Tithes and Offerings
by Wally Montgomery
The word tithes means “tenth”. God instituted tithing in the Old Testament of the Bible by requiring an obligatory offering by the Israelites to give one tenth of their first fruits. Because God had provided the harvest, the tenth was required to show God thankfulness and to provide for the Levites, festivals and the needy. Many Biblical scholars disagree on whether the tithe instituted in the Old Testament of the Bible is still required today. I will not get into this debate here, but I will say that my study of scripture and the leading of the Holy Spirit has convinced me to believe that the tithe is still applicable for today.
Offerings, on the other hand, are not based upon any obligation, but are a response of ours to God for his goodness to us. Proverbs 11:24 says, “One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholding unduly, but comes to poverty.” Everything we possess is God’s, and we are just stewards of these possessions while we are on this earth. Therefore, offerings are just giving back a portion of the great abundance above the tithe which God has given us.
As citizens of the United States, we have been blessed with more possessions than any other group of people in the history of the world. To be poor in the United States would be rich in most other areas of the world. And yet, according to research, ”Christians” only give on average 2.5% of their income to their local church. Also, giving as a percentage of income decreases as income goes up (which seems logically backwards). One would think as a Christian’s income increases, giving out of thankfulness and ability would be the natural response. Today, our culture seems to put such an emphasis on maintaining a certain standard of living, that we choose to invest in this lifestyle rather than invest in eternal things and are denying ourselves great blessings from God. Malachi 3:8 says, “Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, “In what way have we robbed You?” In tithes and offerings.”
There was a time in my life when budget constraints made me feel that I could not afford to give tithes and offerings. I did not always choose to give as I knew I should. At some point in my life, I was convicted of this, and committed to give. As my income rose and it was easier to give, I realized that I was not truly giving sacrificially from my heart and was definitely not a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 says,” But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” Acts 20:35 Jesus said “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” God has blessed me by opening my eyes to this truth and I pray that I will be obedient to Him for the rest of my life on this earth.
God has given us the opportunity and charge to invest in our future with our finances while we are on this earth. Luke 12:33-34 says, “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Let us all examine ourselves and determine if we are giving sacrificially from a grateful heart. If we are not, we are missing out on earthly and heavenly blessings according to Gods Word. Let’s all think about that.