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May 13, 2007


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I think I responded to the original thread (though sometimes I fashion a response, type it out, then decide it sounds stupid, and NOT post it). :-)

I believe in a 10% a starting point. It seems that if we have nothing aside from what God gives us, returning 10% to further His kingdom is a drop in the bucket. I can't remember who it is, but I read of someone in the Christian community who gives 90% and keeps the 10%, because he is very wealthy, and can live off 10%. And I'll bet his net worth increases, simply because he gives so much away. God is funny that way.

I know that when my dh and I tithe consistently (and we don't always), God really blesses us, first with enough to provide for our family, and second, the stress of wondering how we're going to make ends meet is severely curtailed.

Another thought I just had was that churches can't offer programs or even keep the doors open if people aren't generous. God clearly set up a plan for that, and He started with 10%, so who am I to question that? Does the church no longer need to be supported financially?

Okay, sorry, I read that bit about the man who gives 90% on this blog!!! It was the first commentor on the last thread about tithing, and Rick Warren is the man who tithes 90%. There, we've come full circle. :-)

Our sermon this morning was about tithing, which is kind of funny because it isn't preached about often (not at my church anyway). I was wondering if these two categories were supposed to apply to all Christians. Single Ma has an interesting post from last spring, about tithing when you're deep in debt (there were lots of interesting responses).

As for the giving generously how is generously defined. One of the scriptures we looked at this morning was Mark 12:41-44. In that scripture it was the poorest person who gave the most percentage-wise, who put in the most (because she was trusting on God for future provision).

This is a little off topic, but I'm wondering what FMF thinks about giving to the poor/homeless guys at the exit ramp on the freeway who have little signs asking for money.

I think that you have hit the nail on the head. The people that I hear complaining at tithing usually are the ones that do not give 10%.

I have also seen people who make plenty of money never give anything, and then those who make very little who are faithful to give regularly.

We gave 10% for years and this year by faith we are going to 11% and that is on reduced income because my wife is only working extremely part time while she cares for our son. God has blessed our decision for my wife to stay home and has met our needs in spite of a drastic income reduction...

I wouldn't describe myself as Christian (and I doubt that many of you would either), but I was brought up attending church every week. So I'll weigh in with my opinion:

I always believed that Christiand were called upon to give as much as possible as in Mark 12:41-44 that cami mentioned above. I never heard of anyone tithing until I was much older and the web had been invented.

I don't think many hold the position that Christians shouldn't give - in fact I bet that's true in all religions.

I'm the person who posted first in the last call for comments a couple of weeks ago. I don't want to repeat my post, but you've missed the point completely - of course you did say above those were the two most popular beliefs and I do agree with you there. *Everything* you have (including your time and your abilities) belongs to God. God has empowered you with resources and you are to manage those resources to carry out the Great Commission. So now dedicate those resources to that purpose! This is a different viewpoint than either of your statements. While 10% is a great rule of thumb for most Americans, it is not a law that must be followed in order to become right with God. Before a believer understands the concept of Stewardship (you are the manager, not owner), drawing a line in the sand at 10% sounds like a legalism and is either resisted (at least in a denomination like mine that stresses grace), or followed out of fear - your offerings being your "fire insurance". - If generous giving is followed or at least tried, many times the giver comes around through the power of the Spirit to see the benefits (that's what happened to my wife and I). It's tough to get people (especially Americans!) on that path with the conflicting messages of the world.

BTW, if you think all the OT laws are required of us after Jesus, does this mean you keep Kosher? Do you make animal sacrifices? : ) This would be an interesting topic for another day (slightly Off Topic for a financial blog, though)

Hi Phil, I understand what you're saying about grace and legalism. Everything we do for God ought to be motivated by love more than duty. But that doesn't diminish the fact that we are commanded to do certain things. To make an extreme example, we don't wring our hands over whether we should not murder, worried that we might get legalistic about it.

I guess it comes down to this -- I want to work on obeying God's commands at the same time I'm working on a joyful, grateful, loving, trusting attitude as I obey. My heart's attitude is vital, but it's artificial to wait to get that down perfectly before I begin obeying. I can trust in God to help me with both at the same time.

I wonder what you think of the fact that Jesus seems to affirm the Christian's obligation to begin with tithing when he says "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others." He is clearly excoriating legalism, but at the same time is affirming a set of joyful obligations that includes tithing ("these you ought to have done").

G --

Interesting question. I'll take that up some weekend. Stay tuned.

Phil --

I agree that God owns it all (and I think this belief is in alignment with each of the two thoughts above.) I'll be posting more on these two thoughts (and what "generous giving" often leads to -- you implied it in your comment) in the next week or so.

