As a Christian, Should I Incorporate Tithing into My Budget?
What is Tithing?
Let’s start with “what is tithing?” The word "tithe" comes from an Old English root meaning "one-tenth." The tithe was an offering of one's income to the Lord as an expression of thanks and dedication. The funds were used in the Old Testament as a means of taking care of the priests, the Levites, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widows (Numbers 14:28-29). Today, it is common for the church to use these funds to take care of their pastoral staff, programs at the church such as nursery and outreach programs, missions, and providing help to those that need it, both inside and outside the church.
Should I Tithe and How Much?
So, do I have to tithe as a Christian? The short answer is probably, which is likely not the definite answer you were looking for. Like anything, this is more of a heart issue than a letter of the Law. 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 (NIV) states, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” As the passage states, how much to give is what the Holy Spirit impresses on your heart to give. As mentioned before, Tithe means one-tenth in Old English. So, 10% is the typical amount.
Where Does Your Tithe Go?
We have already covered what your tithing is used for normally, but how do you know what your funds are actually being used for? Every church is different in terms of how to handle and distribute the funds. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE make sure there are checks and balances at your church. Just because we are being led to give does not mean to give vicariously. If we are being negligent with our offerings, we give way to fraud and corruption within the body of Christ. There are multiple ways to gather more information when giving to prevent this.
Make sure more than one person is handling the finances
As an example, at my church we have a person that pays the bills and payroll, multiple people that count the donations, distribute them to different departments or deposit the funds and a treasurer that oversees the budget and expenses but does not personally engage in transactions in either field previously mentioned.
Where does my money go to?
Can I make sure this specifically goes to a field I want it to go to?
If it is a generic giving, how are the funds used?
Make sure to attend a budget meeting when your church has one
This meeting should be annually and go over the expenses and budget report. It is the result of the previous year and what the next year’s proposal will be. If your church does not have one, maybe it is time to bring this up. We need to hold each other accountable.
Personal Benefits to Tithing
Although your motivation to give should not be “how will this benefit me”, you do get tax deductions if your church operates solely for religious and educational purposes. The donations you make to your church throughout the year can be deducted from your taxes only if you itemize your expenses on Schedule A when you file your personal tax return. To use Schedule A, your total itemized deductions must exceed the standard deduction for your filing status. If the standard deduction provides a greater tax benefit, your church donations won't offer any additional tax savings. However, you can deduct those donations in the next five tax years that you choose to itemize deductions.
Jesus Christ left this to his Disciples, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20 NIV). Going, telling, baptizing, and teaching takes money—money God provides by giving you and me the talents and abilities to earn money to care for our families and His church.
If you are a Dave Ramsey follower, you know that in Baby Step 4 you are to save 15% in retirement. If you add 10% tithe on top, your budget already has 25% allocated. Some people simply cannot afford that. 10% is not the hard law, but you should give what you can afford to give. Think of the widow that gave her last copper coins to God. “Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you; this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on” (Mark 12:41-44).
SHOULD I BE TITHING ON A REGULAR BASIS?
July 29, 2022
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