A question that every Christian needs to ask themselves is: how much money should I give to the church? The Bible says a lot about it, but Christian leaders around the world seem to disagree on what The Answer is.
When I received my first pocket money (50p) I remember my Dad showing me how to budget, by splitting a little drawer into three: 10p goes into the ‘Giving’ bit, 10p goes into the ‘Saving’ bit, and the remaining 30p goes into the ‘Spending’ bit. Good lesson, clearly taught well seeing as I can still remember it.
When I first became a Christian, I was taught this principle using that key word: tithing. Whatever my income is, whether that’s my salary, student loan, or a Birthday present, I should give 10% of the gross amount to the church.
But then I came up against teaching that was specifically against tithing! Some said that under the New Covenant we’re under grace so shouldn’t ‘tithe’ but should give whatever’s on our heart to give. I even recently discovered someone saying that people who tithe can’t be saved! I certainly disagree with him on that. Edit: he’s corrected any misunderstanding here.
The thing is that ‘being under grace’ seems to mean, in practice, ‘give less to the church’. And that just seems wrong. When Jesus says ‘the law said don’t commit adultery, but now you’re under grace,’ he doesn’t conclude that we should all go and be more relaxed about committing adultery, he raises the bar infinitely higher: ‘if anyone looks at a woman with lustful intent he has already committed adultery with her in his heart.’
So is tithing a good or a bad idea? Well, it’s certainly an Old Covenant idea, and we’re under the New Covenant, so we’re not obliged to tithe. But more is required of us. CONCLUSION: 10% of our gross income is the bare minimum we should be giving to the church.