Since tithing was meant to end with the Old Covenant, should Christians give to their local church, and if so, how much should they give?
Should Christians give to their local church?
Yes! We are told in Galatians 6:6 that “the one who is taught the message must share all his good things with the teacher.” We have a moral obligation to support financially those people or institutions that are feeding us spiritually. This doesn’t mean that we should only give to people or institutions from whom we receive a benefit. For example, giving to missionaries or to charitable organization such as Compassion International are ways we can be good stewards of the money that God has entrusted to us.
How much should we give?
The Old Covenant required simple percentages. *Jews knew how much was required. The New Covenant has no set percentages; however, the Bible does give us guidelines:
- We should give proportionately. The more God has prospered us, the more we should give. (1 Cor 16:2)
- We should give cheerfully. We are not under compulsion but our love for God and for others should cause us to give cheerfully rather than reluctantly. (2 Cor 9:7)
- We should give as we are able. When we can, we should give to Christian brothers and sisters who are in need and when we are in need, they should return the favor. (2 Cor 8:14)
- We should give in ways that do not draw attention to ourselves. (Mat 6:2)
Here’s a question that may help you determine how much you should give to your local church: How much are you willing to pay at a restaurant for a meal?
My budget doesn’t allow me to take my family out very often (there are 7 of us), but we do go out occasionally, so I have a pretty good idea how much it costs to feed my family. And I do feel that the teaching and encouragement my family receives on Sunday (and mid-week for the kids) is more valuable than the food we eat when we go out.
*Israelites under the Old Covenant gave between 20-30% in tithes; however, their giving was typically in the form of livestock and crops. Since they lived under a theocracy, their tithes were used to support the priests as well as the government.
For more information, click here: http://www.gci.org/law/tithing