Why We Tithe

1.08.2015


Writing a post on the topic of tithing is something that's been on my heart for about two years now, and I've started and stopped a draft of this post numerous times. It's a hard topic to write on for many reasons, but mostly because this post could easily come off as bragging about how awesome of a Christian I am because I tithe. So hear me with I tell you: that is not my goal.

I want to post on this topic for two reasons:

1) I hope to encourage those of you who are believers who are not currently tithing.  I want to share my story and tell you how consistent tithing has changed the way I view my finances and been a huge blessing to me.

2) For those of you who aren't Christians, I want to try to explain, as best I know how, what this crazy thing called tithing is and why we do it.

*Before I start, I want to define tithing as I'm using it in this post: Jordan and I tithe 10% of our gross income every month to our church. However, there is no biblical mandate in the New Testament for 10%. You need to give what you feel led to, whether that's 2% or 20%. The word "tithe" technically does mean a tenth, but when I use it in this post, I just mean setting aside a specific percentage each month to give back to the Lord.

// MY TITHING JOURNEY //

I never tithed consistently until I married Jordan. When I was younger, even through college, my idea of tithing was throwing $20 in the offering plate every month or so. I knew Jesus taught about giving a percentage back to God. He said our money isn't ours, and we need have open hands. I knew it, but I didn't want to practice it.

When we got married, Jordan was clear on the fact that we were going to tithe 10% of our income to the church. He had been doing it for a while, and I was going to start.

Writing that first check was hard.

To be completely honest: I didn't want to do it. I thought about all the things we could do with that money, how much faster we could save for a house, how many more vacations we could go on, how many more times I could go to Chipotle for a delicious burrito.

Writing the second month's check wasn't any easier.

"But it's my money," I grumbled to myself as I scribbled my signature on bottom of the check. "I earned it. I need it."

I knew I needed to change my attitude, but I didn't know how, so I started praying that tithing would become a joy. Every month when I wrote the check, I prayed that tithing would be something I took pleasure in instead of something I secretly begrudged. I shared my struggles with Jordan and told him that as much as I wanted to want to tithe, I just didn't.


// WHAT TITHING HAS TAUGHT ME //

It's now been almost four years that we've been married, which means almost four years of monthly tithing. I'm a sinner saved by grace, but until Jesus comes back to get me, I'm still human and I'm still a sinner. So I don't know if I will ever completely silence the part of me that whispers, "Think of all the things you could have done with that money. Think of the money you could have saved."

But I want you to know how much of a blessing tithing is to me.

Tithing has taught me to be generous. 

If you're not used to giving money away, even the littlest bit seems like a lot. But if you're used to giving money away, you see how much more you have to give. I had wanted to go on a missions trip for a while, but I always said no because I didn't think I had enough money to pay for it. It wasn't cheap for Jordan and I to go to Nicaragua this past summer, but I think the past three years of monthly tithing have been opening my heart slowly to the idea of being more generous with the money I have to offer, and I was more ready to say yes even though the financial aspect still made me nervous.

Tithing has taught me to be thankful.

The only reason I have money to give is because God gave it to me in the first place. When I tithe, I am only giving back to him what he gave me. In that way, tithing has taught me to be thankful. I look at the number of dollars on the check, and instead of seeing the number of dollars I'm giving away, I see one tenth of the money I have. And I realize I am blessed.

Tithing has taught me that God will provide.

When I first started doing it, tithing felt scary and impossible, but God has continued to provide for us. Last year I was out of a full-time job for 8 months. We continued to tithe during that time, although the check was obviously a lower amount. It was scary and stressful to have a lowered monthly income, but only for one month did we go negative in our balance, and we were able to make it up the following month. In other circumstances I see how God provides and is faithful to us.


// WHY WE TITHE //

The idea of bringing God your "first fruits" goes all the way back to the beginning, Genesis, the very first book of the Bible.

