giving

Tithing 101: Why is Tithing Important?

TITHING 101

Tithing: Let’s talk about one of the historically most uncomfortable & avoided topics amongst friends—money. While 1 Timothy 6:10 reminds us that the love of money is the root of all evil, the evil is not in the money itself. God isn’t disgusted with money. He doesn’t ask His children to abandon the concept of money all together.  He doesn’t ask us to live outside of the culture in isolation and poverty. Rather, Yahweh shows that His heart for us is fruitfulness. He shows that tithing is the pathway to financial fruit. Let’s start with some of the basics.

WHAT IS A TITHE?

The word Tithe means 1/10th. Biblically, tithing is the practice in which we give 10% of our income back to the Lord through our local congregation.

WHAT ARE TITHES USED FOR? 

Historically, tithes were used to support the livelihood of priests in order to make room in their daily schedule to serve Yahweh and His people. Today, not much has changed. Churches use tithes to support pastoral staff and maintain the church building. Often tithes are used in conjunction with projects/programs to support the Church’s mission.

WHAT IF I CAN’T AFFORD TO TITHE? 

We have all been in that spot when it seems that our money is spent before we even get it. In such cases, it is easy to assume that God’s heart for us is to reduce the financial strain and thereby release us from our duty to tithe. But the reality is that God promises provision and abundance through tithing, not by avoiding it.

In Malachi 3:10, the Lord says, “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.”

That is a pretty powerful promise. But the Lord’s goodness extends far beyond the surface. The phrase “open the window of heaven….and pour down for you a blessing” reference the opening of the heavens and the pouring out of rain that came down during the days of Noah. With that in mind, go back and read His promise.

That’s a lot of rain! And coincidentally, that’s a lot of blessing!

God’s storehouse is so much bigger than we can even fathom. By trusting Him with our finances, He promises to take care of our needs. And by tithing, we are invited to witness His generosity and faithfulness in new and practical ways.

Proverbs 3:9-10 reinforces this idea, “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with your first fruits of all your produce. Then your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will be bursting with wine.”

IS IT GENEROUS TO TITHE?

No. Tithing does not indicate a generous heart on our end. Rather, tithing is done out of obedience to Yahweh and His instruction.  And it is through obedience with our money that we are able to receive His financial fruit.

And that brings us back to 1 Timothy 6:10 where we are reminded that the love of money (not money itself) is the root of evil. The love of money would keep us from being obedient. The love of money would keep us bound up in the infertile soil of self-sufficiency rather than trusting Yahweh. That is the root of evil. And through it we receive counterfeit abundance, outside of God’s plan for our lives.

Yahweh’s heart for us is made evident in these two verses. His desire is not for us to live in lack, demanding poverty in return for salvation. On the contrary, He indicates a desire for us to walk in true abundance as we worship Him, rather than our own means. He invites us into a relationship in which we are a son or daughter, walking in the love and constant provision of a Father.

So if you are new to tithing and a little nervous, we want to encourage you to taste and see what a good, good father we have. Put Him to the test if He will not pour out his provision on you until you have no more need.

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Why Do We Give Gifts at Purim?

The book of Esther tells the tale of Esther and Mordecai, two Jews who saved the Jewish people from annihilation in the Persian Empire. During the holiday, many who celebrate the holiday dress up in fun costumes, hold fun traditions and give gifts to others in celebration of God’s redemption.

But why gifts?

GIVING GIFTS FOR UNITY

Chapter nine of the book of Esther speaks to the 14th of Adar, the day Purim is celebrated. The people of Israel are beckoned to partake in “gladness and feasting and sending gifts of food to one another.” In traditional Judaism, this giving is called mishloach manot. 

At the time, the Jewish people were a people not in their own land. When Babylon captured Israel, the exiles were sent to Persian cities like Susa as a way to assimilate them into the culture. Thus, Israel became a “scattered and divided nation.” For the Jews living in Persia, the events of Purim called for action, and the people united to protect their culture and tradition.

That’s where the gifts come in.

The purpose of gift-giving then was two-fold. First, the Jewish people sent gifts to encourage a sense of resolve and unity. No matter their physical whereabouts in the empire, gifts affirmed their Jewish heritage. The ability to stand together in conviction and faith in God has preserved the Jewish people through every period of history.

GIVING GIFTS TO CARE FOR THE POOR

Secondly, gifts were used to bless people who were struggling. Looking out for the poor and marginalized is so important to God, that He commands His people to practice a lifestyle of looking out for the poor in Deuteronomy 15:11. Giving gifts to each other during the holidays such as Sukkot (Tabernacles) and Purim were normal occurrences. Giving gifts, especially food, ensured that everyone had the ability to celebrate the holiday, regardless of income. Every Jewish person was provided for because of the community coming together to fulfill the mandate of God. In this way, the poor and rich alike were brought together and given a chance to experience the redemptive power of God through Purim.

GIVING GIFTS TODAY

Think giving gifts at Purim is outdated? Or just for the Jewish community? Thank again!

We have the same opportunity today to come together in unity with our Christian brothers and sisters. The New Testament also speaks of providing for those in need. Jesus asked his disciples in Matthew 19:21 to give up their possessions to those in need so that they would “store up treasures in heaven.” In Philippians 2:4, we are called to “look to the interests of others.” During Purim, we can remember the words of Jesus and generously extend our hands to those who are in need.

So as you prepare for Purim, ask yourself this question: how am I considering those in need around me? Take time with your family to recognize the needs of those around you and brainstorm some ways you can help. Do you know a single mom who needs money to pay her rent? Send her an anonymous gift of cash. Is there a family who needs a good meal on the table? A grocery gift card or a basket of food would mean a lot. Is there someone who is single and alone who just needs time in community? Invite them over for a good dinner and a Purim celebration. There are so many ways to show some love.

Giving gifts isn’t just for Hanukkah or Tabernacles, and it certainly doesn’t go out of style. May you be blessed this season as you open your arms and hearts to Jesus and those around you.

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