Why Give?

Tithing – The Spiritual Bang For Your Bucks!

“Tithing” – the word turns some people’s stomachs into knots.  The word literally means “ten.”  The Biblical principles involved in tithing are richly rewarding!

“Jesus talked much about money.  Sixteen of the thirty-eight parables were concerned with how to handle money and possessions.  In the gospels, an amazing one out of ten verses (288 in all) deal directly with the subject of money.  The Bible offers 500 verses on prayer, less than 500 verses on faith, but more than 2000 verses on money and possessions.
  -Howard L. Dayton Jr. 

Let’s start and end with the Word of God: 

“On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up …”    - 1 Corinthians 16:2 

We can discover most of the principles of tithing in that single scripture.

“Give and it will be given to you.”

Discovery Principle #1 – “It’s Personal”

The first principle is simple… it’s about you.  

What others give should not determine what we give. 

Sometimes we are mislead by financial guidelines that compare what individuals are giving enabling you to set your givings accordingly.  We also might be mislead in thinking someone else can do our giving for us – they can’t!   Not your spouse or parent or anyone else.  When there is one wage earner in the family spouses can still participate in the giving process.  Children and youth can also be encouraged to give to God according to their incomes whatever its source. 

Discovery Principle #2 – “It’s Punctual” 

Punctual means regularly.  Once a week, week in, week out.   Sometimes we just don’t feel like giving or our hearts and resources might be swayed by some other attraction.   When we give punctually giving becomes punctual and will take place regardless of our moods or impulsive natures.  Regularity takes much of the anxiety of weekly decision making away.

Let’s be frank about people’s attitudes and anxieties when it comes to giving.  

Many are anxious about having enough.  Jesus said about this, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:26. See 25-34 for Jesus’ teaching about anxiety over possessions). 

What is your attitude toward money?  Money represents the results of our labour.   We fool ourselves when we talk about it belonging to us however.   After all, did God not give you your next breath of fresh air?   Everything we have comes from God including our ability to earn.

With the simple decision to give punctually you can make one basic decision and our anxieties and attitudes that can get in the way can be laid to rest. 

Punctuality also saves us from fooling ourselves in thinking we’re very generous.  For example if  something has touched us and we respond by donating $100 we might consider ourselves to be incredibly generous.  But when we divide that over a year, it amounts to less than a Toonie a week, which when looked at that way, not many of us would think we’re great givers.   That brings us to our next principle.   

Discover Principle #3 – “It’s Proportional”

As you are already aware, deeply imbedded in the act of tithing is the principle of proportionality.  To tithe is to give as you have received. When you tithe, it is no longer a business transaction between you and the church, it suddenly and joyously becomes a transaction between you and God – the same person who entrusted you with those resources in the first place!   

When it comes to church budgets some wonder, ‘what’s my share?’  Such an approach spells spiritual malnutrition for you.   Better is to total up your income, your resources, your blessings in order to determine what share God would have you give.  

A more appropriate approach is to ask the question of yourself, “What proportion can I return to God for His work in order to confirm that all I am and all I have comes from God?”  

Discover Principle #4 – “It’s A Priority” 

I love those P’s!  Personal; Punctual; Proportional, Priority.   

The priority involved in tithing is the principle of “First Fruits” or to set aside God’s share first.   

God’s share comes off the top of all He has given us, not off the bottom, the leftovers.  Most of us are tempted to order our lives the other way around.  We consider it prudent to take care of all our necessities and then see if there’s something left for God.   The tither takes care of God’s share first and then uses the rest on necessities and luxuries. 

Such an approach reorganizes your whole life!  All that brave talk about ‘Jesus first; Others second; and Yourself third’ becomes a reality for the first time!  JOY is the result of putting God first as we actually live what we profess.  

“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.”   -2 Corinthians 9:7

Discovery Principle #5 – “It’s Risk”

Imbedded in the principle of tithing is risk, which helps us to grow in faith in God’s provision. 

