Tithing is the act of sharing out a portion of goods, income or other items to give back a portion of good fortune from God. Genesis 28:20 mentions the tithing of Jacob: “If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I will go, and will give me bread to eat…all that you shall give me I will surely give the tenth unto you.” The practice of tithing can go back to either secular or religious dealings, and is often used even today as a token of appreciation to fortune, as an act of charity, and of faith.
In today’s world, many people give ten percent of their income to support their local religious group or congregation. It is not usually required, like taxes are, but is encouraged as a community service. The moneys from the tithing are used to fund charities run by the church, pay for the clergy or pastors, or such mundane things. The Bible does mention tithing, but primarily focuses on charitable acts for the poor. Indeed, Jesus is often heard to encourage the people of the world to contribute to those in need as part of the duties as a human and Christian.
While tithing does not truly come under the category of charity, it usually serves the same purpose. The money from tithing is available to fund many programs for food, clothing or activities for children. Human charity requires that, “he that despises his neighbor sins, but he that has mercy on the poor, happy is he.” Proverbs 14:21. Tithing could definitely be a measure of charity and generosity. By supporting those in the community that need it, tithing allows neighbor to help neighbor, and sees that none go hungry from want. “Let all your things be done with charity.” Corinthians 13:13
Without tithing or donations from members of the church, in these tough economic times, many churches would be struggling fiercely to keep their doors open. However, Jesus himself warned about the dangers of false pride that comes from tithing, and teaches that there are far more important considerations. “Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, but he who humbles himself shall be exalted.” Luke 18:9. Be sure that the charity is being done in the right spirit, and is kept quiet, for “…so that your merciful deeds may be in secret, then your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”
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