Giving is an important aspect of the Christian life. Money represents both your life and where your heart is. If you earn 10 dollars an hour, a 10-dollar bill represents one hour of your life. When you give that same 10 dollars to God, you have, in fact, given God one hour of your life. This is why, for the Christian, giving is so important.
In addition, wherever you put your money, your heart follows. If you invest in the things of God, your heart will be in the things of God. God knows this. The Bible says, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Luke 12:34).
The Bible speaks of three types of monetary giving: tithes, offerings, and charities. Let’s take a closer look at each of them.
Tithes: Tithing is literally one-tenth. The prophet Malachi speaks of robbing God by withholding tithes (Mal. 3:8). God asks for 10 percent of our earnings. This 10 percent is meant to fund the work of God (Num. 18:24). It is returned by Christians as something that already belongs to God (Lev. 27:30, 32). Giving less than 10 percent is not tithing. Giving more than 10 percent is more than a tithe; only 10 percent can be considered a tithe.
Offerings: Offerings are exactly what the word implies. There is no set amount to an offering; rather, it is anything more than the 10 percent God requires. The amount is not set; you decide how much to give, and you give because you love God and are thankful for what He has done for you (Deut. 16:10). Your offering is given according to the blessings you believe God has given you. It is a way to say, “Thank you, Jesus!”
Charities: Charitable donations are monetary gifts or things you have purchased that you give to someone in need. It is your decision to help the poor, to meet the needs of the needy, and to love your neighbor (Acts 3:2). Again, this is something you determine to do. There is no set amount and no determining factor except your own heart. The Bible affirms, “He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done” (Prov. 19:17).
In addition to the topics we address regularly in Elder’s Digest, special emphasis is given this quarter to the topics of giving and the election of the new Pope. We hope to provide local church leaders with broader information on these relevant subjects. Regular giving is a key element for revival and reformation, faithfulness among members, and a church that is financially healthy. The abdication of Pope Benedict XVI and the election of Pope Francis have created many speculations among our church members. The article “Pope Francis, 666, and Time Setting” written by Ekkehardt Mueller will help you to understand better this important topic.
Enjoy your reading!