Tithing is a principle established in the Old Testament of the Bible. To tithe is to give a tenth of the money that God has given you back to Him.
To me, it seems like a no-brainer. The Creator of the universe asks that I give a tenth of what I have back to Him. A tenth, that’s it?
Yet, it amazes me how many Christians make excuses for why they don’t tithe (or don’t give a full 10%). The excuses range from “I can’t afford it” to “It’s an Old Testament thing” to “Everything I have is already God’s, so I don’t need to give a tenth back” to “I give a tenth of my time, so I don’t need to give any money” to “The government already takes too much of my money,” and so on.
That place can be found in Malachi 3:10: “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”
Right now, tithers make up about 10-25% of a typical church congregation.46 That means 75-90% of an average church isn’t giving. Furthermore, Christians are giving an average of 2.5% back to God versus the tenth that God has requested. Sadly, that’s down from 3.3% in the Great Depression.47
Based on those stats, here’s the thing that bothers me the most. I’ve seen the impact that 2.5% has on our communities, both locally and globally. I’ve been a witness to churches spending this money wisely on things like justice, compassion, feeding the hungry, building communities, creating opportunity, and so on.
For example, at the church I attend (West London Alliance Church), it absolutely floors me (in a good way) that such a small amount of money can go such a long way. I am continually humbled and amazed at the level of impact that we have in the lives of those living in London, Ontario and around the world.
Relevant Magazine notes that if those numbers rose (in the U.S.) from 2.5% to 10%, there would be an additional $165 billion for churches to use and distribute.48 To put that in perspective, consider this:
Based on the Malachi verse alone, I’d think that Christians would be jumping at the opportunity to give back to God! Who doesn’t want the windows of heaven thrown open and God’s blessing to rest upon them? Yet money is a strange and powerful thing. It possesses the ability to cause Christians to throw out spiritual reason for earthly circumstances.
I am speaking from personal experience; Carolyn and I have tested God over and over again when it comes to this principle. Let me tell you—He has always been faithful.
46 Christianity Today: An Inside Look at Church Attenders Who Tithe the Most; see http://g7.gs/tithe1
47 Church Leaders: Generous Church: Ten Top Characteristics; see http://g7.gs/tithe2
48 Relevant Magazine: What Would Happen if the Church Tithed? (How giving 10% could change the world); see
49 Church Leaders: ibid
This section is part of a larger book that I wrote back in 2014 called Dear Friends, Family, Neighbors, World. If you'd like a free copy of this book, click here.