How Should I Give? Way #1: Tithing

How should I give?

Way #1: Tithing


When I was a kid I used to go visit my grandparents for a few weeks during the summer. When I visited them I would always go to work with my grandpa. While I always enjoyed working and spending time with him, I also looked forward to the day he would pay me. I remember one summer when I was about 12 years old, my grandpa paid me $100. As you might imagine, as a 12 year old, I was excited to have so much money. When I got back home from visiting my grandparents, I remember talking to my dad one day about the $100 I had made and he asked me, “Are you going to give a tithe to the church?” I remember thinking, “Is he serious? I’m just 12 years old. I can’t believe he wants me to give some of my money to the church.” So I said, “Well, I don’t know. If I tithe on $100 it would only leave me with $90 and I have never had $100 before.” To which my dad replied, “Well Jeremy, God is the one who allowed you the opportunity and the health to even make that money.” I couldn’t argue with that. Talk about bursting a kid’s bubble.

I was frustrated at the time, but little did I know my dad was trying to teach me that everything belonged to God, He is the one who provided the money, and we trust in the Provider, not what’s provided. I was clinging to the money without giving a thought of who provided the money and ultimately to whom the money belonged. I had the “This is my money!” mindset and I am thankful my dad taught me how to think differently, as well as eternally, even though I did not understand it at the time. When I got older I finally understood that I am not the owner of any money I earn, I am simply the manager of it. My job is not to cling to money but to be obedient to my owner and sensitive to where he leads me to put his money. In this instance, I was learning the starting point of giving, which is the “tithe” which literally means “a tenth part.”

Here are some verses in Scripture that affirm the tithe:

“Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the Lord’s; it is holy to the Lord” (Leviticus 27:30). This was a mandatory practice for the Israelites.

“Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce” (Proverbs 3:9). God wants us to give him the first and best of everything we earn. This mean we should not buy everything we need or want and then see if we have enough money left to tithe. This means we should tithe first.

“Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need” (Malachi 3:8-10). We have to realize that when we do not tithe we are actually robbing God. But if we will obey God out of faith, he will bless us beyond measure.

You may be thinking, “Sure it says to tithe in the Old Testament, but what does the New Testament say about tithing?”

Well, it does not speak of tithing as much as the Old Testament, but rather more about voluntary offerings and sacrificial giving, which we will talk about later. However Jesus does affirm the tithe in Matthew 23:23. It seems to me if Jesus affirmed the tithe, then we should obey it. But because the tithe is not specifically mentioned as a practice of the New Testament Church, many Christians do not believe they should have to tithe.

I have tried to be sensitive to this subject and have wrestled with it myself. When I was younger I remember researching tithing just so I could try to prove that it was not a biblical command to Christians. I did not want to have to give 10% of “my money” to my church, so I was looking for a way to get out of it without feeling the conviction of the Holy Spirit. I also thought to myself that since we are saved by grace through faith in Christ, I should not have to give a tithe because God should accept me and love me for who I am. Unfortunately “who I am” was a selfish man looking to only build his own kingdom instead of helping build the eternal Kingdom. The root of my problem was not that I thought if I did not tithe then God would not love me. The root of my problem was self-centeredness. I wanted as much as I could get and I did not want to give it to anyone. Without knowing it, I was finding my identity in money and possessions and also trusting in them instead of God.

Take a look at what the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 1,

“…they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.” There were people in first century Rome who Paul said were worshiping the things God created instead of God, the Creator, himself. This is exactly what we do when we do not tithe. When we do not tithe or give any money, we are basically saying, “I trust money more than I trust God.”   We have actually created an idol in this moment because we are expecting money to do for us what only God can do for us.  We are expecting money to bring fulfillment to our souls but ultimate satisfaction is only found in God though his son, Jesus Christ. 

So we must realize that everything is God’s and He is also the Creator of everything including any type of currency. So when we choose not to tithe or give, we are choosing the creation over the Creator.

But I also hope you will understand this fact: God does not need your money.

He is never in need. Remember as we saw before in Psalm 24:1 and Haggai 2:8 that God already owns everything. He actually asks us to tithe and give for our benefit which ultimately leads to the benefit of His eternal kingdom. When we tithe and give, we become less dependent on money and more dependent on God. This leads to freedom from worry and anxiety that stems from our finances. More importantly, the more dependent we are on God, the more he can use us to build his eternal Kingdom. The rich man who hoards everything for himself is of no use to God. Even if he claims to know Christ, his faith is only an inch deep because his trust is in his money, not God. So who does the rich man really follow? Who is really his God? To love God is to depend on God and we cannot depend on God if we are not practicing the spiritual discipline of tithing.