Genesis 4:2-4a
"Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel [his brother] also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portion."

Then see what happened after they brought their offerings to God:

Genesis 4:4b-7
"And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The Lord said to Cain, 'Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it."

After this, as many of you know, Cain becomes angry and kills his brother Abel.

This is by no means a full theological explanation of tithing. However, this is something I've been thinking about lately. Why did God not have regard for Cain's offering? Just like anything else God will ever call us to do, this goes back to a heart issue. 

Abel was willing to bring God his firstborn, his best offering. Cain brought an offering, but it wasn't his best. I feel like this is like me throwing $20 in the offering plate every few months. Yes, I'm bringing God an offering, but it's nowhere near my best.

I believe God didn't care as much about what Cain brought or how much as he did about Cain's heart. And as we see in the verses after this, Cain's heart is filled with anger to the point that he murders his brother. His offering being less than his best was an indication of a deeper issue: that of a prideful and evil heart.

So, again, why do we tithe? Is it some old-fashioned religious rule? Is it so God can make us unhappy? Is it so God will love us more than someone who doesn't tithe?

No, no, and no. We tithe because by nature as humans our hearts are wicked and evil and full of anger. By offering God our first percentage, we have the chance to practice being selfless, being generous, and being thankful. 

Remember what God said in verse 7: "Sin is crouching at the door, but you must rule over it." In the same way, sin is crouching at the door of our hearts. It's that voice that whispers, "It's mine. I earned it. I need it." Through tithing, we tell that voice to be quiet. We give back to God what is his, and we demonstrate a righteous, willing heart.

I encourage you, if you're a believer in Christ, to pray about setting aside a monthly percentage if you aren't already. It really has blessed me, and I'm thankful to have married a man who was already doing it and was committed to doing it together. 

If you have any questions about anything I wrote about in this post, feel free to leave a comment or email me. I certainly don't know everything there is to know about tithing or the Bible, but I'd love to chat with you!

Matthew 6:21 
"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
* * * 

 Thoughts on this post?
Do you tithe? Why or why not?

41 comments:

  1. We do not tithe, mostly because we don't have a "home" church. But that is probably a poor excuse. I do try to be generous in other areas of my life though, because I do believe that God has truly blessed us with what we have. I am continually thankful to Him for our jobs and way of living. When we visit the in-law's church, we usually put a $20 in. I donate a small amount of my paycheck to the United Way and sit on their board, and we adopt a child every year at Christmas. But these things seem so little! I am sure this is an area of our lives that we could be much better at. Your post has really got me thinking!

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    1. I definitely think having a home church is a big motivator, because we know where and how our money is being used. Our pastor did a sermon on tithing one week (we were doing a big "evangelism" week at church promoting missions, giving, etc.), and he listed all the different ways our tithes are used--missionaries local and around the world, church plants, and supporting church members who go on mission trips. It really made me feel thankful and blessed to be able to give money to those great organizations. It would be much harder to feel like I was giving a large check to a church I didn't have a real connection with.

      I think the craziest thing about consistently writing a check to the church every month is how much MORE generous I feel about giving, even though I feel like we already give so much. I didn't expect it, but it actually showed me that we can afford to give and still have more than we need. Of course, like I mentioned, there's nothing special about 10%, and everyone should pray and decide for their own family/themselves what they can do and what they want to support. But I was reading on Dave Ramsey's site about giving, and he made what I thought was a pretty good point: if you can't live on 90% of your income, you won't be able to live on 100% either, which I took to just mean that we will always want more, so why not try to live on less?

      Anyway, sorry for blabbering on! I appreciate you sharing and reading this post. I was nervous about publishing it, but it's been something I've been thinking about writing on for seriously like 2 years now, so I'm glad I finally did.

      I hope you guys can find a home church! It's one of the things I'm most thankful for in our day-to-day life here in OK :)

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    2. We are big fans of Dave Ramsey! His comment makes total sense. I have quite often commented to my husband when we do donate money to something, or at Christmas when we adopt an Angel Tree Child, that I rarely even notice the missing money. So that really says something, right?

