Food for the Journey: Tithing
The following blog post is an extract taken from our Food for the Journey booklet which covers seven disciplines for Christian living. If you would like to download a digital copy of the booklet and work through the daily devotions please click here: FOOD FOR THE JOURNEY
THE DISCIPLINE OF TITHING
LEARNING TO TRUST
Throughout the Old Testament the concept of the tithe was predominant. The word tithe means “the tenth”, therefore tithing is defined as the giving of a tenth of one’s income.
While Jesus in His teachings in the New Testament never mentions the tithe, He continually challenges our attitude towards our possessions and what is most important to us. (Matthew 6:24)
Jesus was not looking for dutiful ‘grit my teeth giving’ but for a genuine desire within the heart to support faithfully the body of Christ through a willing giving of a generous portion of one’s finances. He asks that we give “freely” (Matt. 10.8). Jesus never condemned the careful stewardship reflected in tithing – nowhere in the New Testament does it suggest that we give less than a tenth (Matt. 5:17), but He is looking for that voluntary giving!
Our giving must flow from an understanding of what God has done for us. We give out of hearts full of thanksgiving and love. Love compels us to soar to new heights in giving, going beyond the requirements of law.
Christian giving, then, finds its motives, objectives and dimensions in one’s personal relationship to Christ.
Our purpose in giving should be to:
2.To serve man.
3.To discipline ourselves.
As disciples of Jesus we are under His Lordship, therefore everything we have is His. We also, as His disciples, are made aware of the needs of others as we grow in Him we will find within ourselves a longing to help others in a sensitive and meaningful way. We will also find that we really care about the maintaining and functioning of His Body, the Church, and will want to fulfil our responsibility in this area.
Our key motive for giving should always be to express love and gratitude. When we choose to give our first and best to God, we really honour Him by our faith and trust in Him and our desire to glorify Him. If we were to just give Him a token offering, would that not express a token relationship with Him?
The discipline of tithing is really about learning to trust God with the practical issues of our lives. If tithing is not a practice of yours, in your quiet times with the Lord, begin with where you are at. Allow the readings and questions in the notes to stretch you from your present level of trust to where He shows you He wants you to be. Then use “faith-sized” steps to translate what you know into what you do.
Remember no one is going to judge you, these disciplines are simply to encourage and enable your growth as a disciple. Giving generously and faithfully to the Lord will be one of the most fulfilling experiences of your journey.
When the Christian is obedient to “seeking God’s Kingdom first” it is a challenging but liberating experience.