You may think at this point, “But we are under the grace of the New Covenant in Christ, so how dare you say that I don’t depend on God if I do not tithe?”

Should not each person be able to give what he or she chooses as long as they give something? Well, I am glad you asked that question! This is actually a very common one. I will answer this question by pointing you toward the teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. Here are a few things that He teaches:

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” (Matthew 5:21-22)

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28)
“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” (Matthew 5:31-32)

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.  And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.  And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.” (Matthew 5:38-41)

 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43-44)

So now you may say, “Those are great words from Jesus, but what does that have to do with tithing?”

Well, let’s take a closer look at these statements. Jesus begins by saying “You have heard that it was said…” When He says this He is referring to the Old Testament laws that were given to Moses. These were laws that the Jews took very seriously. But after He says this, He follows each statement with, “But I say to you…” in each of the statements that come after the phrase, “But I say to you…” we never once see Jesus lowering the standard of the Old Testament law. Instead, in each “But I say to you…” statement, He follows it by raising the standard. But He does not just raise the standard a small amount, He raises the standard radically. So by examining the radical statements of Jesus in his teachings, and also the commands that God gives the Israelites to tithe in the Old Testament verses we considered earlier, why would we think Jesus would expect his people to give less money today than he did from the Israelites in the Old Testament? This would be completely against his character and would be inconsistent of the New Testament teachings of Jesus. Jesus would not raise the standard in everything and then lower the standard when it comes to tithing and giving. It is just too inconsistent to even consider.

So to answer the initial question, yes, each person should be able to give what he or she chooses.

We are under the grace of the New Covenant in Christ so we certainly do not want to become legalists when it comes to the 10%. But if you are using this grace in order to give less than 10% then I urge you to consider these teachings of Jesus. Many times we give less than 10% because we have yet to become totally dependent on God and it scares us to give up “our money” out of fear we would not have enough for other things. This kind of giving takes faith, but that’s what giving is all about. Trust God even when you are scared. Trust God even when it hurts. This will strengthen your faith more than you could ever imagine. Remember what is printed on your money: A bunch of dead guys who can’t even use it, which we should consider every time we look at our money. When we go into the grave, money will become worthless. But what is also printed are the words, “In God We Trust”. It is my prayer that this statement be the truth when you consider the great privilege of tithing to God’s eternal Kingdom.

Giving Part 4: All Money is God’s Money

Why Should I Give?

Reason #2
All Money is God’s Money

Have you ever been confronted by one of your parents (or maybe you were the parent doing the confronting) for something they found in your room while you were not home?  This has happened to most teenagers I know, as well as myself when I was a teen.  When this happens, your initial reaction will be to say, “What were you doing in my room?”  To which your parent will usually respond, “That is my room, I just let you live there.”  

The Same Concept 

The same concept applies when it comes to God and our money.  All money we have is God’s money, he just allows us to manage it.  Here are a few verses that suggest this truth: 

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.  The world and all its people belong to him.”  (Psalm 24:1 NLT)

“The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” (Haggai 2:8 NLT)

“But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth.”  (Deuteronomy 8:18 NIV)

Because we do not own any of our money, it is our job to manage it in a way that brings God the most glory.  The mindset of “That’s my money!” has to leave us if we are going to be successful managers.

In his book, The Treasure Principle, Randy Alcorn writes,

“A steward manages assets for the owner’s benefit.  The steward carries no sense of entitlement to the assets he manages.  It’s his job to find out what the owner wants done with his assets, then carry out his will.”


What About You?

Maybe as you are reading this blog post you realize you have the “That’s my money!” mindset and you are becoming uncomfortable at even the thought of giving some of “your” money away.  Don’t worry!  This is a good indication that God is already stirring your heart for action in giving.  Why is it so uncomfortable Because we are fallen people, and sinners are selfish by nature.  It is not a human quality to be generous and give money to the church, it is a godly quality.  So if you are experiencing some conviction and uneasiness, remember it’s normal.  God is working on your heart and teaching you to trust him.

