I was brought up in an Evangelical Protestant home where the principle of tithing was woven into our world view. My dad was a deacon and Sunday School teacher in our local church. He was also a businessman with his own retail clothing store.

He also tithed 15% of his income before taxes. He did this faithfully even though he was supporting a wife and five kids, had a mortgage on the house and business, and the store was (for no fault of his own) going into a nosedive.

In eighth grade economics class we had to make a pie chart of our family's income and expenditures. I will never forget working on the chart in class and the teacher tapped me on the shoulder, looked at the chart, and said, "Dwight, I think you made a mistake here. You have it down that your folks give 15% of their income to charity. I think that should be 1.5% don't you?"

I answered proudly, "No sir. My dad gives 15% to the Lord's work."

Tithing is Good For You

It might seem paradoxical to suggest that giving your money away is good for you, but let me explain why it is. First, when you tithe you are telling your money who's boss. You are saying to the Almighty dollar that you don't worship it -- you worship the Almighty. You are getting your priorities right -- and when you do that, soon your whole world is properly ordered.

Tithing doesn't save us, but it is a way to give back in gratitude for all we have received.

The second reason tithing is good for you is that tithing actually brings prosperity. By "prosperity" I mean an abundant life -- not just financial wealth. Tithing brings an abundant life because when you give to a worthy cause you invest in others. You invest in goodness. You invest in the best thing in life -- other people. Like all good investments, this pays dividends. The dividends are an improved sense of self worth, better relationships, and a personality that is focused on giving not getting.

The third way tithing is good for you is that it also brings increased financial blessings. Here's how: when I tithe I have less money. Having less money encourages me to work harder, be thriftier, and prioritize my spending. These life habits eventually increase my income. That empowers me to tithe even more and the cycle continues.

Tithing is Good For Your Family

I'm sure one of the reasons I am still a believer today is because my dad put his money where his mouth was. Tithing is good for your family because they will see your example and know that, although you aren't perfect, you are making an effort. Money talks, and tithing is a concrete example that you are willing to invest in your beliefs.

As you set the right priorities for your wealth, your family will thrive in an atmosphere of giving not getting. You and your family members will have a giving attitude to one another and the world. Your family will learn thrift, hard work, and good stewardship from your example and this will establish the best life principles for them to enjoy a prosperous and abundant life in the future.

Tithing is Good For the World

Tithing is not only good for you. It’s good for the world. When we tithe to a church or charity we are contributing to the common good. The money is used to help the needy, the homeless, the hungry, and the disadvantaged.

This leads to the question of responsible tithing. When we decide where our tithe should go, it is vital to determine how the funds will be used. Can we trust the recipient? What is their track record? Are they getting rich on our gift? Is there financial transparency and responsible stewardship on their side?

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Tithing is good for the world not only in the obvious way that funds are provided for worthy causes, but a community that is made up of generous people is a positive, caring, and good community to be part of. A society of givers is healthier, more prosperous and well adjusted than a society of entitled brats -- grabbers instead of givers.

Tithing is Good For All Eternity

For those who are Christian believers, tithing is an important part of the spiritual life. From the beginning, God himself is a giver. He gives generously in creation. He gives in the daily gift of life. In the fullness of time he gave his only begotten Son who gave his own life to redeem a human race in bondage to Satan.

When we tithe we share in that same spirit of giving, and if this habit brings an abundant life here and now, it also leads us to the eternally abundant life in heaven. Tithing doesn't save us, but it is a way to give back in gratitude for all we have received.

Sometimes people ask how much they should tithe. The traditional amount is 10% of our income. However, for some folks on a tight budget that is unrealistic. Some professionals advise a percentage that you can afford, but also a percentage that pinches -- a percentage that is a sacrifice.

Everyone I know who tithes does so with a joyful heart. They have learned the simple lesson that "it is more blessed to give than receive."

 

Dwight Longenecker's latest book is Beheading Hydra -- A Radical Plan for Christians in an Atheistic Age. Visit his blog, browse his books, and be in touch at dwightlongenecker.com.

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