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  2. This was a very well timed post for me to read. My husband is set on tithing, whereas I'm where you were four years ago. We do tithe a portion to a missionary couple we know, however I REALLY struggle with that. I think a part of it is knowing them as friends, and the blurring lines of the relationship we have. I have a HARD TIME. A really hard time. It's nice to know that I'm not alone in the struggle. :)

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    1. Oh no, girl, you are definitely not alone. The struggle is real, but it's been such a huge blessing at the same time, and in a weird way I feel even more generous than I used to be even though I already feel like we give so much.

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  3. Totally a hot topic... I do love that this is the one thing that God tells us to test him on

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  4. Great post! I do tithe, but I did not always feel as strongly about it as I have for the past few years. I used to begrudingly give when I was younger, but over the years I have found so much more peace in giving. There were many tough months (particularly when I first moved to NYC) were I had no idea how I would make ends meet, but God always provided. Always. I haven't forgotten those days. It's all ultimately God's money anyway, right? He just entrusts us to be good stewards of it in the time we spend here on Earth.

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    1. It IS God's money. Tithing has really helped me realize this in a way I hadn't before. I'm not "losing" anything, because I wouldn't have had it in the first place if he hadn't given it to me to begin with. Thanks for reading and for your comment :) It can be very hard to keep giving when you feel like you don't have enough but God does always provide.

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  5. This is absolutely spot on. Caleb and I also tithe 10% and it feels incredible. I'll be the first to admit, it used to be really hard to write those checks or take that cash out of the bank, but somehow God always provides and it's in more ways than I could imagine. I'm thankful for your honesty throughout this post...it speaks to me! :)

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    1. I used to have a really hard time tithing every month. It felt like an insane amount of money. But in the weirdest way it's actually made me MORE generous about giving to people or, like I said in the post, actually going on a missions trip myself. Funny how that works :) Thanks for the comment!

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  6. This was the best writing on tithe that I've read. I especially liked what you wrote about Cain. The fact that his offering wasn't appreciated always bothered me, but considering it as a throwaway gift from an angry heart really changes my perspective and makes me think about how I want my giving to be.

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  7. I’m so glad you wrote this! When my husband and I got married a year and a half ago we decided that we were going to tithe. We both would tithe here and there before we got married but we really set it as a goal that we tithe every week. It is a struggle because at times you feel like I don’t really have the money or I really need those shoes. I really enjoy writing out that tithe check and I always try and have faith, that if it is a tight week, he will provide what we need.

    My husband lost his job and we were living on my income and he was making almost three times what I was making but some how we made it. We always had money to put gas in the car, to buy groceries and to pay our bills. It was tight and there was no wiggle room but we got by. We kept tithing but as you said it wasn’t nearly what it had been before.

    Another time when he was out of work, we had to haul some calves to the sale and I was like we don’t really have the extra money. Our truck is an older truck and has two gas tanks on it. I know for a fact when I got out of the truck the last time that both tanks were less than a quarter and he needed almost a full tank to get to the sale. He cranked the truck up and there was over 3/4 the way full. I don’t know where it came from or how it got there but he had just enough to get to the sale and get home.

    I’m not trying to share these stories to brag, but God will ALWAYS provide what you need if you are faithful to him and realize that the money that you have is really his that he has blessed you with and he is just asking for a small portion in return.

    Thank you for writing this, it really made my day.

    Sarah @ Laze L Farm

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  8. This is definitely something we could be better about. We typically put $5-$10 in the collection basket every week (more if we miss a week or visit another church), but I've never thought about it in terms of our overall income. Your generosity is inspiring! This reminds me of a quote I saw recently (I believe it was attributed to Anne Frank):

    "No one has ever become poor by giving."