All the yada-yada and beliefs. What does the Bible say about this? That's the final answer.

Mandy --

I think that's what is being discussed here -- the differing views on what people think the Bible says in this area.

Alastair Begg had a great sermon on tithing a while back. He summed it up nicely with a St. Augustine quote: "Love God and do what you want."
That's a much harder and deeper perspective on tithing, and living in general, than just doing the math and putting your 10% in the collection plate.

Since I currently don't regularly attend a church, I don't have a regular "collection plate" to put an offering into. I do make periodic donations to charities, and have set a goal this year to do a better job of tracking donations, and to donate approximately 10% of my income. If/when I join a church, I will donate there as well, but don't intend to tithe (instead, I will probably split my donations between the church and other charitable causes).

I don't have a very good track record for philanthropy in recent years. One of my mental objections (excuses) was the fact that, since I don't itemize, my contributions aren't tax-deductible. I did manage to overcome that, and recently made what, for me, was a large donation.

(Is it OK to use the comment section to answer others?) To pull one word out of the "Eight Woes" section of Matthew 23 and hold it up as Jesus requiring us to tithe doesn't sit right with me. In this specific "Woe #5" if you will, Jesus points out the hypocrisy of imbalance - keeping some parts of the law (the "easier" parts - the implication being that giving 10% for the rich Pharisees was trivial) and neglecting the "hard" parts: showing justice, mercy, and faith. Jesus is referring to Jewish law, here, which I don't believe I'm required to follow. But the whole point of Matt 23 (in my opinion, of course) is that religious hypocrisy is worse than not being a believer at all since the hypocrite drives people away from the faith (There's a couple of famous Republicans I wish would heed this! - oops, sorry, off topic)

Let's switch to a place where Jesus was more direct wrt money: Mark 10:17-27, specifically 10:21, "go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me". That's a pretty direct command (but maybe taken out of context like the above?). If you follow this passage to the letter you won't have any need for FMF's blog anymore!

Regarding the question of "What is sacrificial giving, and why is it important?", Sacrificial giving is the kind that is done at great personal cost to the giver. It is possible to give without suffering any loss. Indeed, we do this all the time. When a family donates a bag of old clothes to the Salvation Army, or when a multibillionaire gives an impressive-sounding six-figure contribution, they feel no loss because it is in their best interest to discard those things anyway. Strictly speaking, in the words of author Randy Alcorn, this is not giving at all but “selective disposal”.

This kind of giving is fine (it is certainly better than throwing old clothes or money away), but there is nothing distinctively Christian about it. Even in the Old Testament, King David recognized this difference when he insisted, “I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing” (2 Samuel 24:24). The one great biblical example of generosity is Jesus’ gift of himself to make atonement for sins, which was done at unimaginable cost to the giver (1 John 3:16). Obviously, our greatest sacrifices are not even in the same league with Jesus’ unique sacrifice. But we Christians are imitators of our Lord, and for that reason we give our very best, that which it pains us to lose.

Does becoming a Sacrifical Giver mean that "my level of giving determine my salvation?" Of course not. The Bible says clearly, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourself, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Salvation is utterly and completely a gift of God, accomplished by Jesus on our behalf. In no way does giving (or any other good work) secure God’s favor. Indeed, it could not since our very best acts are themselves full of sin and fall horribly short of God’s holiness. We only deceive ourselves if we give in hopes of winning God’s affections. However, once we have been made new by the gospel, that same gospel changes us through and through, causing us to practice generosity (and other good works) out of thanksgiving to and love for God. What is more, even our own good works are a gift of God to us. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). Thus, while a person’s giving does not in any way determine his salvation, it is an excellent indicator that salvation has come to him.

For those wondering "How much does it take to count as generous?",
God measures our gifts with a measure different from that of the world. He is not impressed with large numbers. Rather, he measures according to (1) the giver’s capacity (because he knows what we possess) and (2) the giver’s attitude (because he knows the state of our hearts). Jesus spoke to this question directly when he compared the temple gifts of the rich men with the gift of the poor widow (Luke 21:1-4).

By Jesus’ reckoning, the widow gave more than the others because she gave all she had to live on. Her capacity was prohibitively little, but her attitude was extravagant. The rich, on the other hand, had so much wealth that even large gifts required little devotion of them. Biblical generosity is not any given dollar amount. Nor it is even just a given percentage rate (although percentage of assets is an important indicator of attitude, which is of great importance to God.) To be biblically generous is to recognize God’s infinite beneficence toward us in Christ, and to give extravagantly in worship to him, relative to what one has. To put it differently, biblical generosity is best gauged by asking not, “How much am I giving to God?” but, “How much am I keeping for myself?”

