Growing up, my parents paid us kids for chores we did around the house. We always called it an allowance but now I understand it was more of a commission — we didn’t get paid unless we did the work.
Regardless, when the highly anticipated payday arrived (yay, $1.50 in the BANK!), my parents would use it as a two-fold learning opportunity.
- They taught us how to tithe from our very first dollar earned.
- They taught us how to figure out what 10% was ourselves (that decimal point is a tricky one).
For those who don’t know, the tithe is a form of giving that God commanded the Israelites to do back in the Old Testament.
Here’s the definition straight from the dictionary.
tithe | tīT͟H |
noun | one tenth of annual produce or earnings, formerly taken as a tax for the support of the Church and clergy.
My parents taught us that as Christians, we give 10% of what we earn to the church and then we give offerings as well. To be clear, the “tithe” and the “offering” are different. Tithe is the first tenth, and offerings are above and beyond the tithe.
Okay, but why give?
For one, God commanded it. Seems legit.
Giving started in the Old Testament and continued into the New Testament as a way to provide for the needs of widows, orphans, and church workers.
God has given each of us certain possessions that we value immensely. Some more, some less. It doesn’t even have to be money that we value; the point is that it all comes from God.
But what are some practical reasons we should give away what we’ve worked so hard to gain?
Here is why Bailey and I give and why you should, too:
1. Giving builds our trust in god to provide for our daily needs
What better way of surrendering your trust to God than by giving away something you need to live?
This act of faith is expressed very well in Mark 12 when a widow gives her last two pennies to the church of her day. Jesus makes note that she gave more in faith than all those who put bags of money into the treasury.
2. Giving Reminds us whose money it is that we hold
This may be difficult for some to understand but literally nothing we have is actually our own.
In the Bible, Job had everything anyone could have asked for at the time. He had a large family, servants, and an unbelievable number of livestock. The Bible describes him as “greatest of all the people of the east” (Job 1:3b). However, God allowed the devil to take away everything from Job, leaving him with nothing but a nagging wife and a horrible skin disease.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible shows his reaction at his weakest point.
And [Job] said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”Job 1:21
Job went from owning everything to nothing in less than a day. And yet, he understood the source of his wealth. He held everything he had with an open hand. What he had was taken, but if you read to the end of the chapter, you’ll find even more was given back.
Again, let me say, he understood the source of his wealth. Living with this kind of attitude honestly gives a lot more room for happiness in life. It’s a lot easier to give a friend’s Xbox back to him when you know it was only yours to borrow in the first place.
3. Giving creates the ultimate retirement account
We like to think that giving is an entirely selfless thing to do. It is selfless if it is done with the right intensions, however, there’s definitely a rewards system mixed in. Giving is kinda like a retirement account.
What is saving for retirement? In essence, it is delayed gratification.
You have to delay buying what you want in order that you will have money later in retirement. God created us humans to be motivated by rewards which is why he puts some motivation straight into the Bible.
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.Matthew 6: 19-21
What is being said is this: Here on Earth, everything we have is temporary. Our money, our possessions — we will lose it all when we die. But by giving our money to God’s work and those in legitimate need, we are building for ourselves the ultimate retirement nest-egg — eternal treasure! The delayed gratification of not buying everything we want here on Earth is that we get much more in heaven.
P.S. This talk about good works is not to be confused with the work of Christ dying on the cross which is the only way to heaven.
I love what the famous missionary, Jim Elliot, had to say on the topic of giving:
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”~Jim Elliot
FOR BAILEY AND I, Giving is personal
I can honestly say that giving has influenced how Bailey and I handle our money. I am naturally materialistic.
Like, recently, I have had this fascination with the new Chevy Colorado. It’s a pretty sharp vehicle and I want one just for the sake of having one.
Giving, on the other hand, puts the money we have into perspective. And I find that as Bailey and I have increased our giving from just the tithe into the realm of offerings, it humbles me. And that makes it really personal for us when we put a check in the offering plate.
How does giving affect your view of your possessions?
I want to hear from you in the comments below! And as always, if you found value in this post, give it a like and give me a follow!
If you’re interested in reading an absolutely excellent book about giving and what it means from a Christian perspective, check out The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn. I loved this book and wrote about it briefly in a post about the books I read last year.