|1. God’s Blessings for Proper Tithes|
God promised us in Malachi 3:10, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,’ Says the LORD of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.'”
God says, “Do not test God,” and “Whatever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23). But why does He say we can try Him in tithes? It is God’s earnest heart for even those with little faith who cannot give tithes. If they can have faith, be saved, and receive blessings by trying God Himself, God wants them to do it.
Some people, even though their income is great, go to the hospital often, get into accidents, or get involved in troubles or accusations, and things like that so that they have to spend much money on those matters. If they have troubles like these, they would not only suffer the pains but also lose their money, which in most cases is more than the amount of their tithes. If we give our proper tithes, God protects from wasting our money like the above, and to the extent that we please Him, He blesses us with more income.
We see some people who feel uncomfortable about giving tithes and say that it was only for the people of Old Testament days, not for the people in the New Testament days. But Jesus says in Matthew 23:23, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.”
2. How to Give Proper Tithes
A. It Must Be Separate From Other Offerings
Because tithe belongs to God, the church should use it according to God’s will. We cannot just give it in the way we want to give. But some people calculate their tithe after subtracting thanks offerings, church building offering, or even charity offering and mission group operation fees. In this case, no matter how much tithes this person gives, God would deem him/her as a robber. It must be separated before anything else as soon as we get income of any kind.
B. It Must Be Given to the Church We Receive Spiritual Food
It does not just mean we should give to the church we are attending right now but to the one where our heart stays and from which we are receiving the spiritual bread of God’s Word for our spirit to grow. If we get treatment in Seoul National University Hospital, we must pay the fee there, not to a close-by hospital.
But we can give thanks offerings, church building offerings, or other offerings as we want to give to God. If we attend a revival meeting of another church and receive blessings, we can give thanks offering there.
C. It Must Be Given Under Each One’s Name
It must not be given in the name of the family or the married couples together. For the husband’s income, it must be given under the husband’s name. For the wife’s income, it must be given under the wife’s name. If the wife is giving the tithe for her husband who is not a believer, it must still be given under her name.
Some say that they do not have income to give tithe because they are unemployed. But there is nobody who has no tithe to give. For example, even when a house-wife receives the living expenses from her husband, she has some amount of money that we can spend on her own. If you give the tithe of the husband’s income and receive the living expenses from the remaining income, you don’t have to give the tithe for the living expenses again because the tithe has already been given from the actual income. But within the living expenses, the wife must give the tithe for the amount of money that she can spend for her personal use, under her own name.
Let us consider the case of children. When their parents give the tithe of the income and give them pocket money from the remaining income, the children must still give the tithe of the amount that they can spend for themselves. The money with specific use such as for the tuition and books is not the children’s income, so in this case they don’t have to give the tithe. But for the amount of pocket money that they can spend for themselves, they must give the tithe. For children who are not old enough to give tithes themselves, their parents must give the tithe under their name in case they receive any pocket money or gifts from other people.
Some say, when they farm or do business, they have a loss after calculating everything, so they cannot give tithes. But even when we get a loan, it is right in the sight of God to give the tithes first for what we eat, wear, and spend. When they get a loan, some people want to give the tithe when they have income and pay back the debt later, but those who have faith will give the tithe in the first place.
Of course, once you give the tithe for a certain amount, you do not have to give tithe for that amount again. For example, if you buy a house with a loan and give the tithe for the amount of the loan, you do not have to give the tithe for the amount of money with which you pay back the loan. Also, if you buy a house with the money from which you gave the tithe already, you do not have to give the tithe again. But if you bought the house for 10,000 dollars and sold it for 15,000 dollars, you have to give the tithe for 5,000 dollars.
Some people give their tithe after subtracting taxes and money for installment savings and so on, only for the amount they get in their hand. But this is not proper tithe. The tax and savings are also paid and given under your own income, so you must give tithe for this part of income also.
How, then, can we give tithe if we run a business or a shop? This can be different case by case. If you are the president of a big business group, even if the sales of the company are millions of dollars a year, it is not the income of the president himself but the sales of the company. So, in this case, he can give the tithe for the salary as the president or the dividend of the stocks and his other personal income.
What, then, can you do if you hire some people and run a shop? If you have greater faith to receive more blessings, you will calculate the tithe of your income before you give the salaries to your employees. Then, God will bless you as much. but if you do not have that faith, you can give tithe after subtracting the amount of salaries for your employees, because it is your cost to run the shop.
But if you hire somebody for your personal purpose, it is different. If you hire somebody not for the operation of you shop but for your personal convenience such as a driver or a maid-servant, you must give the tithe of your income first and then give their salaries.
Tithe is not only the tithe of salaries and cash income. If we are treated to dinners or receive presents, we must give the tithe for these things also. Basically, we have to give the tithe for whatever we eat, wear, and spend. For example, if you receive a box of fruits as a gift, you must calculate the value and give the tithe for that.
3. How to Give Proper Offerings
How, then, should we give offerings? Matthew 6:21 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Those who have their hope in the kingdom of heaven and accomplishing God’s kingdom, they would want to give to God at their best. God’s kingdom is enlarged through the offerings we give to God, and the offerings given to God will not be destroyed by moth or rust and thieves do not break in and steal them. They will be stored up in heaven as eternal rewards.
In the Old Testament days, they gave offerings with cow, lamb, dove, or flour. But today, we take the spiritual meanings and give offerings instead of animals or flour. We give to God because we are thankful that He protects us throughout the week. Also, we give to God as we have conditions to be thankful for such as birthday, feasts, anniversaries, and so on. We also give for building the church, charity works, or mission works.
All kinds of offerings must go up to the altar to be prayed on and used in the name of God in the church. Also, we should give according to the correct purpose. For example, we should give thanks offering for thanksgiving and offering for building the church for church construction and so on. It is not right in the sight of God if we change the purpose of giving our offerings like changing thanks offering into charity works or mission offering on our own.
Jesus, who is rich as the Son of God, came to this earth and redeemed us from poverty through experiencing poverty Himself. But it is also the law of the spiritual realm that we reap what we sow. Therefore, the blessings that we receive through faith in the Lord can be given to us only when we sow first. Moreover, when we give to God proper tithes and offerings, we will experience the grace of the Lord who redeemed us from poverty, and we will receive more blessings.