What Many Christians May Not Understand about Tithing

A Tithe is one-tenth of everything that a person gets. Tithe literally means tenth. This is given to the church for uses to aid God’s kingdom. However, this very fact causes considerable misunderstanding and confusion.

Does God need money, the most common form of a tithe? Of course not. He’s God and he can do anything He wants to do. He also owns everything. Many or most Christians have few problems with acknowledging that anything we receive as wages or any other money we are given ultimately came from God. But the money is for people, not God. That is the part where it aid’s God’s Kingdom.

Almost everything that is done by people requires money to do it. Even the ministry of Jesus cost money. It is even truer today. For example, our church has several outreach programs. We operate a food bank, clothing bank, soup kitchen, support about a dozen missionaries throughout the world, and operate a wood ministry, giving needed firewood to people who have no means to get any wood for heating. Many of the homes here are heated with wood.

On top of this, our church also helps people with immediate or emergency needs, that can range from gasoline for a vehicle, to power or water that are due to be turned off due to lack of funds to just about everything between. The labor is given freely by volunteers and that is extremely important. However, all of this requires money. All of the money that comes in through tithes and donations, goes right back out into the community.

This establishes the need for the money, but what about the tithe? This is the part that many people don’t understand. The tithe is supposed to be the very first 10% and it is set aside before anything else is done with the rest of the money or possessions. Incidentally, “holy” actually means “set aside.” The tithing has actually been the case since Cain and Abel. 

Genesis 4:2-5

Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

Why did God accept the offering of Abel but not that of Cain? This is subject to conjecture, but it is almost certain that Abel’s tithe, which was what it was, was the first fruits of the soil, while the offering of Cain was not the first of the firstborn of his flock. God must come first before anything else. If anything else comes before God, then he is no longer treated as the supreme ruler. 

Yet, this is actually how many Christians act. They will pay for this and that and if they still have the money left over, they will pay their tithe. When they do this, God is no longer first in their lives. It also becomes easy to say, “Well, I don’t have enough money this month, so I’ll just pay extra next month.” We’d have nothing if it wasn’t for God and if He can’t trust a person to return 10% of something as transitory as money, how can he trust the person with anything else? See, that is what this amounts to; it is a test. He doesn’t leave us out on a limb, either. Still, this is something that many Christians don’t understand and it is one reason they may struggle. Withholding a tithe amounts to stealing from God, that which is His.

This is a topic that needs more coverage and I plan to do so, but this should be enough to get Christians thinking about tithes and to begin to understand them.

  • Question of

    Did you know that a tithe is supposed to be the FIRST 10% of anything you receive?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Question of

    Do you regularly tithe?

    • Yes
    • No
    • Sometimes but not regularly
    • I don’t believe in tithing
    • I’m not Christian


What do you think?


Written by Rex Trulove

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