Q: Is charitable giving the same as tithing?
A: Not Necessarily
While charitable giving is noble and necessary, it's not the same as tithing. The difference is that a tithe, or 10% of a person's income, is to be set aside specifically for God's work. It's not ours to spend as we choose. It's something God has established to finance His vision of reaching people through local churches like Hopewell.
Q: Does God expect Christians to tithe?
In 1 Corinthians 16:1-4, the Apostle Paul is teaching believers in Corinth about giving and he identifies three aspects of giving:
- Giving is Planned... Paul said, "On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money." Planned giving is the opposite of impulsive or emotional giving, which can lead to financial hardship. Planned giving is deciding beforehand how much a person will (not can) give.
- Giving is Personal... Paul said that "each one of you should give." Personal giving means that each person is to give. No exceptions.
- Giving is Proportional... Paul said everyone "should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income." This is where tithing comes in, because tithing, which represents 10% of our income, is an example of proportional giving. Though tithing is an Old Testament command-see Malachi 3:8-12-it's a baseline of giving in the New Testament and for today. Therefore, tithing is something every follower of Christ should practice.
Q: Does God expect every Christian to tithe?
A: Yes and No
Though every follower of Christ is to tithe, God expects some to give above and beyond 10% because He has gifted and resourced them accordingly.
Q: What should I do if I have the spiritual gift of giving?
A: Give above and beyond your tithe as God leads you to give.
If we were to say that everyone should just tithe, we are in essence letting some people off the hook, or not encouraging them to exercise their spiritual gift of giving which the Apostle Paul talks about in Romans 12:6-8.
A good biblical definition of the spiritual gift of giving is: the ability to freely, cheerfully, and generously give of one's possessions to resource God's work.
It has been said that the spiritual gift of giving has less to do with the size of a person's bank account, and more to do with the size of a person's heart and faith.