I Am Certain of This

When God’s people accept this concept of “All money is God’s money” and combine it with the previous “Our hope is in Jesus, not money” concept from previous blogs, the way money is viewed and handled drastically changes, and God is glorified.  They quickly become Zacchaeus Kinds of Christians.

The next blog post will cover the specific ways God calls us to give.

In Christ,


Giving Part 3: A Fist Full of Air

Giving Part 3:

A Fist Full of Air


 You can find the first part of the giving series here, and the second part here.

Christian Hip-Hop artist, Lecrae says in his song “Boasting”,

“Tomorrow’s never promised, but it is we swear.  Think we’re holding our own, just a fist full of air. God has never been obligated to us life.  If we fall for our rights, we’d be in hell tonight.”

This is one of my all-time favorite lines by Lecrae because it rings so true.  We live our lives as if tomorrow is promised and we are holding our own lives together.  But in reality, tomorrow is never promised and the life we think we are holding together is just a fist full of air.  It’s holding on to nothing.  It’s false hope and false security.  If we think it’s our right to live another day on this earth, we have sadly mistaken.  The only thing we have a right to do is die and spend eternity in hell, separated from God.  Why?  Because that’s all we have earned.  It’s only by God’s grace any of us are living right now!  Any other view on this topic is just a fist full of air.  Unfortunately, the Rich Young Ruler in Matthew 19 held a huge fist full of air.    

Comparing the Rich Young Ruler to Zacchaeus.

16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 27 Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world,b]”>[b] when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfoldc]”>[c] and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.- Matthew 19

After the Rich Young Ruler discovers what Jesus requires of him, he walks away.  He decides that eternal life is not worth more than his “fist full of air”.

I can’t help but wonder what this rich man was thinking.  He came seeking eternal life, but decided it was not worth it once he discovered he could not earn it by his actions and would also have to surrender the security he found in money and possessions.  To him, tomorrow was promised and he was the one holding his own life together.  So why would he need Jesus to save him when in reality, this man viewed himself as his own savior?

This is in direct contradiction to the way Zacchaeus reacted when he met Jesus.  Zacchaeus realized that Jesus was the real treasure and that nothing on this earth came close to comparing.  He understood that all the money in the world could not take care of him and comfort him like Jesus could.  The rich man failed to understand these important things.  If only he had sold everything he had and followed Jesus, every need of his would have been met.  He would have been exceedingly richer than he ever imagined if only He had chosen to put his hope in Jesus.  Instead, he chose to walk away with a fist full of air, putting his hope in money and possessions, and left the real treasure on the table.  




Giving Part 2: A Zacchaeus Kind of Christian

The next three posts will answer the question:

Why Should I Give?


A Zacchaeus Kind of Christian

Jesus actually spoke of money many times. Probably because there is a direct connection between our spiritual lives and how we view money. Consider the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19:


19 He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich.And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”


After his heart was changed by Jesus, he gave back four times as much money as he stole from people. Why? Because he gained an eternal perspective on life and realized that Jesus is worth far more than any amount of money. After all those years of finding security in money, Zacchaeus probably wonders, “Is this really all there is to life? There’s got to be something better out there.” When he finally discovers something far more valuable than money, he decides to give his money away. By doing so, Zacchaeus ends up with far less money, but because of his life-changing encounter with Jesus, Zacchaeus considers himself the richest man in the world.

So what does this tell us about Zacchaeus?

It should tell us that he stopped relying on money and started relying on Christ. Think about it. What a moment of freedom this must have been for Zacchaeus. I can imagine his anxiety of always trying to get more money. He also probably became tired of people hating him for being a corrupt tax collector. We don’t know much about Zacchaeus, but I imagine his whole life revolved around money. When he meets Jesus he is delivered from the weight of his “money-happy” lifestyle. With Jesus he no longer has to worry about having enough money to take care of himself because he knows Jesus will meet his needs. He no longer has to be concerned with having fancy things because nothing is more valuable than Jesus. He no longer has to worry about maintaining a powerful image of being a tax collector because his power and identity are now found in Christ. Zacchaeus gave his life to Christ and it was certainly on display when his view of money radically changed.

What about you?

Maybe this is you. Always worried about money and if you will have enough for the things you want to buy such as the latest iPhone or the most stylish clothes. If so, Jesus is worth more than anything money can buy and he has offered himself to you for free. Maybe you struggle with identity and think if you could just have nicer clothes or fancier things, you would be more popular and important to others. Remember, Jesus is infinitely more valuable than anything you could ever attain or buy on this earth, and he is already yours. You are more important to him than anyone on this earth. He is your identity!

