There used to be this term in Christianity called “tithing.” It was a good word, rooted in the Old Testament and meant giving 10% of your income to church. I can’t tell from my pew if it’s around anymore. We use the term “giving.” “Offering” is still okay. But “tithing?” I’m not hearing it.
I’m convinced this has to do with churches wanting to be inviting to new people. “Tithe” lost it’s appeal. Probably brings up too many memories of pipe organs, scripted church services and having to dress up on Sunday morning.
I hope the Church isn’t letting it go the way of khaki pants.
Tithing does invite debate. People wonder why it doesn’t come up in the New Testament and if it’s outdated. Some debate if a specific number should be assigned at all. And then there’s the debate about where money can go and be counted as a tithe.
There are those convinced that a tithe can only go to your home church. If you want to give anywhere else, that should happen after the 10% to church. On the other end of the spectrum are people who think the 10% can go to any good work. They’d consider a gift to church, the Red Cross or the Humane Society a tithe.
I fall in the middle. I think a tithe can go to an organization that has a Christ-centered mission, and I also think the home church should have a prominent place. I stand before God on that view, but it’s one of many.
The thing that stands out more critically to me is how much I want Children’s Shelter of Cebu to be worthy of a tithe. I want us to share the gospel with children as our first priority. I want to teach kids how to pursue holiness. I want us to steward gifts in a way that honors God. I think we do all three very well.
You may not need us to be tithe-worthy. Or, you might not think anything we can do makes us so. Either way, we are better for the children when we strive to be worthy of your tithe.