Next Steps

In my church I’m currently preaching through a sermon series on giving and stewardship. When it comes to giving, people often ask follow up questions. Here are four frequently asked questions about tithes and offerings.

1. What’s the difference between tithes and offerings? ‘Tithes’ refers to the 10% we’re supposed to give back to God as an act of worship from our income, and ‘offerings’ are anything above and beyond the tithe that we give to a church or other charity.

2. Why is a tithe 10%? ‘Tithe’ literally means ‘tenth,’ as introduced in the Old Testament when God commanded the Israelites to devote a tenth of their income to God as an act of worship and obedience. Why did God settle on 10%? We don’t know for sure, but I’m glad that it’s a percentage and not a dollar amount, because a percentage cuts across all sectors of the economic ladder. 10% feels the same, whether you’re making $100 a week or $1000 a day. 10% is just enough for you to pause and ask, “can I really trust God to meet my needs if I give to Him first?”, which is the whole point (to increase our trust in Him).

3. Is the tithe something simply commanded in the Old Testament? The tithe was something introduced in the Mosaic Law in Leviticus 27:30, but it’s also affirmed by Jesus in the New Testament when he says in Matthew 23:23, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.” So the tithe is something introduced in the Old Testament but affirmed by Jesus in the New Testament, meaning it still holds validity for Christians today.

4. Should I tithe on my gross or my net? A final common question I’m asked is whether we should tithe on our gross income or our net income. I first heard another preacher give the best response, so I’ll share it here for your consideration. When someone asks, “Should I tithe on my gross or my net?”, I respond, “It depends. Do you want God to bless your gross or your net?”