“Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of your produce. Then will your barns
be filled with plenty, with new wine your vats shall overflow.” Proverbs 3:9-10
A tithe is the gift of 10 percent of what we earn, given to God. The tithe includes all our gifts to the poor, as well as our offering to the church. Tithing is biblical, beginning when Abraham gave the priest, Melchizedek, a tenth of what he had (Genesis 14:18-20). Tithing was consistently practiced throughout the Old Testament.
Jesus talked about money all the time. He knew that love of money was an obstacle in our relationship with God; money can dominate our thoughts and hold our hearts. Jesus said: “Take care to guard against all forms of greed” (Luke 12:15). He explicitly addressed tithing and commended it (Matthew 23:23). Jesus then raised the level of giving in an astonishing manner by praising Zacchaeus for promising to give at a 50 percent level, and the poor widow who gave at the 100 percent level.
In the Acts of the Apostles, we hear how the early Christians “....had all things in common; they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one’s need.” They gave 100 percent; above and beyond the 10 percent tithe.
We invite you to consider tithing. If giving 10 percent seems overwhelming, start with percentage giving. First figure out what percentage you are presently giving. Include your offerings to church plus all your gifts to other charities. Try to increase that amount by 1 percent (or even ½ percent). Each year try to increase the percentage you give and you will soon be tithing.
The rule of thumb for tithing in our diocese is to give 5 percent to your parish, 1 percent to diocesan collections, and 4 percent to other charities that touch your heart.
“For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” Matthew 6:2