Generosity and Tithing

Posted 5/13/2018

My “history” with tithing goes back quite a ways and is what one might call “ambiguous.” From my earliest days in ministry I heard about the importance of tithing. It was a staple in any stewardship training. But tithing was presented in such a way that I felt it was something I had to do. As a pastor I needed to tithe to set a good example of stewardship. And, those sitting in the pews needed to tithe because this was what God demanded as the minimum we give back to him. 

It took me a while to actually get to the point I tithed. And, I confess, as my finances changed, there were times I got below the tithe after I first achieved it. But the biggest thing that has changed for me over the years is not how MUCH I give but WHY I give. 

I still think a tithe is an appropriate amount to give, but I don’t give that amount “to set an example” or “because God expects it.” I give that amount because I WANT to. I give it because I realize that giving a tithe is a great way for me to express my thankfulness to God. Furthermore, it seems to me, when I consider all I’ve been given, like the appropriate amount to give to God in thanksgiving. 

What I’ve learned over these years is that our generous giving to the church — our stewardship in relation to the church — isn’t about giving a set amount because God expects it, or about setting a good example for others, or about meeting the church budget. Generous giving — stewardship — is about showing God how grateful I am for all I’ve received. Stewardship is a carefully considered decision about how I express my thankfulness.

I invite you to take the time to carefully consider how you express your thankfulness to God in your stewardship giving.