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  9. I don't tithe because I don't belong to a church, however I give of my money often. Doing Random Acts of Kindness, to local charities and food to the food pantry. I know as kids we gave a total in the tin every week at church even when I am sure my Dad really could have used that money for food. It think it really does open your heart when you give to others, and we can always do with less than we think.

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  10. This post is spot on and I applaud you for your courage in writing it. I too have wanted to write about tithing and it's definitely one of those kind of scary topics that can be hard to go about- and I think you did a great job.

    In our marriage it was actually the reverse- I had been tithing since college and Alex hadn't so he was the one that jumped on board when we got married. In college I REALLY struggled with tithing- I obviously didn't make much and giving ten or twenty dollars felt huge to me. I was thankful that I was a part of a church who called their offering time "joy time". I rarely felt joyful but I prayed that the Lord would change my heart in this and He has since answered. He showed me in huge ways that by entrusting him with my money that he will provide. I got several scholarships the latter part of college that allowed me to graduate debt free when I otherwise probably wouldn't have. I believe trusting God with my tithe was a huge part of why those scholarships happened. I know that I don't give just to get (that's probably the mentality/belief that I still struggle with the most), but I do believe that the Lord will always always always honor generosity because I've seen it time and time again in my life.

    Something else that we do that many others may not think about is that we give tithe money to a couple different places. A very large percentage goes to our church, but a large portion of it we give to a couple different organizations that are near and dear to our hearts. I guess I don't even know if this has a Biblical basis or not but my family spread their tithe among their church and a few other organizations that were being Jesus to the world so I grew up wanting to do that as well.

    One thing that has challenged me recently is trusting God in giving more than our tithe amount. In about the middle of December Alex and I sat down and realized that we had given our full tithe for the month (and some leftover from the previous months), and still had a couple of organizations we felt like we wanted to give to. It was weird because we were bummed that we didn't have any money "left", but then I realized that there was nothing wrong in giving more than our "tithe amount". THAT was honestly as scary as tithing was when I first started because I immediately starting thinking about all the things we "needed" that extra money for.

    We're not perfect at tithing and I still have those little thoughts about what I could buy with this money creep into my mind every so often. But God has shown His faithfulness through tithing so many times that it's gotten easier and easier. He has certainly done a work in my heart changing my attitude towards it and I pray He continues working on my attitude because it is far from where it needs to be!

    Thank you again for writing a post that really covered the subject well and explained the topic in a humble and genuine way. :) Also, that Dave Ramsey quote that you mentioned in a comment above is pretty awesome and so true, glad I saw it! :)

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    1. Wow. Thanks for such a thoughtful comment! I really enjoyed reading your thoughts. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who struggled with tithing. It can be difficult to change your mind-set about where the money is coming from and what you "need" it for. Our church does a good job being clear about the fact that tithing is supposed to be something we do joyfully, and our pastor makes a point to say that visitors or nonmembers are not obligated or even encouraged to give any money.

      I would be fine with putting different portions of our tithes different places, but Jordan feels really strongly that our entire 10% should go to the church, and anything we want to support should be on top of that. I don't think either is wrong, but I do think that consistently supporting the ministry of your local church is very important, because you're part of that local body.

      I definitely still have some of those feelings about how much "more" money we could have if we didn't tithe. And if I'm REALLY honest, I sometimes feel bad toward people who don't tithe, because they do have that "extra" money we don't. But tithing has gotten so much easier, and I don't even really miss that money any more. Plus, it has changed my attitude toward money and made me realize that it's not mine anyway--none of it is.

      Thanks for the great comment and for adding to the discussion! :)

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  11. This post is one of your best. Thanks for being brave and writing it.So many of my own thoughts you have presented here.