The Financial Times, our accountant and financial planner would advise us to ‘pay yourself first.’   If we take the Discovery Principle #4 “It’s a Priority” seriously, and take God’s share off the top of our income, then we begin to live by faith, living adventurously! 

Most of us with mortgages, children and care payments wonder how in the world we can live off of 100% of our income, never mind 90%!   To live by faith, trusting in God’s provision brings wonder and amazement into our lives.  The unanimous testimony of tithers is ‘it’s fun!’   

Occasionally you will hear someone tell you that if you tithe, you will get that back plus interest, every time.  You have to be pretty gullible to believe that, and it may happen, although I wouldn’t hold my breath!   Tithing is not a simple investment with a 100% guarantee.  If you want that, invest in a GIC.  If tithing were like a GIC, it would take all the fun out of it. 

You can trust that God will not let you go bankrupt or starve, but you may also have to learn delayed gratification, or to do without some luxuries.   However, a gift that doesn’t make a difference to our lifestyles, a gift that doesn’t require you to step out in faith is hardly a gift at all!  

So Where Do I Begin?

1. Begin with Prayer

Start with a conversation with God.  Pray for understanding, His guidance in these matters, and the Spirit’s capacity to follow His will for your life.  

2. Consider Your Income From All Sources

Tally up all the cash flow resources God has entrusted you with.  If you’re doing this with your spouse, include that person in this process.   Consider what 10% is of all your incomes.  Then consider these Biblical principles we have learned: 

Personal: Give as an individual 

Punctual Give regularly – even on vacation.

Proportional Give from your total income

Priority Give first to God as your first fruits

Risk Give trusting in God’s provision 

3. How To Decide How Much To Give

The tithe (10%) is the biblical guideline.  Some would say that real giving begins above and beyond the tithe.  However, the tithe is not a legalistic requirement.  In the freedom that Christ gives us, we are responsible for considering what our own personal financial commitment to His Kingdom work might be.  

Remember, God knows your capabilities and limitations.  Truth is, some tip their waitresses more than they would give to God!  For some to simply tithe their income would be far less than giving according to biblical principles.  

An easy way to calculate a tithe is to consider what your annual income is, calculate what 10% is and then divide that number by 52 weeks.  

Frequently asked is, “Should we tithe our gross income before taxes, or our net after tax income?”  Of course such decisions are very personal and quite arbitrary.  Some have found it helpful to tithe to the church their net income, then give to other charities and organizations 10% of the difference between your gross and net income – but that’s only one possible way to move forward. You may choose to do something else after prayerful consideration.  

Remember, it is your responsibility to fix the percentage you give before God.  

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. -Matthew 6:21

4.  How Do We Go About Giving To The Church?

The Church provides offering envelopes.  It then provides tax receipts annually which can be used as a Income Tax Credit, which allows  you to maximize  your donations.  The envelope has three parts: 

Tithes & Offerings; which tends to the support of the local congregational and its mission.

Presbyterians Sharing; which tends the support of The Presbyterian Church In Canada.

Building Fund: which provides for the capital needs of the local congregation. 

Pre-Authorized Remittance (PAR) is also very helpful for those who want to be certain to give punctually and with priority.  You simply need to provide banking information to our treasurer, and the amount you would like deducted from your account, and it can be directly deposited to the Church’s account.  Your desires can be changed at any time by contacting our Treasurer.    Even if you’re away, you never miss a Sunday with PAR!  

We started with the Word of God; let’s end with it

Remember our text?  

“On the first day of every week   PUNCTUAL

Each one of you                   PERSONAL

Should set aside a sum of money   PRIORITY

In keeping with your income           PROPORTIONAL

            1 Corinthians 16:2

My God will supply every need…   RISK

               Philippians 4:19

May He bless you and keep you as you venture onto the broad and adventurous pathway of financial faithfulness through our Lord Jesus Christ.