Tithing 101: What Tithing Means and Why Christians Are Called to Tithe
When my daughter was born, my husband and I decided that I would leave my full-time job and stay home with the baby. One of the things we continued to do, no matter how much or how little we had, was tithe. We did not tithe out of religious obedience. We tithed because we knew it pleased God to do so.
In hindsight, that decision was one of the most important decisions Christopher and I made in our marriage. It shifted the trajectory of our lives, as it pertained to how we understood our finances, and stewarded the money we had.
Neither of us understood all of what our tithe entailed as far as the benefits it would bring to our lives, but God has been faithful to bring us into greater understanding by offering him our firstfruits. If you’re new to the concept of tithing or just looking for a better understanding of why Christians tithe, here is what you need to know.
Two Things to Remember Before We Talk about Tithing:
Before exploring how our finances are involved in God’s call to Kingdom Living, I’d like to offer two important prefaces:
- Our bank accounts or amount of material possessions do not determine God’s faithfulness to us.
- Our bank accounts or amount of material possessions do not signify our faithfulness/faithlessness to God.
There is a reason why Paul wrote the following passage to the church in Philippi:
“...I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I find myself. I know both how to make do with little, and I know how to make do with a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content -- whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13)
My friend, you do not ever need to be ashamed of, or feel valued or devalued by what God has given you. Every material possession we have is from Him, and all of it is to be used for His glory, no matter the quantity. Ultimately, this is the reason we can be content in all situations concerning our finances!
This article isn’t so much about what you do or don’t have, but how to be a good steward of the portion God has given you.
Why Is Trusting God with Our Finances Important?
Here is the quick and simple answer: Trusting God with our money is important because God desires for us to trust Him with our entire lives—of which money is just one part. Scripture says this, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
When God created the world, He made man and woman in His own image. He created them like Him, to accomplish His will, and to extend His glory. Nothing about mankind was designed to be separate from God.
Imagine with me for a moment what it would have been like to be the man and woman in the garden: to have direct contact with God; to have such close communion with your Creator. It had to be such a beautiful and joyful time.
Now, some would say that the woman (as she wasn’t given a name until after the fall) was crazy for doing the one thing God told her not to do. However, the heart issue was that the woman stopped trusting God. The serpent used this to deceive her and plant a seed of mistrust in her heart between herself and God.
Fast forward to today—we, like Adam and Even, have total and complete access to God the Father through the redemptive blood of Christ. We have with us, every moment of every day, His Spirit, which dwells in us and makes us temples of the living God, from the moment we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior (1 Cor 6:19-20). When we become baptized in the Holy Spirit, we are also filled with and empowered by the Spirit to do the work of the Lord on this earth (Luke 3:22, Luke 4:1, Luke 4:14).
Tithing: One Way We Begin To Trust God with Our Finances
The senior leader at my church relates money to the Kingdom of God in this way: He says that faith is the currency of Heaven, while money is the currency of this earth. I believe when we honor God with both our faith and our money, we will see Him move in new ways in our lives according to His plan and will!
God desires to move in our lives, both naturally and supernaturally; honoring Him with the resources He’s given us invites Him to do that.
As it pertains to faith, this is what Scripture tells us. Hebrew 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please him [God], for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”
Our faith draws us near to God to seek Him for whatever we need. Pertaining to our earthly currency, Proverbs 3:9-10 says, “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce, then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.”
I love that this Scripture begins with honor. It is because we honor God’s Lordship over our lives that we give Him our firstfruits. For many, parting ways with 10% (tithe means “one tenth”) of their money can be difficult. Some don’t give their firstfruits because they don’t trust their church’s stewardship. Some fear that if they give their full tithe, they won’t have enough to meet their own needs.
These reasons are understandable. However, honoring God with our money is the first step to seeing His will for our finances come to fruition. Honoring the Lord is bigger and more impactful than the failings of people, or our own personal fears.
Our money is very much connected to the mandate of the Kingdom of Heaven on this earth. When bring our hearts to a place of seeking to honor God with our faith and finances, we put ourselves in the best position to steward our money for His glory, and to know Him as our Provider.
The Benefits of Tithing: Honoring the Lord with Our Money
Since honoring God with our money is part of Kingdom stewardship, there are spiritual benefits and promises given to us for doing so.
First, when we honor God with our firstfruits, Proverbs 3:9 says that our barns will be filled to overflow. In Hebrew, the word for barn means storehouse. One of the definitions of storehouse is a repository. A repository is an abundant supply of facts and knowledge. Simply put, when we tithe, we access the mind and wisdom of God! This means that the Lord will give us strategies to manage our possessions well. He will also give us strategies to increase our material possessions so that we can continue to extend the Kingdom of God on this Earth.
Secondly, we gain access to Heaven’s weapons. Another definition of a storehouse is a magazine, or a place where gunpowder and weaponry are stored. In Malachi 3:10-12, “Lord of Hosts” is mentioned three times. This name of God also means Lord of Angel Armies. So here, we see the tithe is associated with these things:
- Spiritual weapons and strategy
- Angelic protection
- The manifest will, and destiny of God in our lives
Destiny is included here because where angels are present, the word and will of the Lord for our lives, or our destiny, is in motion. Psalm 103:19-22 says,
“The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all. Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do not do his word, obeying the voice of his word! Bless the Lord, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will! Bless the Lord, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul!”
The only time the enemy comes onto the scene is to steal, kill, or destroy something from God’s people. Ultimately, he wants to stop the advancement of the Kingdom of God on the earth through God’s people.
God wants His will accomplished on earth, and he chooses to invite us to be a part of it through every part of our lives. He gives us the chance to offer our income and profits to make an eternal impact. The finances God gives us are simply tools to be used for His glory. Like I said, the amount we have doesn’t matter to God. He is always able to bless a little and cause it to have a large impact (Mark 6:38-34).
What God desires most is for his people to be good stewards over what we have, so that His glory can be made known!
Britnee Bradshaw is a wife, mama, and author. She enjoys reading several books at once, making vegetarian meals from scratch, and strolling around Saturday morning farmer's markets. You can find her blogs, teachings, and her newest eBook, War For Your Covering: A Wife's Guide to Intercessory Prayer, at her website here (www.britbradshaw.com).