    I have been a Christian for a while and only started tithing last April. I thought when I went on missions trips, which are costly, that made up for my lack of monthly giving. A gracious Christian friend, in love, showed me how wrong I was and how in my lack of obedience I was being much like Cain. It was hard to hear, but so worth it. It was stressful at first, because I like you felt like there were so many things I could use that money for, but gradually over the months, as the money came out of my account and the tithe was added to the budget, it has become easier. And many of the fears I had when I started (will I have enough to eat, will I be able to pay my rent on time, will I have to stop doing missions work, will I not be able to buy new things, etc.) have not once come to fruition and God in His glory is quite possibly making a way for me to do two missions trips this year, which has never happened before.

    All this to say, I appreciate your words of honesty and vulnerability here. Money is so hard and in many ways we make it harder. I love how nothing is too difficult for God.

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  12. thanks for sharing. we are committed tithers and actually do it online, so that it comes out every month automatically. my husband was not tithing before we got married, but i was committed to it. we've NEVER gone without. God is so faithful!

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  13. tithing is so important - and i am one who struggles with being consistent.

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  14. I'm so glad you tackled this topic! I understand why it would be one that you kept going back to. Money is such a tough topic to discuss, but I think you covered it so gracefully. Tithing has been such a blessing in our lives as well. When I quite my job, technically on paper we didn't have enough money each month. If we would have stopped tithing we would have, but we didn't, we kept tithing not matter what the number's on our balance sheet said and I believe because of our faithfulness that God blessed us in huge amazing ways. I feel that the most amazing things in our lives have happened when we have emptied ourselves and walked open hearted and opened handed with what God has given us.

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  15. Ohh, I needed this!!! Thank you so much! Beautifully written!

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  16. What a topic to take on! Tithing is a tricky subject to talk about! Just a few weeks ago, I was having dinner with some girl friends of mine and we started discussing tithing. As I was talking about how much Cory and I tithe, I thought to myself "they're gonna think I'm bragging." And these are some of my best friends (obviously since I told them how much!) Now, much like you, my tithing before I got married was spotty at best. If I remembered to write the check, I would put it in the offering plate. But a year into our marriage we started a budget and the first line underneath our income is our tithes. I've never really struggled with the thought of giving up the money though because we have been so incredibly blessed since tithing regularly. Someone once told me it was easier to give when you have money but I don't think that was the case for us. I don't think having more money made it easier to tithe but the fact that we grew spiritually and could see the blessings from tithing is what made it easier.

    As I scrolled through the comments, I saw someone mention a home church and in 2013 my husband and I left the only church I had ever really known. We spent a couple of months searching for the right church and while we were looking we would just set the money to the side each week. Once we found our church, we were able to bless them with a lump sum of the money we had been setting aside.

    Thank you for sharing this!

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    1. I really love the idea of setting aside a tithe while you were looking for a church! I think that's a great way to continue doing it, and that is a huge blessing to your new church for that lump sum. Of course, the importance of having a home church and regularly attending is a whole other topic of itself :)

      I am kind of ashamed of my attitude about tithing when we first started, because I did have a hard time with it. Sometimes I still have fleeting feelings of it when I think about how hard we're trying to save for a house and how much "more" money we would have if we didn't tithe. But I am so glad it's a regular part of our budget and I have seen how God has provided and given us even more than we need. And it really has made us even more generous with our money. I don't think I would have been so open to the idea of spending thousands of dollars to go on a missions trip last year if we hadn't been in the habit of regularly tithing.

      Thanks for reading and for sharing your thoughts!

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  17. I loved this post. First of all because you got to the heart of the matter, second of all because you made me think. I continually want to be a more selfless and generous person - but I feel like I come up short in my efforts to be consistent. I also have a hard time with the percentage given the different view points of my spouse. Slowly and surely we're growing closer together spiritually, but it will take time before I'd be able to lay this out plainly to him. (Not to say he's not generous - he's one of the most generous people I know) but in this case - who's lead do you follow? Do we keep working at it slowly together?

