Why is tithing important?
The tithe is 10% of your income, and it should be given to God faithfully. Tithing honors the Scriptural principles of generously providing for religious leaders, giving to those in need, and laying up treasures in heaven.
Throughout Scripture, we are encouraged to give the first part of our resources to God as an expression of honor and gratitude. “Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine” (Proverbs 3:9–10).
Understand the Biblical Basis for Tithing
Tithing is mentioned throughout the Old Testament, particularly when God commissioned the Israeli tribe of Levi to serve by caring for the tabernacle and providing spiritual leadership for the nation of Israel. Since the tribe of Levi was given these two unique responsibilities, God did not assign to them a portion of land (as He had assigned portions of land to the other tribes of Israel), but He instructed the rest of the Israelites to bring tithes of their increase to provide for the priests and Levites. (See Numbers 18.)
In the New Testament, Jesus affirmed the practice of tithing (see Matthew 23:23), and the Apostle Paul encouraged Christians to give to those in need and to those who were ministering in the Gospel (see II Corinthians 9:6–15). When you tithe today, you enable those whom God has called to serve as pastors, missionaries, and ministry personnel to faithfully build up the Church and expand the kingdom of God.
Put It Into Practice
Tithing is one way to worship God—to honor Him as your provider and remind yourself that all of your resources belong to Him and are provided through His grace. As you give away that first 10% of your income, you set your course to honor God in the way you handle the rest of your finances.
- When to Give
Consider your pay schedule, and establish a pattern of giving when your resources increase. This habit allows you to regularly remind yourself of God’s faithfulness and to express gratitude to Him by giving to meet the needs of others.
- Where to Give
Typically, the tithe should be given to the local church where you worship. These gifts support your pastor and ministry staff members who are actively serving you, and they help maintain the work of the church in your community. As God prospers you and directs you, additional gifts can be given to other ministries that are advancing the Gospel.
- What to Give
The tithe is 10% of your gross income. In addition to giving 10% of your monetary income, consider giving God the firstfruits of other resources as well, such as your time (giving Him the first part of your day in a quiet time and taking one day in seven to focus on worship and rest) and energies (investing your gifts and abilities in your church and community).
- How to Give
Your motives for giving are important to God. “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work” (II Corinthians 9:7–8). Give with the expectation that God will faithfully supply whatever you need so that you can abound in good works!
Grow in the Fear of the Lord
The practice of tithing provides a regular reminder of your dependence on God. In good times, tithing helps you remember that God is the source of all blessings, and it allows you to demonstrate your gratitude for His care. In hard times, tithing motivates you to remember God’s faithfulness, and it enables you to demonstrate trust in God to provide for all of your needs.
In Deuteronomy 14:22–23, God instructed the Israelites: “Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed . . . . of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the Lord thy God always.” Whatever your current situation, tithing is a key to learning to live in the fear of God.
Store Up Treasure in Heaven
As Christians, we are challenged to set our hearts on what truly matters, not on the frivolous things of the earth. (See Colossians 3:1–2.) Jesus challenged His disciples, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not beak through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19–21).
Giving a tithe and giving beyond the tithe are ways that you can honor God and reach out to meet the needs of others. “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10).
This material is adapted from pages 67–69 of the Men’s Manual, Volume II.