Giving / Tithing
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What is tithing?
Tithing is the practice, established by God in the Old Testament, of returning 10% of your blessings to God. Originally the tithe was given to the temple or the Church in the form of produce or livestock, since this really was the only income that the people had. As our society shifted from a barter-based system of trade to a monetary exchange system, the tithe began to be paid in currency. Whether one gave monetary income or profit from the fields was really not as important as it was for the believer to understand that the tithe was what was owed to God. The tithe was not given based on the needs of the priests, of the Church or of the poor. It was given simply in recognition and gratitude for the blessings that God had bestowed on the individual. Thus, every believer had a need to tithe to God.
“The tithes of the herd and the flock shall be determined by ceding to the Lord as sacred every tenth animal as they are counted by the herdsman’s rod.” - Leviticus 27:32
Is anyone exempt from the tithe?
Our Lord exempted no one from giving. In the story of the “Widow’s Mite” it is important to note that He did not reach into the Offering box and give the widow back her two small coins. When He multiplied the Loaves and Fishes He asked for all the food that anyone had. Even the Levites or priests of the Old Testament were not exempt from the tithe. Today, although many parishioners are unaware of it, priests are still usually most generous in giving back a percentage of their own small salaries to the parishes in which they serve.
"Give the Levites these instructions: When you receive from the Israelites the tithe I have assigned you from them as your heritage, you are to make a contribution from them to the Lord, a tithe of the tithes…” - Numbers 18:26
Tithing is such a great sacrifice? Are there any real benefits?
In addition to the fact that you are following God’s will and providing your Church with the resources it needs to carry out the work of Jesus Christ here on earth, those who embrace tithing report that this approach has numerous benefits. The satisfaction that comes from gratefully sharing your blessings is tremendous.
When you take a hard look at your spending and plan to make God first in your budget you quickly begin to realize the difference between what you need and what you want.
- You begin to eliminate the endless clutter of material wants from your life and start to more fully appreciate the many blessings that you already have.
- You realize that commercialism works to convince us that we never have enough of the right things, even though God has already blessed you with all that you need.
- You stop being “consumed by consumerism” and “possessed by your possessions” and begin to slow down and prioritize not only how you spend your money but also how you spend your time.
- Once you stop trying to satisfy yourself with material possessions and spending, you may even find that you enjoy simple pleasures more fully – especially time to deepen your relationships with God, with loved ones and with your community.
Ultimately, those who tithe often feel that the practice brings more joy, more peace, more contentment and more balance to their lives.
“Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return to measure out to you.” - Luke 6:38
“Honor the Lord with your wealth, with first fruits of all your produce; then will your barns be filled with grain, with new wine your vats will overflow.” - Proverbs 3:9-10
“Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”- Luke 12:48
Tithing is such a huge step. How can I find the courage to commit to this way of life?
Tithing truly does take great faith. Simply place your trust in God. The commercialism of our society works to convince us that we never have enough. No matter how much we have, there is always something else we will want. If you are ever going to tithe, you will have to step back from your endless list of wants and believe that our generous and abundant God will always provide you with all that you need and even with enough to give back a generous share.
“He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him?” - Romans 8:32
“Then he said to the crowd, ‘Take care to guard against all greed for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.’” - Luke 12:15