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    1. That's such an interesting question. Obviously I'm no biblical scholar, but my first thought is that tithing/giving is not something that's supposed to cause animosity between you, so you shouldn't do anything the other one is uncomfortable with. I think working at it together and finding a middle ground is important. After all, it's not really about how much or what percentage but about the motive and the heart behind it. Getting into the habit in the first place is key, and then I know people who slowly add more or a higher percentage over time.

      That said, in our case Jordan was set on 10%, and I think that falls under the "submission" category. I don't know how you feel about that, but for me I think this is an example where we would follow Jordan's lead as the head of the household. Not to say I don't have an opinion, but he had prayed about it and felt like this was what we should do as a family, so I said okay and began praying about my attitude, because it was really hard for me for a long time. Ultimately, I do think consistent tithing has made me, and us, more generous, which sounds funny but it's true!

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  18. So glad you wrote this and shared your heart! My parents taught us to tithe when we were little, and I'm so grateful. I was sometimes fussy about it as a kid, but it did teach me a spirit of gratitude, and I learned even as a child that I never went without, even when I was giving money back to God. All through my teens and college I would tithe my babysitting money. I knew it was right, and God showed me Himself at work. I was grateful for those glimpses. We have automatic deduction from our bank account with our church now, but I think as our little guy grows, I want to go back to writing the checks. I really want our family to pray over that check twice a month so that he sees that God takes the money we give back to Him and uses it for His glory. I don't want the grumbling from him that I saw in myself as a little girl. And when he's old enough to make a little money, I want to see him gladly want to give his money back to Jesus too. :)

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  19. This is SO well said. Congrats on not only writing this post, but writing it so well!

    Growing up, my parents put a check in the collection basket every week, and we collected change to give to UNICEF through school programs, but I don't remember ever having discussions about tithing as a family (also, I was raised Catholic, so maybe it's something that's emphasized more in other Christian churches?). I no longer go to church, but my husband has for years now been donating monthly to an organization his friend leads in Central America. Just before Christmas, we were actually talking about adding to that donation or donating to another charity.

    I used to have an automatic monthly donation set up, but a few years ago, I learned some troubling things about that organization and stopped those donations. You've seriously just inspired me to do some research and find another organization -- and I love the idea of actually writing a check each month instead of an automatic payment I don't think about (plus writing a check is kinda necessary since my income fluctuates).

    Thanks so much for sharing :)

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  20. Great post. My husband and I have been tithing consistently since we got married, but we also did not have a "home church" until just recently. Rather than writing checks to the churches we were checking out, we kept our eyes and ears open for families or missionaries in need and directed our tithes accordingly. I'm grateful that my husband, Eric, adopted this this approach because it taught me to be aware of the needs of others, and to give freely as the Lord leads.

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  21. I absolutely love that you wrote this post. I think that tithing is something we often don't talk about because we see it as something we will boast about or be prideful about or even cause others to feel bad about themselves (which is totally plausible but not in this case!).

    But it's something that needs to be talked about. Because while I tithe, I need to also remind my heart and mind of the WHY behind the tithing. Why I set aside money that I've been given back to Him. That first check for me was also tough--but like you said, it's taught me more things than I ever could have guessed. :)

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  22. I'm so glad you wrote this, Amanda! It's really so good to hear, and I needed to hear a lot of your points. We don't consistently give to our home church, but we support 2 separate missionaries monthly. We are currently wondering how that plays into tithe. Does it count? Or does it not count since it isn't going directly to our church? That I'm not sure. Obviously, Lamar and I have some figuring out to do. I feel like we need to give at least something directly to our church.

    Anyways, thanks for sharing this Amanda! You've definitely got me thinking. :)

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    1. Obviously I can't say what you and Lamar decide does or doesn't "count" for your giving :) Jordan feels strongly that our full 10% goes to our church first, and any other giving/support is on top of that, so that's what we do. But I know other people do different things, so it's really just what you feel led to do after praying about it and reading the Bible.

