The Bible is clear on tithe (the word tithe itself means ten percent), and that tithing is one more step towards obedience to God. The important thing that people miss about tithe is: God doesn’t need your money.
It is important to understand that tithing is more a demonstration of where your heart is, and that is what God cares about.
“21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
It is difficult to define poor, because what we consider poor today is so different from poor 80 years ago. Today, some are considered poor if they have to shop at a discount food store, live in a basic home, and budget due to necessity. We are so used to our abundance, we now consider poor what used to be normal.
By no means am I saying it is comfortable to live on a budget – living within your means usually is a challenge (I do it, and it can definitely be difficult). What many don’t realize is when the Bible talks about the well off people, he is talking about you and me. To put this into perspective:
If you make over $850 US dollars each year, you make more than 50% of the world population (Median Worldwide Income). If you make more than $7,000 USD per year, then you are earning more than the average person worldwide. If you make over $41,000 US Dollars per year, you’re in the top 3% of income earners in the world.
So, while raising a family on $41,000 per year may not be comfortable to the extent we would like it to be, we are far more fortunate than we could ever truly know.
Who Is Called To Give
With that said, I believe that everyone is called to give, but it is according to their heart. The Bible does say to tithe, but it also says:
2 Corinthians 9:7
“7 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.”
We should strive to tithe, but God doesn’t want your money if you are angrily throwing your tithe into a basket. This doesn’t honor God, and it doesn’t do anything positive for your relationship with Him.
The same is true for the poor. God would rather have your faith than your money, but giving is a way of displaying your faith and reliance on God. I’m not sure if I know anyone more reliant on God than the poor.
Maybe this is why Jesus was so pleased in this scripture:
Others may not have noticed the significance of her gift, but Jesus certainly did as compared the extent to which she gave to the extent of others. He clearly highlights the fact that she gave even though she was impoverished.
Mark 12: 43-44
“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.”
It can be easy to give when times are great. It doesn’t require much faith to toss a bunch of money into a basket when your bank account is loaded. In fact, some might treat it like a personal Public Relations opportunity (such as the pharisees did), but to give when you have nothing is a true demonstration of your faith.
The Importance of Tithing
Tithing is important because it shows obedience to God and it helps to sustain the body of Christ. People might point to a few misuses they’ve seen in the past, and cite them as to why they don’t tithe, but this is what I see when I tithe:
- The poor being fed.
- Orphanages getting proper funding to take care of the children they love.
- Homeless shelters getting the supplies they need.
- and yes, some of the money goes to the church to pay the bills.
More good has come from people tithing than bad ever could have, so don’t let one bad apple spoil the bunch. A huge portion of the world population is blessed by this act.
Tithing is important, but it is more important to understand why you are tithing. It isn’t about making a pastor pleased, it isn’t about impressing the person next to you, and it isn’t about a fear of going to hell for not doing it. Tithing should be done with a joyful heart to express to God your faith and reliance on Him.
Should The Poor Give
The poor should give as they believe in their heart they should. Jesus would not have gone up to the widow and taken the mite from her hand. Had the widow not thrown in her offering, and approached Jesus for prayer, I’m sure he would have blessed her abundantly because He knows her heart, He knows my heart, and He knows your heart.
If giving is a problem for you, or for an impoverished person, the more critical question is where your heart is. If you truly love and place your faith in God, and aren’t grasping onto money because it is your true master, then it shouldn’t be a problem.
But if you examine your heart and know deeply that it is because you lack faith that you are holding onto the money, then some work needs to be done. Give what you can or what you feel led to give with a joyful heart. I believe we should give 10%, and that should be our goal to build up to if we can’t do it right now.
I can only advise you on what the Bible says about giving, but don’t let me, or anyone else convince you on what you should do because that is between you and God. Prayerfully consider what you are to do, and use the Bible as a primary resource.
Do you think the poor should give?