One day I was hit with the revelation that the tithe applied to me, or rather, that I should be giving.
The fact is, this really has nothing to do with tithing,1 and everything to do with generous giving. But at the time, I was stuck on the 10% and that’s where the story starts…
Giving isn’t just for the rich or the people who already have their finances “figured out.”
It’s not something that would be “nice to do one day”…you know, “when you could afford it.”
It took me two years to understand that not only did
the tithe giving apply to me, but it was the answer to my financial problems.
Everything didn’t change overnight, but within a few years of regular giving, we went from blowing our budget and being $24,000 in debt to being debt-free and building wealth.
So what happened exactly?
In fact, I have experienced more supernatural events in my finances than any other area of my life. Our entire family has been blessed and continues to be blessed, both financially and otherwise.
This is my financial journey, how I started “tithing” and how God showed up in a seriously supernatural way. But that’s not all… it’s also how I learned that tithing doesn’t apply to New Testament Christians, and what we should be doing instead.
Here’s my story…
Apparently, We Were on the Right Track
I remember writing our first tithe check and honestly not knowing how we were going to afford to feed our family and pay our bills.
It’s obvious I had no idea what I was doing when it came to money. I used credit cards like magic money tokens and I don’t think I realized I had to actually pay the company back. No clue!
But God had a plan for my life and His plan included my finances so the next few years were pivotal for us.
This is when God showed up in a huge, blatant and obvious way.
Two weeks after I cut that first tithe check, I was in Arby’s with my wife and daughter.
I’m sure I looked ridiculous – 20 years old with a family, a blank stare and no clue of what I was doing trying to lead them. We were about to order when a man pulled me aside and only said a few sentences – sentences that changed my life and my viewpoint.
Here’s what the random truck driver said: “I don’t usually travel through this town, but I felt the Lord tell me to take this way for some unknown reason.” He then proceeded to pull a $100 bill out of his wallet – he placed it in my hand and said, “the Lord wants you to know that He has everything under control. Don’t worry, everything is going to be just fine. Everything is going to work out for His glory.”
This was two weeks after we started tithing.
God showed up in a real way and practically smacked me in the face.
Needless to say, we continued to tithe.
Most people believe in the “give and you shall receive mindset.” Some call it God, while others call it Karma. I believe that man was in Arby’s that night to show me that it was the Lord who wants to bless me, not some random law of nature.
God Has a Way of Working Things Out
Since the day we started giving, we have had unexpected blessings come up from everywhere you could imagine and places you couldn’t. It’s funny, when you’re giving, things just seem to work out.
There were plenty of times in the early years when I had no idea how I was going to make all of our payments. Fortunately for me, it was God who oversaw our finances and made sure the payment was made
It didn’t always add up mathematically, but God doesn’t operate by the same laws of arithmetic as we do.
If there is one area of my life that I have no problem trusting God, it’s in my finances. My family and I have gone from barely scraping by to leading and teaching others about money.
Now I can see that God taught me how to trust Him in other areas of my life through trusting Him in my finances. We are blessed to be able to give with abundance to the Kingdom of God. That beats struggling and being buried in debt any day.
It’s Not About Being Rich
The ultimate goal in all of our finances should be to further the Kingdom and live free of bondage. God uses me to free people from bondage and enable people to be blessed financially so that they may use their money for God’s glory.
It’s not about being rich – it’s about being free.
You may want millions of dollars in a retirement account or you may just need a few bucks here and there to meet your daily needs. That’s your call. Who am I to judge? There’s always going to be someone with more than you and someone with less than you.
As long as we’re using our finances to the glory of the Lord, we’re on the right track.
Your financial blessings can start with giving to your church and/or an organization you support.
100% of your money belongs to God, I think we can give a little back to Him.
But why stop at 10%?
Should Christians Tithe Today?
Let’s talk about how the tithe (10%) was part of the law; today we are under the Spirit.
We see the tithe all over the Old Testament:
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”Malachi 3:10
“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
It’s interesting that none of those verses mention money; they mention commodities. One could argue that commodities was their source of money then, but remember, they had money too. Either way, what does the New Testament say about tithing?
“On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come.”1 Corinthians 16:2
The basic idea of “the tithe” can be seen in the New Testament, but what is mentioned more, and more often by Jesus, is to simply give generously.2
“And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”Acts 2:43–47
“Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.”Acts 4:32–37
“Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of Claudius). So the disciples determined, every one according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers living in Judea. And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.”Acts 11:27-30
We are to give to all of the needs we can cover, not just our church…
“Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.”Galatians 2:10
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”James 1:5
And finally, my favorite verse in the New Testament for guidance on what to give…
“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”2 Corinthians 9:7
On that note, how much should we actually give today?
How Much Should We “Tithe”?
Since the tithe is an Old Testament concept, how much should we give today?
As Christians, we should look to Jesus. We should look at what Jesus gave.
Jesus gave everything for us. 100%.
That should be our goal, but 10% is a great starting point and even if you can’t start with 10%, you can start with something.
God isn’t looking at your numbers, He’s looking at your heart.
Since we are not under the law anymore, we shouldn’t act as though we still are. Legalism is one of our worst enemies, and sticking with a certain amount like 10%3 as the only amount you should give is definitely approaching legalism.
Dave Ramsey takes the view that you should still be giving 10%. I love and respect Dave, so I’ll let him give you his perspective:
Again, 10% is a great place to start, but we should strive to give all we can.
These videos are progressing into what giving really means in the New Testament. I want you to watch two more quick videos. First, Francis Chan gives his input on giving:
Now for one of my favorite Bible teachers, Greg Boyd explains giving in his words:
That’s a lot of information and some of it’s conflicting… so what do you do? Start with prayer, as we should all remember to on such important matters. Pray and ask God what you should give today, and then take it day by day from there.
I want to close with a few points of giving:
- We should give if we want to be blessed financially
- We all should be giving generously in every way
- We all should be giving until it’s a sacrifice
- We shouldn’t make excuses for why we can’t give
- We shouldn’t get caught up on a certain amount – listen to God