Tithing Inside vs. Outside the Church
Judy and I belonged to churches in a few denominations as we raised our family. We were a part of the Baptist church, the Christian Missionary Alliance church, the Anglican church, the Presbyterian church, the Church of God, and the non-denominational church. What I find so compelling is the way that, while theology can differ somewhat, the beauty of the body of Christ remains. If church leadership is adhering to the leading of God and the Truth of Scripture, the differing outward expressions of faith all reflect the singular heart of God.
God’s heart is generosity. From the start, God gave to His people. In Genesis 17:8 (NIV), he told Abraham, “The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.”
In Ecclesiastes 5:19 (NIV), we learn, “Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work—this is a gift of God.”
In Isaiah 9:6 (NIV), we are told of His greatest gift, “For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Jesus spoke of the gift of life in John 6:33 (NIV), “For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
In the end, Revelation 22:5 (NIV) tells that, “There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign forever and ever.”
God’s generosity is a magnificent and major theme of the Bible. For us to be His image-bearers, we need to be a people of generosity, too. Our resources reflect His gifts to us, and we can honor Him by being generous with those resources…inside and outside of our churches.
If you are a member of a church that preaches that the whole tithe should go to the church, then you need to adhere to that teaching since that church is your authority. No matter what theology your church teaches on the topic of the tithe, I would encourage you to spend a few weeks in your quiet time with your heart attuned to God’s generous heart. As you absorb the fullness of His generosity, ask Him how you can become a person of greater generosity. Can you give more time to Him in gratitude and praise? Can you give more honor to others by noticing those around you as you go through life? Can you give resources to people who are involved in ministries that touch your heart? There are myriad ways to give, but the first step is getting to know the generous heart of God.