What about Tithing?
Q. I want to follow God's teachings. Can you explain what the Bible says about tithing? What if I only receive an allowance?
A. The concept of tithing (giving 10 percent of your income to God) is taught in the Old Testament. God's people are told to give the first 10 percent of their field and flocks to God. "A tithe of everything from the land—belongs to the Lord" (Leviticus 27:30, NIV). And "'Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse.—Test me in this' says the Lord, 'and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have enough room for it" (Malachi 3:10, NIV).
In the New Testament, the emphasis is on recognizing that everything we have comes from God and belongs to him. We are simply stewards, managers of the stuff that God has given us to use for his purposes. We're to give cheerfully to God and to meet the needs of others (2 Corinthians 9:7).
Is tithing still a good idea? Yes! It's a good starting place to develop the discipline of generosity. We learn to give every week, whether we feel like it or not. It's a way of remembering all that God has given us, on a weekly basis. And it also trains us to live on less than we earn—an absolutely vital lifelong skill.
Does that apply if you're only receiving an allowance? I'd say only if you want to develop generosity, gratitude and a greater ability to manage your money for a lifetime.
Marshall, a former pastor, is editor of Leadership Journal, a magazine for pastors.
Copyright © 2006 by the author or Christianity Today/Ignite Your Faith magazine.
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