      There's definitely no biblical mandate in the New Testament for 10% specifically, but I do think that believers who have a home church should be giving regularly to the church as a way of supporting the local body that you're part of. Our pastor did a sermon a few months ago on evangelism and giving, and he talked about all the different missions bodies, church plants, and local ministries that our tithe goes to, so really when you give to the church you are supporting so many more things, which I think is pretty awesome.

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  23. Dear Amanda,
    thank you for this post as it opened my eyes to how convenient we have it in regard of tithing here in Germany.
    Here, everyone who belongs to the (cathohlic or protestant) church through babtism and is employed tithes automaticaly.
    9% of our income is deducted for the church along with our payments for health care, retirement etc. If you do not want to tith you have to leave the church.
    I always thought of it as extremely convenient, as we are obligated to answer the call for tithing or conciously have to leave the church altogether.

    All the best wishes

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  24. I grew up in a family where I saw this modeled so I've never actually struggled with tithing. When I was 13 my parents sold everything they owned (which was a lot - they managed three restaurants and did very well) and we moved overseas as missionaries. As an adult now I understand so much better how scary that must have been for my parents. But as a kid - I just took it for granted that this was the norm. You sacrifice. You open your home to people who need a meal or a bed. You give of yourself. Of your time. Of your money. So when I got my first job in high school, I began tithing. And when I went to college and was working part time, I continued to tithe.

    However, Christopher came from a very different background. He was raised in a Christian home and his parents gave weekly at church, but they never ever talked about finances with their kids. Ever. So while he had the general idea of what tithing was, he never practiced it much (pretty much what you described - a twenty in the plate here or there). So before we got married, we talked a lot about finances and I explained to him how important giving was to me (both with time and money) and we began praying about it. The first month we were married and our bank accounts were joint, Christopher had a hard time writing the check. But like you, he continued to pray about it. And now, 6 years later, he is so generous. Not only do we still tithe to our church, but so often Christopher is the first to suggest we help fund a teenager's mission trip or give to a local organization.

    What really helped him was when we began praying that we would be good stewards of what we've been blessed with. It was a good reminder that everything we have is a blessing. The whole "to whom much is given, much is expected" thing is something we really challenge ourselves with. Even though I was always comfortable with the idea of tithing, praying this prayer helped me be even more intentional about giving and blessing others.

    Okay so I know this is forever long already, but I have to tell you about the coolest tithing story I've ever heard. There was an elderly couple at our church when we first got married who decided to give 1% the first year they were married, 2% the second year they were married, 3% the third year, 4% the fourth, and on and on. So by the time they had been married 50 years they were literally giving away 50% of their income. FIFTY percent! They said that since it was such a slow increase every year, they learned how to give more and more and live on less and less. I have always been amazed by that. Stories of generosity are some of my favorites. :)

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  25. I love this post. My husband and I also tithe 10% of our gross income, and we have seen so many blessing because of it. . It's hard to talk about with friends because it is so personal. But I have seen God's tender mercies towards us financially, and somehow our needs are always met. Thanks for sharing this.

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  26. SO MANY CHIPOTLE BURRITOS. Note to self: I should not do the tithe to burritos ratio in my life. That will be too tempting.

    Way to be brave! Tithing can certainly be a touchy subject, but you wrote with grace and understanding. Bravo.

    Along your points about generosity, I have found that tithing changes my perspective about everything else we spend money on too, but past the actual dollar conversation. When the Mister and I talk about our budget each month (hey, Dave Ramsey!), we go over the events or special circumstances that we have planned or are expecting that month. When tithing is the first item on that budget, it really puts the material nature of all our other line items into perspective.

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  27. I've been meaning to come back and comment on this since you posted. SO glad you brought this up! I was raised in a congregation that puts focus on giving as a commandment to follow (joyfully, of course), so it's never been something I even questioned. My parents made sure my siblings and I were learning how to earn money from a young age (starting with paper routes as fifth graders), and we were always expected to give at least 10% of that right off the top. To be perfectly honest, I was completely unaware of how many believers simply just don't tithe.

