The beginning of the year is a great time to think about honoring God through giving. Proverbs 3:9 instructs, "Honor the LORD with your possessions and with the first produce of your entire harvest."
Is This a Shakedown?
One of the biggest complaints about the concept of tithing involves the idea that some pastors are just trying to pad their pockets. Though there are some leaders who may not be handling their churches' money properly, the fact is that there are many members of the clergy who make modest incomes and work at churches that struggle to keep up with monthly expenses. Tithing is one way to support your local church so that it can continue ministering to people who need to hear the good news about Jesus Christ.
What About You?
When you get down to it, tithing really isn't about the pastor's spending habits as much as it's about yours. Tithing is a way of giving back to God a portion of what He has given to you. In the Old Testament, first produce usually referred to farm crops and animals. In our modern society, many Christians consider the first 10 percent of their income as first produce or tithes. If you're resistant to the concept of tithing, spend some time thinking about why that is. Determine if your views about tithing and giving are being shaped by biblical or worldly views. Tithing is about your relationship with God, not what other people are or aren't doing.
Where Does Your Money Go?
One of the common reasons people give for not tithing is that they don't have enough money. Obviously if you're unemployed and aren't earning any income, you can't tithe. But if you work and earn money, even if it's a small amount, it's important to work toward offering your first produce. That may mean tracking your spending for about a month to see exactly where your money is going. You should begin to see patterns in your spending that can help you figure out how to reprioritize spending to find room for tithing.
Where Should You Start?
It may take a while to get your finances in order. That doesn't mean you should put off giving until everything is perfect. Figure out how much you can give now, and start doing it on a regular basis. Many people write a check for their tithes as soon as they get paid. Others use electronic payments to make sure they're keeping up a regular schedule of giving to their church. Do whatever works for you, but make sure you keep track of your payments, and stick with them. Gradually increase the amount you give until you're regularly tithing 10 percent of your income. Ultimately, tithing should be done willingly, not grudgingly.
This article is courtesy of HomeLife Magazine.