When discussing Stewardship the word “Tithe” comes up frequently. What is a Tithe, and how does it apply to your spiritual life?
The Tithe is an offering to God of the FIRST 10% of your incoming. In the Old Testament God requires this, saying the first 10% of your fields, flocks or vineyards are to be given as an offering to the Lord. (Leviticus 27:30) It is a sign and symbol of gratitude that the Lord has provided for you. One of the offertory sentences for the Holy Communion Service sums this up saying, “All things come of thee, O Lord, and of thine own have we given thee” (1 Chronicles 29:14). With the offering we show gratitude because it is 100% God’s and He has blessed us with the provision of it. It is also a sign that we trust that God will continue to provide for us in the future as well. (Malachi 3:10).
In the New Testament Jesus mentions the tithe in reference to those who are doing it for appearances or self-righteousness, not with a joyful heart. Rather than saying the Pharisees are wrong for tithing, he says our righteousness must EXCEED that of the scribes and Pharisees. (Matthew 5:20) We should be giving and doing so with a right heart.
But throughout the New Testament there is reference to the support of the ministry and need to not be so attached to one’s possessions that they become a distraction or even an idol. Giving with a cheerful heart is a great antidote to such a malady.
In the Book of Common Prayer we read in the Offices of Instruction, My bounden duty is the follow Christ, to worship God every Sunday in his Church; and to work and pray and give for the spread of the kingdom. (p. 291) The support of your parish church, working toward the Tithe of 10%, is an important aspect that duty. And to do so with a cheerful heart is a spiritual treasure.
If you are not tithing now pray the Lord to help you to move toward that level of giving to His Greater Honor and Glory, and your sanctification.