We have all heard that the Bible asks us to give first fruits to God, and often we’re called by our churches to tithe. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, tithing often asks that you give 10% of your income to the church. But what about other giving? Is 10% the same for everyone no matter what their financial situation? Is it mandatory?
These are important questions to ask yourself and to pray about.
We know that the Lord loves a cheerful giver and that faith without works is dead. So while it’s important to support your home church and to give to those in need, it’s also important to be responsible with your money–for example, it would be difficult to imagine Jesus asking someone to force their children to go hungry and tithe instead.
What Does the Bible Actually Say about Tithing?
Most references to tithing actually come from the Old Testament. The following verses specifically referencing giving 10% of an income or property to God:
Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the Lord’s; it is holy to the Lord. – Leviticus 27:30
Moreover, you shall speak and say to the Levites, ‘When you take from the people of Israel the tithe that I have given you from them for your inheritance, then you shall present a contribution from it to the Lord, a tithe of the tithe. – Numbers 18:26
And if the way is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, when the Lord your God blesses you, because the place is too far from you, which the Lord your God chooses, to set his name there… – Deuteronomy 14:24
As soon as the command was spread abroad, the people of Israel gave in abundance the first fruits of grain, wine, oil, honey, and of all the produce of the field. And they brought in abundantly the tithe of everything. – 2 Chronicles 31:5
However, the New Testament does not discuss tithing directly. Rather, Jesus and the authors of the New Testament books focus on giving from the heart, more than a mandatory number.
So Should I Be Tithing?
The answer is that you need to pray about it. You shouldn’t be giving to the church and those in need out of guilt or a false promise that if you invest in the church somehow God favor you. You are judged on your faith alone. However, it is important to be generous and giving as Christ has been to us. If you’re very concerned about this answer, speak with a Christian financial advisor who is not affiliated with your church and let him or her guide you in this conversation.