So take notes from Zacchaeus and stop finding false security in money and possessions, and start finding true security in Christ which will lead to less worry and ultimate freedom from the burden that is yourself. You may be wondering, “So should we just not have a job or just give all of our money away?” That’s not the point here. The point is that we should not place our hope in money, but in God. When we put our hope and trust in anything besides God, we have created an idol. An idol is anything we expect to do for us what only God can do for us. True hope is only found in God through Jesus Christ. This view of money will allow you the freedom to give like you never imagined. When we know Jesus is our only hope, we gain an eternal perspective on life. When this happens we learn to cling tightly to him and hold loosely to everything else. So don’t limit yourself to temporary treasures that will one day pass. Everything we own will one day end up in a landfill, the Ford Fiesta and the Lamborghini alike. So think bigger than that. When you think of treasure, think of Jesus. He is the only one who is eternal, and eternal should always be the mindset of a Christian. Zacchaeus understood this. So be a Zacchaeus kind of Christian.





Giving Part 1: My Next Door Neighbor

The next few blogs are excerpts from a study I wrote a few years ago on financial stewardship.  This was a study initially written for youth, but is relevant to all Christians.  I am hoping this first blog will help us reorient our lives on Christ as we see the big picture of eternity.  When this happens, we can begin to have a renewed perspective on money.  A perspective that is eternal, healthy, and gospel-centered.  In the posts following this one, I will answer two questions:

1.  Why should I give?  

2.  How should I give?

My Next Door Neighbor

As a fan of the 90s television show Seinfeld, when I think of a next door neighbor I think of Kramer.  Kramer was always coming over to his neighbor Jerry’s apartment for anything he could get from him.  Without asking, he would eat his food, watch his TV, use his table, his shaving cream or anything else he could find.  When Jerry was at home, Kramer was always just a door away and would visit frequently.  Kramer was the type of neighbor who did not have to be invited in order to visit Jerry’s apartment.  There was never a time when Kramer was not expected to make an appearance at Jerry’s apartment.  Even when Jerry did not want Kramer at his apartment, he would often come anyway because he had his own key.

Similarly, death is like Kramer.  He can come at any time.  There is not a day when death cannot take us.  Death does not have to be invited in order to come over because he has his own key.  Death is just one door over from your apartment, but unlike the way Jerry treats Kramer, you don’t even acknowledge death as your neighbor.  You walk past his door everyday but never think this will be the day he will visit.  You think if you ignore him long enough he will just move away.  But in reality, he has not leased the apartment next to yours, he has bought it. Because of this, you know he’s not moving, so you better be prepared to meet him.  

Consider this parable that Jesus taught in Luke 12:  

 “And he told them a parable, saying, ‘The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.’”

In this parable, Jesus tells a story of a farmer who is very wealthy and uses all of his wealth for himself.  He sees success, satisfaction, and total security in everything he has acquired.  He figures there is nothing more to life than to take care of himself and relax, eat, drink, and be merry.  But like many of us, this man has false hope and security in his wealth.  He is also very selfish with his wealth due to the false hope and security it brings him.

No Security in Wealth

When it’s time to die, wealth will not keep us alive.  There is no security in wealth or any material thing in this world.  The only security we have is in Jesus Christ, and tragically, this man did not profess faith in him.  Author and Pastor Warren Weirsbe writes about this man, “The man lived without God and died without God, and his wealth was but an incident in his life. God is not impressed with our money.”  

When my sister died at the young age of 18, I realized that I was not bulletproof anymore.  We all live with a false sense of security until that imaginary rug gets ripped from underneath us.  We think, “Death is what happens to other people’s family members, not mine.”  And we certainly do not believe anything bad could ever happen to ourselves.  When we believe this nonsense it is easy to give more value to our money than it deserves.  Without an eternal perspective on life, we will become like the farmer, becoming overly concerned with riches we can attain while on earth.  What a sad existence it must be to live as if this earth and our time spent here is all there is.

So snap into reality.  With death as your next door neighbor, the only way we can be prepared to meet him is not by obtaining wealth.  The only way to be prepared is to have already met the Conqueror beforehand.  And good news, Jesus has conquered death long ago.


We will continue tomorrow answering the question: “Why should I give?”

Think eternal,


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