taught throughout scripture, but no verse uses plainer language than this one. We believe that giving to God a portion of your income first invites His blessing in your finances. What a thought that God challenges us to test His promise of provision through giving.
“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” (Luke 6:38)
Though the measure of the tithe is an Old Testament concept, nowhere in the New Testament is the tithe commanded to be stopped. It is also biblically correct to acknowledge that in the New Testament the tithe is never commanded to continue. The New Testament does talk frequently about the importance and benefits of giving. We are to give as we are able. Often that means giving more than 10 percent; other times that may mean giving less. Every Christian should diligently pray and seek God’s wisdom in the matter of participating in tithing and/or how much to give (James 1:5). Above all, all tithes and offerings should be given cheerfully and with pure motives to God and service to the body of Christ.
A tithe is an amount (a percentage of your income) and an offering is anything given beyond that, but not in place of the tithe.
After you’ve tithed, you can give in other ways: Giving a cash offering to your church above and beyond the tithe, giving money to a charity you support, giving to a friend or neighbor in need, or giving of your time or talents. Not only does giving of your money or other resources generate good in the lives of others, it also generates contentment in your heart.
“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)
The tithe was not put into place for God’s benefit—He already has everything He needs. He doesn’t need our money! (And “our” money is already His anyway.)
Tithing is an act of obedience and should be given freely with pure motives. In other words, we give without expecting anything back in return. This teaches us to be good stewards (managers) of what God has given us.
Tithing was created for our benefit. It teaches us how to keep God first in our lives and how to live unselfishly. Unselfish people make better spouses, friends, relatives, employees and employers. And they usually have better finances. God is trying to teach us how to prosper over time.
Did you know that 89% of the people in a typical American congregation don’t have a financial safety net? FPU is a nine-lesson course taught by Dave Ramsey and his team of financial experts. With FPU, our members will learn step by step how to handle money using biblical wisdom and common sense.
Through life-changing videos, online tools and resources, and group accountability, our church members will learn how to create and stick to a budget, save for emergencies, pay off debt, and plan for the future. Just imagine the impact we could have on the community if we were all debt-free! Marriages and families would be strengthened. People would be freed up to be outrageously generous. This kind of hope will ignite change in our entire community!
Sometimes, the best thing you can do when under financial stress is to ask for help. If you are open to getting help forming a basic financial plan and learning more about how God wants you to handle money then we want to help you. Schedule a financial health counseling meeting with a pastor today!