Taste and See: What is Tithing?

  • March 31, 2011

Taste and See: Tithing, Trusting, and Treasuring Christ

Week 1: What is Tithing?

Malachi 3:10

            Throughout the month of April we want to call our church to  a commitment to pray, study, and worship through our being obedient to God by tithing. April is the month of taxes and while we’re all thinking about fulfilling our obligation to our government we want to call ourselves to dwell seriously on our obedience to our God.

            Over the next few weeks we want to explain what tithing is, why it is important, and how it glorifies God in the local church. We want to especially show how trusting Christ in our finances is not meant to be a burden but a liberating delight in the goodness of God. God is not the government and the call to tithe is not meant to be a dreaded strain like tax season. Tithing to God, trusting God financially, is all about abundant liberty and joy.

            So what is it? Simply put tithing is the commitment made by followers of Jesus Christ to trust God with their incomes through giving a portion of those incomes back to God through the local church. Essentially tithing can be understood in six ways:

  1. Tithing is willingly giving a portion of your income to support the ministry of the local church and the proclamation of the gospel. Normally that is an encouraged portion of ten percent. A good motto might be “if you have a dollar, give a dime.”
  2. Tithing is obedience to God. God demands both that we hold nothing back from him and that we support the ministry of the local church. Members of the church are not merely the recipients of ministry but are participants in ministry. To not tithe is to disobey God. (Malachi 3:8)
  3. Tithing is a visible and tangible way we participate in the ministry of the local church. Through our tithes we all unite together to support preaching, evangelism, missions, and ministry.  (2nd Corinthians 8-9)
  4. Tithing is a declaration that God owns everything and that every good gift we enjoy comes from him and him alone. Sometimes we don’t like the idea of tithing because we believe our incomes are really ours. Tithing forces us to remember that nothing we enjoy is truly owed to us. We deserve nothing. Everything we have is a gift from God –  even our paychecks. (Psalm 24:1)
  5. Tithing is a physical display of trust in God to provide everything we need. Money, incomes, taxes, bills, and basic needs all have a tendency to lead to anxiety and fear. God calls us, however, to confident trust in his provision. God promises to take care of us. Tithing expresses our confidence that his words are true. (1st Timothy 6:17-19)
  6. Finally, tithing is the freeing invitation to find our greatest delight in God. There is a reason why Paul called the love of money the “root of all evil” (1st Timothy 6:2-10). Money, and our need of it, has an almost unimaginable tendency to make us want it more and more. Additionally, we are always tempted to use money as a means of achieving greater happiness in things which ultimately can never satisfy. Tithing, giving a portion of our incomes back to God through the local church, is a discipline which displays our great joy and satisfaction in God alone. It is a testimony that he and he alone is our treasure. He and he alone is the object of our great love. He and he alone is worth more to us than any material object we could purchase, and he has given himself to us freely by his grace. When we tithe we do not buy his joyous presence. We simply declare outwardly that his joyous presence has been given to us and we are finding everything we need in him and him alone. (Psalm 37:4; Matthew 6:19-21)

 

Next Week: What Tithing Isn’t

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