19 Feb Tithing and Offering in the Bible: What Does the Bible Say About Giving to the Church?
Tithing and Offering in the Bible: What Does the Bible Say About Giving to the Church?
Talking about tithing, offerings, and giving in the church can be extremely uncomfortable. As a pastor, it can feel like you’re asking for a raise… Well, maybe not quite. But, it is important to communicate the importance of tithing and offering and why we do it. If the church isn’t willing to talk about it then how are people going to find out?
One of the single most awkward moments in a church service is when the offering time comes and no-one has taken the time to explain what to do… Do you reach for your wallet? Maybe put one of those envelopes in even if there’s nothing in it just so that people don’t think you’re cheap.
It’s a hard topic for church leadership to tackle. Even just the word “tithe” sounds like it’s as old as the Bible itself.
Despite people not talking about it, the Bible actually has a lot to say about giving to the church and tithing. Let’s dive in to see what the Bible says. That way, next time you have to talk about tithing and offering you can feel more confident in delivering a clear example!
What’s the Difference Between Tithing and Offering?
Sometimes the words tithing and offering are used synonymously, but they actually mean two completely different things.
“Tithe”, as used in the Bible, means one-tenth of the annual produce that someone was to harvest. In context, this would mean that those who tithed would give one-tenth of their crop to God.
Today it can be hard to compare our income to that of a farmer in the Bible. But not everyone in the Bible was farming or managing livestock. Even those that made a regular wage were required to give one-tenth of it back to God.
“Offering”—on the other hand— is used throughout the Bible to refer to gifts given to the temple or to God in addition to the people’s annual tithe. These gifts can still be accurate today and applicable by definition. A synonym for this would be the word gift or gifting.
What does the Bible Say About Tithing?
Genesis 14:20, the idea of tithing is first brought up. In this verse, Abraham gives 10% of what he has to the high-priest at the temple.
In the Old Testament, tithing was the system set in place that supported the priest and the work that they were doing. They had no other form of income and instead were given the tithes of the people to support themselves (Numbers 18:20-21).
Other verses, including Deuteronomy 14:22, talk about these same principals and the importance of tithing: “Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year.”
One of the reasons that we tithe is to help teach us how to prioritize God. By doing this with our finances, we learn to give Him our “first fruits.” In Bibleinfo.com’s post on tithing, they touch on an interesting topic they refer to as “Robbing God”. Robbing God happens when we don’t give our first fruits to God or when we refuse to give what God has asked of us.
The New Testament, Christ endorsed tithing in Matthew 23:23. In 1st Corinthians, Paul talks about the importance of tithe and how it supports the church leaders and those that are spreading the gospel. Check out our past article, Tithing In The New Testament, for more references to the New Testament and tithing.
What Does the Bible Say About Offering
Offerings can more often be seen or referred to as giving. For the sake of this post, we’re going to understand them as one and the same. The biggest difference between offering and giving is the attitude or posture that a person has when performing the act. To offer something is to present it – oftentimes to God as a gesture of worship or a sacrifice. To give is to transfer a possession or the holding of something from yourself to someone else.
Try to think of it this way, you wouldn’t usually offer someone a birthday gift… because you’re not really presenting it, you’re transferring the ownership of that by giving them a gift.
Offerings are supposed to be something that we offer up to God in a very free and open way. They aren’t as strict as tithes, and there is never a set amount. 2nd Corinthians 9:7 says, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” We don’t have to compare ourselves to anyone or anything. We just need to follow what God has placed on our hearts.
Another past post that we’ve shared has 8 Bible verses about giving. Check that out for more on giving and some references to go along with it.
The Inspiring Side of Giving
When we give to the church or any organization, friend, or family member. There is a sense of gratefulness and happiness. It’s a proven fact that when you give freely of something you have, whether that be your finances or your time, it makes you feel happy.
If you already knew that giving made you feel happy, I bet you didn’t know that giving is good for your health. A 1999 study led by Doug Oman of the University of California, Berkeley, found that “…elderly people who volunteered for two or more organizations were 44 percent less likely to die over a five-year period than were non-volunteers.”
That’s a crazy and inspiring thought. Giving literally helps our bodily and mental health become and stay stronger.
Giving Trends Through the Years
If you work at a church and have ever been involved in the finance side of things, then you know that over the past ten years or so, giving trends have changed dramatically. With cash, checks, and in-person giving becoming less and less popular churches, have had to learn how to incorporate online giving.
At mobileAxept, we completely understand this, and in 2008, we were one of the very first companies to pioneer text giving. We saw a trend moving towards a more mobile society and didn’t want the church to be left behind.
Today we’re still offering our GiveNow services, but we’ve also developed into other mobile-friendly solutions to help churches manage and grow their giving throughout the year.
Giving in the church is fundamental. We hope that this post has encouraged you and helped you to understand tithe, offering, and giving better. Check out our other blog post’s on similar topics here.
If you’re ready to take your church or organizations giving to the next level in 2020 then check out mobileAxept!