Jesus gave excellent advice on financial investments -- though we don't usually think of His teaching this way. He said, "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:21)

Tithing is an Old Testament Concept

In the Old Testament, God commanded Israel to give ten percent of their income. This included any increase in flocks, herds, or crops. The Old English word for "one-tenth" is "tithe."

Besides the tithe, God required His people to make "offerings" for the maintenance of worship, care for the temple, the salaries of the priests. Other offerings given out of love were also accepted. When Israel failed to tithe, God accused them of "robbing" Him (see Nehemiah 13:10-13 and Malachi 3:8-13).

Some Christians feel tithing doesn't apply to them. But tithing to the priesthood of Jesus existed long before the law was given (see Hebrews 6:20 and Hebrews 7:4-10).

Christian Giving

Christians are to be free from the "love of money," and every earthly attachment. (First Timothy 6:10)

Whether Christians are supposed to tithe is debatable, but there is NO doubt that we are supposed to be givers. Jesus said that if you are generous with others, God will be generous with you.

Jesus is your model of generosity (see Luke 6:38 and Second Corinthians 8:9). In the New Testament, collections were given to help the poor and to supply the needs of ministers.

Tithing and Stewardship

Some Christians claim that tithing has boosted their respective incomes. From time to time, you may hear stories about a businessman who started giving ten percent; as he prospered, he gave twenty percent, then thirty, and so on. But there is NO magic to tithing.

The real issue is stewardship. Stewardship implies that EVERYthing you have ALREADY belongs to God. Being a good steward is managing "your" resources well, using them in ways that please God -- but not wasting them or striving to become rich. Tithing is one aspect of good stewardship.

Principles of Christian Giving

First, Christians are to give themselves. To give your "self" is more important than giving money (Second Corinthians 8:5).

Second, giving is similar to planting and reaping. "Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly" and "whoever sows generously will also reap generously" (Second Corinthians 9:6). The reaping, however, may not occur in this lifetime.

Third, you have to determine in your own heart how much you can give "cheerfully." The Bible forbids forcing anyone to give. And, of course, you are to give ONLY withIN your means (Second Corinthians 8:12 and Second Corinthians 9:7).

Fourth, God will bless "givers" to do even greater things (Second Corinthians 9:8-15).

Fifth, Paul tells each Christian to first give to the ministry meeting his or her spiritual needs. Afterward, one may consider other worthy causes (Second Corinthians 9:7-14 and Galatians 6:10).

Sixth, God wants you to be "rich in good works" (First Timothy 6:17-18). He wants you to be personally involved in helping others, and not merely to be an anonymous donor.

Giving is Worship

For us, giving is worship. It's a spiritual sacrifice -- an expression of gratitude, because everything we have and enjoy comes from God. Giving is a free expression of our love for God, whose gift to us infinitely outweighs anything we could ever give in return.