Adulting 101: How and Why We Tithe
We're kicking off week #2 of our ADULTING 101 series with the important - and often avoided - topic of why we tithe. Read this wisdom from our guest author Lauren Dickie on just how to approach this vital part of not only adulthood, but life in general. (Remember: if there's something you're struggling with in the world of adulthood, leave us a comment so we can see about adding the topic to our series!)
"I know that we're 'supposed' to tithe, but I really struggle with giving up my hard-earned money, and it's hard to stay consistent. Am I sinning if I don't tithe, and if so, what is the right way to do it?" -Anony[miss]
Regularly tithing is not a common topic in today’s Bible studies and youth groups, but it is something that is very rewarding and every follower of Christ is called to do, both young and old. Since you may have only heard about it vaguely from adults or during church services, you might not understand what it’s all about or why people do it. From one young person to another, I want to explain in simple terms why tithing is easy and important!
What is Tithing?
Tithing is about more than just dropping change into a passing bucket at church. Traditionally, a tithe is defined as a 10% tax or donation. Throughout the Old Testament, tithes are used and given for various purposes, but are primarily a form of worship. Since the term “tithe” is specific to a monetary donation of ten percent, some people prefer to simply use the term “giving.”
Tithing is not a burden but a blessing, because it is the opportunity to be a part of the physical hands and mission of God by supporting the church. It is selfless and takes faith, but it gives God a chance to show up. Similar to when Jesus fed the thousands, all it takes is the faith to sacrifice our loaves and fish, and God will do things you can’t imagine. God’s blessing does not follow an equal exchange rate with our giving!
When it comes to amounts, 10% is just a starting point. God looks at the spirit of tithing, rather than the specifics. C.S. Lewis put it brilliantly when he said, “I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give (like the widow) more than we can spare.”
2 Corinthians 9:6-7: “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”
Tithing back to God is every believer’s responsibility, but the way we do that will vary for each person. In different seasons of life, your capacity to give will be different, so don’t let legalism or guilt affect your giving! God does not want us to feel obligated to give, but to do it with joy, as an outpouring of our gratefulness. He loves a cheerful giver! (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)
3 Ways to Tithe
Here are some suggestions for ways you can get creative with your giving.
First, the obvious one. Giving money back to your local church is today’s most common way to tithe. As a rule, wherever you are spiritually fed, you should give back to - be it a ministry, Christian organization, or church. Whatever church you attend, it is a part of Christ’s body and should be living out His heart and ministry. Beginning a habit of giving 10% of your income to the church is a great way to start, but it’s not the only way. Wherever we give, it should have a Kingdom-minded purpose. God’s instructions for tithing in Deuteronomy 14 include a provision for the Levite, the fatherless, the widow, and the sojourner – that they may come and eat and be filled. [tweetshareinline tweet="Our giving is supposed to result in action and mission." username="delightandbe"]
Volunteering by being the hands and feet of Jesus is a vital way we are called to serve the body of Christ. Giving our time should not be an oppressive burden, but a blessed opportunity to take part in what God is doing in your community or across the world. We’re called to give God our best, not what’s left of us. Proverbs 3:9-10 tells us to, “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first-fruits of all your crops…” Instead of half-heartedly flipping through the Bible at the end of the day, it’s important to make our time with the Lord something that is intentional. Going on mission trips, volunteering at local homeless shelters or food kitchens, and working in the church nursery are a few ways you can tithe your time! Plus, you can often do these things with a group of friends.
When Jesus says, “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s,” I think He is implying more than the fact that our finances belong to God. He is implying that our lives, resources, talents and gifts are all God-given, so therefore we are called to return those things. Pray about creative ways you can give back to the church through your gifts and talents. This could include singing on the worship team, gifting art to the church or members in it, or tithing out of the profits of your business, etc.
God’s plans are never boring, and you would be surprised at the amazing opportunities He provides when we ask!
Lastly, a common myth:
Some people have the misunderstanding that giving to God financially will guarantee a larger financial blessing in return. This is far from how God works. The second part of 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 says, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in good work.” The return on tithing is grace, sufficient provision (but not excess), and abounding good works. God’s return and blessing is not for us to always have excess and be comfortable. [tweetshareinline tweet="God’s blessings to us allow us to have enough to share – even if it means we share the last of what we have." username="delightandbe"]
Thanks to our Delight & Be™ Guest Author: Lauren Dickie