FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON TITHING
“The purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your lives.” Deuteronomy 14:23 (LB)
What is a tithe?
The word tithe means a tenth part or 10%. In the Bible, God tells us that we are to give the first 10% of all we earn back to Him. Giving less than 10% is not tithing.
Should I tithe if I am in debt?
There are a couple of views to consider. Some Christians believe that you ought to pay debt, especially to those debtors who are unbelievers. In this way, you keep your witness intact. Others believe that you ought to pay the Lord’s tithe first and then trust the Lord for the funds to get out of debt. I would encourage you to prayerfully consider that the tithe helps us to honor and respect God (fear God), which is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7). If there is anybody in the world who needs God’s wisdom in the area of finances, it is a person already in debt.
What is the difference between a tithe and offerings?
The tithe is the first ten percent of income given as an act of worship to support the general ministries of the church (Malachi 3:10; Proverbs 3:9-10). Offerings are special gifts which are beyond the tithe given to express one’s deep love and gratitude for God’s tremendous blessings. These are gifts which support our missions and building funds or other Christian ministries (Psalm 50:23; Proverbs 7:4).
Why should I tithe to the General fund (Ministry Fund) rather than a specific fund?
Because God says in Malachi 3:10, “Bring your whole tithe into the storehouse that there may be food in my house.” Giving is another aspect of worship and to worship God completely involves submitting to God’s will. So when a person directs their tithe, it’s like giving with strings attached and saying, “God I will worship you my way.” (Read Leviticus 10:1-6; Acts 5:1-11 to see what God thinks when we worship Him our way and not His way).
Where should I give my tithe?
The Bible makes it clear that God expects the tithe to be given back to Him as an act of worship at the place where you worship. Again we look at Malachi 3:10 “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.”
1 Corinthians 16:2 also makes it clear this should be a plan and consistent act of worship. “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income.”
Could tithe money be used to support organizations outside the church?
The tithe is given in God’s name and should be used specifically for His work. Tithing to my church helps me say no to all the appeals for finances without feeling guilty, because I know I’m doing what God desires. This does not mean that there are not worthy causes to give to, like the symphony or museum, but that these opportunities ought to be prayerfully considered after being faithful in giving the Lord’s tithe to your local church.
Should I tithe on the gross or on the net?
There appears to be some confusion as to whether we should calculate our tithe based on our gross incomes (before taxes and other deductions) or net incomes (after taxes and other deductions). According, to Proverbs 3:9-10, God has asked for our first fruits, which is the first and best of all that we receive.Therefore, we should tithe from our gross, or total, income before taxes. When we calculate our tithes based on net income, we put the government ahead of God.
If I pay tithe on the gross should I pay tithe on the taxes I get back from the government?
No, because you already paid it throughout the year.
I have no income, is it possible to tithe another way?
Yes, you could tithe on your free time…from volunteering in the office to serving food with our various mission partners, helping with the work of the Lord…this is a beautiful way of honoring Jesus Christ.
What is Non Cash Giving?
When we think of tithing, most of us probably think of giving money. But giving non-cash assets, such as stocks, also is an excellent way to support God’s work. Suppose you own 400 shares of stock valued at $30,000. You receive dividends of 1.3 percent on this stock, which amounts to $390 per year.
You originally purchased this stock 10 years ago for $3,000. Therefore, in the last 10 years, you have realized a “gain” of $27,000 in the value of your stock. If you ever sell this stock, your gain will be subject to capital gains tax. If you give the stock to a nonprofit organization, you won’t lose a lot of annual income from dividends. In addition, you won’t have to pay a tax on your gain, and you will receive a tax deduction for the stock’s full face amount.
Does St. Michael’s tithe on her budget?
It is the responsibility of the leadership of St. Michael’s Church to keep the ministry of tithing and its importance before you. We do that by teaching and preaching the biblical call to tithe and challenge you to follow the scriptures to tithe. Yet, if we expect you to tithe, then:
• Your leadership team of vestry and staff must be tithing
• The leadership must also commit to tithing 10% of the operating budget of the church. Indeed, a minimum of 10% of every dollar that is received is given outside this church for ministry.
What should I do when my spouse disagrees?
Author and financier Larry Burkett puts it this way: “Because tithing involves money, it is a prime candidate for controversy between a husband and wife (many marital problems stem from finances). However, if both spouses are Christians, they should have a desire to please the Lord. It’s important for both spouses to be trained in God’s principles of finance. That way, they’ll understand tithing is God ordained, not just a personal desire that one spouse is trying to impose on the other.” The problem becomes more complicated when one spouse is an unbeliever. If tithing becomes a stumbling block to the spouse, try giving an amount smaller than the tithe for at least a year. If, at that time, you are better off, give more. In the last part of verse 10 of Malachi 3, the Lord asks us to test Him in tithing (Put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need). Often, this is just the opportunity for God to prove Himself to an unbelieving spouse.
Doesn’t tithing limit one’s giving?
Again Larry Burkett speaks to this. “One excuse for not tithing is that it “limits” the amount a Christian gives to God. But the tithe was never meant to be a limit. In fact, Jews were admonished to give early one-fourth of their income each year. With such giving today, the church could replace government welfare programs. But most people need a starting point. As best I can tell, God never asked less than a tenth from anyone. But if “10%” bothers someone, there’s no reason why they can’t give 11%, 12%, or twice as much should they so desire.” Again, the principle of God’s ownership comes into play. God doesn’t own just 10% of our money; He owns 100%. That’s why we should never tithe with the view that the remainder is ours. After giving our tithe, God may impress on us to give an additional amount to the mission fund, building fund, or other Christian work outside the church. Remember, the Lord wants us to be generous.
Stewardship Testimonies from the Vestry
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