TITHING IS THE FOUNDATION OF GIVING
The Bible teaches us a baseline standard for giving: the tithe. When we give the first 10% of our income to the church, we put God first in our lives. Tithing is an act of worship that expresses our gratitude, faith, and love for others.
Literally, “tithe” means a tenth and refers to the practice of returning to God 10% of our gross income. Scripture teaches that the tithe belongs to God (Leviticus 27:30). That is why when we fail to tithe, we rob God of that which rightfully belongs to Him (Malachi 3:8-9).
Stewardship refers to the fact that God made us managers, not owners. Everything we have belongs to God. “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” (Psalm 24:1). When God created humans, He placed them in a position of managing the earth, not owning it (Genesis 2:15). Understanding this is foundational to the practice of tithing because once we appreciate that God owns everything, it flows that we would return to God a portion of what He has given us.
BEYOND THE TITHE
By definition, a tithe is 10% of our gross income returned to God and offerings are amounts we give in excess of that. A great example of a biblical offering is described by the Apostle Paul when he was collecting an offering from the Corinthian church to be taken to Jerusalem to support those in need there (1 Corinthians 16:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8:1-15; 9:5-15). This would be akin to a modern-day church taking up a special offering for benevolence, to provide for the poor or individuals with particular needs. While tithing refers to a set percentage of our income, offerings have no numeric limit. Paul only advises that they be given with generosity and cheerfulness.