Why Do We Give?
Giving is one of the central themes in the Bible. John 3:16 tells us that God so loved the world that God gave the most valuable and precious gift possible, Jesus.
The number one reason we give is not to support a church budget, but out of gratitude to God for Jesus and for all our blessings.
In his ministry Jesus talked more about money, wealth, and managing resources more than Heaven, Hell, or prayer. When we commit to following Jesus, we are also committing to a path of generous giving.
Tithing is More Than Giving
The word "tithe" literally means tenth or 10%. Tithing, or giving ten percent of your income, isn't merely giving something to God. It's giving back what was his to begin with. All that we have, or hope to have, comes from him. The Bible says that tithing is a reminder that God is the supplier of everything. It teaches us to always put God first in our lives.
What the Bible says about Tithing
Many Christians struggle with the issue of tithing. In some churches giving is over-emphasized. At the same time, many Christians refuse to submit to the biblical exhortations about making offerings to the Lord. Tithing/giving is intended to be a joy and a blessing. Sadly, that is sometimes not the case in the church today.
Tithing is an Old Testament concept. The tithe was a requirement of the Law in which the Israelites were to give 10 percent of the crops they grew and the livestock they raised to the tabernacle/temple (Leviticus 27:30; Numbers 18:26; Deuteronomy 14:24; 2 Chronicles 31:5). In fact, the Old Testament Law required multiple tithes—one for the Levites, one for the use of the temple and the feasts, and one for the poor of the land—which would have pushed the total to around 23.3 percent. Some understand the Old Testament tithe as a method of taxation to provide for the needs of the priests and Levites in the sacrificial system.
The New Testament nowhere commands, or even recommends, that Christians submit to a legalistic tithe system. The New Testament nowhere designates a percentage of income a person should set aside, but only says gifts should be “in keeping with income” (1 Corinthians 16:2). Some in the Christian church have taken the 10 percent figure from the Old Testament tithe and applied it as a “recommended minimum” for Christians in their giving.
The New Testament talks about the importance and benefits of giving. We are to give as we are able. Sometimes that means giving more than 10 percent; sometimes that may mean giving less. It all depends on the ability of the Christian and the needs of the church. 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 with pure motives and an attitude of worship to God and service to the body of Christ. “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).
Know Giving, Know Life
Giving is the antidote for materialism. The Bible says that by giving generously, we’re able to “take hold of the life that is truly life” (1 Timothy 6:18,19). We live more freely when we’re not tied to all our clutter and “stuff” and when we’re living simply and giving freely and cheerfully.
An Eternal Investment
Even when the stock market’s down, you can make an investment that pays dividends for a lifetime and beyond. By investing in the life-changing message of Jesus, you can leverage your money for eternal purposes. (I Timothy 6:7). All that we can take with us is that which we have given away.