    We recently finished Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University course, and he talks a lot about the importance of giving. It's the first category on his budget worksheets, and it's his main emphasis for getting out of debt. People who aren't throwing their money at credit card bills will have a lot more money to give to others. Makes sense, right? But one thing I hadn't considered was the reasons why God commands us to give. We always focus on these wonderful congregational efforts, and I do think it's extremely important for a congregation to know where the money is being used, and be sure that it's being used in a Scriptural way. Dave takes the stance that giving is not just to spread the Gospel, though that's what the money should be used for. No, he pointed out that "God doesn't need our money!" I agree with that. You've hit the nail on the head when you say that giving has changed you and your perspective. Being in the habit of giving brings us closer to a Christlike way of living, and the joy that comes when it's done right is contagious! I definitely think the commandment to give is another one of the countless ways that God understands how to humble us and bring us to growth that we would likely not seek out for ourselves without His intervention.

    Anyway, thanks so much for writing on this topic! (And for clarifying the difference between the Old Testaments use of the word "tithe" and our New Testament command to give "as we prosper." The distinction is one that many people seem to miss.)

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  28. This post and these comments are SO powerful. I'm in awe. They make me think of one of my favorite New Testament stories - Mark 12:41-44 - about the poor woman who gave and was more blessed than the rich men who gave. (Man, I am such a weird Jew! haha.)

    When I buy tickets to events at my synagogue, I always add $18 per ticket (so I'll do $36 if I'm going with a friend or if Jon comes). Jon asked me why $18 once because it seems so random, and I was surprised that my faith was sort of reaffirmed as I explained it to him - it had become automatic and I did it without thinking, which defeats the spiritual purpose. 18 in Hebrew letters spells CHAI, which also means life. It's a really important number in Judaism.

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  29. I love this post and am so glad you shared your journey! I'm thankful Jordan has helped you with that area.

    Ok - so I'm not saying 10% is bad. That's what Dave and I do BUT my sister did tell me once that 10% was what was required by the law. Today we are saved by grace and no longer under the law so how much more should we be giving? I'm not saying give all your income away but it definitely did make me think about giving.

    My missionary friend here has said "God's shovel is bigger than your shovel." I thought that was kind of weird at first but the more I thought about it the more I appreciate it. We never can out give God.

    I'm also humbled because my missionary friends here live on faith. They don't have anyone back home promising x amount of dollars per month.If people give then that is their monthly income but if no one gives they don't have income. Through all that they give! They feed Dave and I all the time, buy us a treat here and there, give to others, buy Christmas gifts for all the kids at school (267 kids) and do so much more. It has really challenged me in the area of giving.

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  30. I don't officially tithe at the moment, but I am getting closer and closer to that. I definitely commit a decent chunk of my monthly income to my church each month, but it's not 10%. This post was the second time I've heard the majority of these reasons why people tithe (in a very good way!) and it's encouraged me to pray about this more. While I don't attend my church regularly anymore (since I live in a different state), I still give back because that is where my heart is. That church has changed my life - it's where I dedicated my life to Jesus and I owe a debt of gratitude to it and the people inside the walls of that place. It's my home and it deserves to continue on changing lives of everyone else who enters and believes.

    However, one thing I am grateful for is that even if I am not giving 10%, the amount I /am/ giving has encouraged giving in other areas of my life, like you mentioned in your post. It's a great feeling to be able to give back so freely!!

    Thank you for this post and being so open and honest about your faith!

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  31. Dude, I dont know why I'm just now seeing this!! I love it! This is definitely something that needed to be said. thank you! I have been encouraged all my life to tithe 10%, even it it's just a dime when i would wash the car for a dollar. but it is encouraging to read this post. It is a blessing to be able to give!!

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