Tithing or giving, which is your pleasure? Do we have a choice? I think so. What is the difference between the two? Why should we consider anything but tithing? It’s a really good question, since most Christians do not tithe! However, there is an important difference between the two.
Gerri and I have been very determined and legalistic tithers since we were first born again; ten percent of our gross income off the top, faithfully every pay day. In our 30+ years as Christians we have run the gamut of teaching on tithing, giving and financial prosperity. We have tried just about every twist that came alone. When our finances got tight, we figured we needed to give more so we would increase our tithe to 20%. One time we increased to 30% but nothing changed. Promised prosperity eluded us so we went back to our faithful 10% and settled down. That lasted until 2004 when we met Father.
With the live changing experience of meeting Father came a transformation in our perspective of life, love, intimacy and finances. That transformation continues today as Father continually challenges our mindset of beliefs to give us opportunity to move from religion to relationship. One of our first challenges was our belief in the law of tithing. Now I know that what I am going to share with you here will ruffle some feathers, as it did ours. However, we got over it, and so can you if you want to! I am not saying, ‘thus saith the Lord’ or ‘this is what you must do’ or ‘you must believe as we do’ or anything else. This is simply our experience to date.
We first began to see through our love experience with Father that we wanted to belong to Him completely and tithing was not enough. We wanted everything we have and all that we are to belong to Him; nothing held back including our hopes and dreams. I believe that is what II Corinthians 5:15 talks about when it says, “we should live for Him and not ourselves.” We have come to believe that tithing was part of the Old Covenant law and was in effect until Jesus’ blood established the New Covenant that we live in today. He fulfilled all the law by His death and resurrection.
We believe that just as the law of the Old Covenant has been replaced by grace of the New Covenant, so tithing has been replaced by giving. I know you may have just sucked all the air out of the room, but relax, it will be all right! I may have gored a sacred religious cow but we are not going to hell and the earth will not have a cataclysmic event by nightfall! Seriously, just consider we are talking about making a transition from daily living for ourselves to daily living for and with God, making all that we have and all that we are available to Him for His purposes and our destiny.
Consider some differences between tithing and giving. Obviously, this is from our perspective.
- Is a product of law and religion
- The standard formula is 10%
- Can become nothing more than a habit
- Can be done without relationship with God
- Usually involves duty and obligation
- Typically fear and guilt are used as motivators for compliance
- Can produce resentment
- The promise of prosperity beyond your wildest dreams for obedience
- Should be a byproduct of your intimate, personal relationship with God
- Does not have boundaries or limits
- Motivated by experiential love
- Involves excitement and joy
- Give by God’s instruction not by rote
- Give because we want to not because we have to
- Involves freedom, liberty and cooperation
These are just a few thoughts from our perspective on the differences between tithing and giving. We hope it prompts you to think outside the box. I am also sure this will prompt many questions, but relax, Father has all your answers.
We believe if we give when He tells us to give, where He tells us to give and how much He tells us to give we will fulfill His plan for our giving and be an active part of helping to meet needs in our world according to His priorities. Besides, we live with the joy and excitement that result from our intimate conversations with Father.
So for us, tithing was the fruit of religious duty, but our giving today is the fruit of our loving, intimate relationship with Father. How about you? Are winds of change blowing in your direction? Does this article stir something inside or confirm thoughts you have already had? In any case, just remember God loves a cheerful give not a resentful one. Love bears more good fruit than duty, obligation and fear. Tithing or giving?