For those asking "What are some wrong motives for giving?"
The Bible speaks of several wrong motives for giving. One is the desire to be seen by other people. Those who want public acclaim for their generosity, Jesus says, forfeit any reward they might have received from God (Matthew 6:1-4). A second wrong motive for giving is the desire to conceal one’s greed. This seems to be the sin of Ananias and Sapphira, who gave a part of a sum while saying that it was the whole (Acts 5:1-11). A third wrong motive for giving is unwilling compulsion. Paul writes, “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). Christian generosity is to be willing, not forced or manipulated. Finally, we should not give to try to earn the love of God. These are wrong motives for giving, because they all, in different ways, contradict the spirit of the gospel. Consider instead these right motives for giving.

* First, we should give because it is a reasonable response to all God has done. Because God has shown such great mercy to his people by sending Christ to suffer in our place, it is fitting that we should offer ourselves as sacrifices to him (Romans 12:1) and specifically in part by giving our money (2 Corinthians 8:8-9). Generous giving is an act of Christian worship.
* Second, we should give to show the genuineness of our Christian confession. Many people say they know Jesus, but those who really know him show it by their lives, especially by their generosity (Matthew 25:31-46). When we give to the Lord, we put our money where our mouth is, so to speak.
* Third, we should give because the Lord Jesus (Luke 12:33) and his apostles (2 Corinthians 8:7) command us to give. Christian giving is certainly much more than a duty, but the biblical commands are unavoidable.
* Fourth, if specific instruction from the Scriptures were not enough, we should give because God promises to reward us for doing so (Luke 12:33). As it turns out, to give is not to throw money away, but rather to invest it for a staggering return. The Bible is certainly not lacking for reasons that we should give. Rather than asking " Why should we give?" , We might ask instead, “Why should we not give?” .....and EXCEDDINGLY SO?

Regarding the question " If my motives are wrong, should I stop giving? " the answer is No. God does not want us to give with improper motives (2 Corinthians 9:7), but this is not to say that a person should wait to give until he is sure his motives are proper. If we were to do that, we might never give at all. As with so many areas of the Christian life, sometimes we have to just start obeying and pray for a change of heart as we go. The change of motives might only come during or after the act of obedience. (Indeed, the very fact that you recognize your wrong motives is a sign that they are changing.) Happily, the same God who demands proper motives is the one who brings about those proper motives in us. he gave us the gift of his Son; surely we can count on him for this as well. You should aspire to right motives in giving. But the best way to cultivate right motives in giving is to ask for the Lord’s help and start giving.

BOTTOM LINE: Because Christian generosity centers on the imitation of the author of generosity—Jesus Christ—it is impossible to be an authentic Christian giver if we do not understand the manner in which Christ gave. And the simplest way to understand Christ’s manner of giving is by way of sacrifice. Thus, as new creatures, Christian givers have no choice but to follow in Christ’s example, not only by acting sacrificially at times, but rather, by seeking to make sacrifice a central characteristic of their own personal identity as the Spirit of Jesus enables (Philippians 2:5-11).

Pray what I've offered (Much of which was studied from other sources, but nonetheless in the Word) adds to the discussion (check out for more info)..


I still believe in tithes and offering. It says in Malachi that we should bring the tithes into the storehouse. I understand that this is a Old Testament principle, but I believe that there will still be principles in the Old Testament that are applicable to us despite that we are already in the "time of grace."

What is the need of giving us the Old Testament if we don't have to follow it? Is it just a storybook?

I've been giving my tithes and offering ever since I started college, and by God's grace, He has supplied all my needs, and adds up a little spice: my wants.

The Subject of tithing has always been very controversial. God has truly blessed all of us and I believe that it is our responsibility to give back to him. The question that has confused many is " What do we give back?". One friend of mine who is a Pastor of a Church, once said that we can tithe in terms of TALONS(Money), TIME and TALENT. Those with money(talons) can tithe in terms of MONEY; those without MONEY can tithe in terms of their TIME; those with TALENTS can tithe with their TALENTS. I would love to hear what the readers think about these concepts. Thank s.

Is tithes all about money?

If you stop and think of all the churches that are funding to keep the doors open with the tithe. You began to grasp the power of money and not the power of the LORD. You have churches that are powered by tithes and not the Word of GOD. The New World concept and use of the tithe keeps bad church doors open as well as the good ones. Thr tithe is the wrong tool for the right job. GOD does not need the help of man do keep the world on orbit, nor does he need man to keep his church doors open by tithing.

Can non profit organizations use the word/concept of tithes to solicit contributions from supporters - legally and or morally speaking?; or put another way, is the moral and legal use of the word tithe, limited to churches only?

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