Tithes, offerings and giving. What do they mean and why are they important to your local church? Is tithing the same as giving? What is an offering in church? The Bible teaches us about tithing and offering. While there are different interpretations based on Old and New Testament, these are guidelines for Christians to actively love God and love others with through genuine acts of service.
Tithing is giving back your first fruits, not what is left over. It’s widely accepted that ten percent of your income is what God calls you to consistently give to your local church. A blog from SeedTime shares that Gateway Church’s Pastor Robert Morris describes tithing as: “It always requires faith to give the first (fruits). That’s why so few Christians experience the blessings of tithing. It means giving to God before you see if you are going to have enough. By tithing, it is as if we are saying to God, ‘I recognize You first. I am putting You first in my life, and I trust You to take care of the rest of the things in my life.’ That is why tithing is so important. It is the primary way we acknowledge that God is first.”
→ 10 Dimes Illustration: The first of your ten dimes is for God. It’s considered your full tithe which acknowledges that He equipped you to earn all ten dimes. Furthermore, without His provision, you would have zero dimes. That dime goes to your local church. There are now nine dimes left in your hand.
Offerings also reflect the generosity in your heart and are given in addition to the tithe. Think about offerings as “extra gifts” and tithes as “honoring God first and foremost.” It’s a principle that helps to explain the difference between tithes and offerings. There are a multitude of services and projects in your local home church. Plus, there are other local, national and global organizations who would all monetarily benefit from your offerings. You can probably think of several outside of your church right off the bat.
Each of us has a unique personality and are passionate about different ministries. From educating and sponsoring orphans to ending human trafficking and slavery to alcohol and drug rehabilitation to supporting medical facilities like St. Jude. A quote from the late Reverend Billy Graham spells it out like this, “Give me five minutes with a person’s checkbook, and I will tell you where their heart is.”
→ 10 Dimes Illustration: The next dime could be allotted to an offering such as a building fund or Missions Sunday, etc. Or you may elect to not give this dime away. This is a portion above your tithe and is optional. If you do give an offering dime, it would still leave you eight dimes in your hand.
Giving, also known as alms, serves a purpose to benefit people around you as you give of your time and resources. Perhaps one of the most highly regarded servants is Mother Teresa. Her care for others went above and beyond what most in the world have done. She deliberately sought those in need to love and care for. And she fulfilled her personal quote with every breath, “The fruit of love is service, which is compassion in action.”
Before you say you aren’t able to emulate her global acts of charity, she also reminded us, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” This giving of ourselves aspect is what we should be concentrating on daily. It’s how we are living our lives and hopefully how we are walking out our faith in God. To share His Good News with others in practical ways for eternal benefit.
→ 10 Dimes Illustration: The third dime is a participatory one and is also optional above your tithe. It shouldn’t be thought of giving verses tithing, but it should prompt the mentality of how else can you live out your testimony to benefit those around you? What if this dime contributed to the bread that was needed for you to physically serve the homeless in the soup kitchen or to pack lunches for poverty stricken children on the weekends? You’d still have seven dimes left. Seven, the number of completion.
Interestingly enough, Gallup reported earlier this year that, “After dipping in April 2020 during the early stages of the pandemic, charitable donations have rebounded and are essentially back to the level measured in 2013 and 2017 surveys.” We’ve all been on the receiving end at one time or another. Self reflection proves that people generally feel better when they give of themselves. Giving in general comes from a place of gratitude. There are benefits of giving tithes and offerings and charitable acts; and, you will be blessed when you believe and live the principle of Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Cal joined the ACS team in 2004 and is currently the Market Strategy Manager serving denominational ministry partners. He received a degree in Secondary Education at Southeastern Bible College before pursuing graduate work at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. He has served on various local nonprofit organizations, including The King’s Academy, a Christian school in Florence, SC. and R.E.A.C.H., an educational resource group based in Florence.