I am trying to tithe. I do not have a church that I attend regularly. I had been taking one of my grandchildren to a youth group before they cancelled before covid. They brought him to make a decision to follow Christ which I was so grateful for. So in turn when I started to tithe I felt like maybe I should give to them because I knew the church and was grateful. When I see other causes however I feel in my heart that they might be more needing the tithe because some others I give to reach so many more or feed the needy. I have prayed about this and was wondering if any one else felt like this.
Well, that is a good question, @pamelablizzard6. And you are right - there are many worthy causes that we would all love to be able to support. But since no one has the means to support them all, we have to prioritize. Realizing that is a great help when you feel bad about throwing another solicitation for support from another worthy cause into the garbage. You’re not refusing to be charitable - you’re simply prioritizing which charities you’re able to help.
I believe that our first responsibility regarding our charity would be the support of our own local church which is meeting our spiritual needs (I Corinthians 9:11; Galatians 6:6). Apparently, you believe this too - as you demonstrated by supporting the church that was meeting a need in your grandchild’s life. Continuing to support that ministry while searching for a church of your own would be one option.
Another would be to temporarily set aside what you would give to your own church with the goal of donating it to whatever church you end up joining.
Or, if you’re still a member back at a good Bible preaching church where you were attending and tithing before, you could keep sending your tithes back there until you join a new one where you now live.
But while our first responsibility is to our own church (when we have one), I believe we also have a responsibility to show charity to anyone in need, but especially to fellow Christians who are hurting. Galatians 6:10 says, as we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
So we are also responsible to help those in need that God brings us into personal contact with - like the Samaritan who came across the robbery victim in Luke 10:33.
But I think you should be careful here. Notice in the story that while the Samaritan met the stranger’s needs, he never gave cash to a man he did not know. I think many well meaning people give cash to panhandlers claiming they need it to buy food or gasoline. I remember before I came to Christ how I was a drug addict, and I panhandled with others like myself to get drug money.
Over the years, I’ve put gas in strangers’ cars - bought groceries for a stranger (and kept the receipt so they could not return it when I was gone for cigarette or booze money) - I’ve bought fast food meals for people - our church has paid light bills and landlords to help people in crisis - we’ve given gift certificates to a local grocery store that does not sell alcohol - but we’ve always made it a policy to never give money to someone we do not know!
I would also note that the more a person pressures you for cash, the more suspicious you should become of them. There have been times when I’ve offered to fill someone’s tank, and they’ve begun giving elaborate reasons why, no - that won’t work - they’ll need the gas money when they get to their destination in order to get back, or some such. At that point, I think you would be better off just telling them point blank that you never give cash to strangers. So if you cannot put gas in their tank (or buy them a meal or whatever) right here right now, then you really can’t help them.
Good people who are in genuine need feel bad about asking strangers for help. Wouldn’t you? So if you tell them you can’t help, they’ll typically apologize for asking and back off embarrassed. They do not use pressure tactics to make you to feel guilty and cave in to them as scoundrels do.
I hope something in these thoughts will be of help to you.
Hey @pamelablizzard6 this is a great question. How wonderful that your grandchild was led to Christ at youth group, praise God!
Would you mind me asking what has moved you to start tithing? Is this something you’ve felt convicted to do, or have heard teaching on?
I believe tithing should come from a place in your heart where you say ‘everything I have comes from God, I’m going to offer some of it back to Him and I am blessed to keep the rest’. I can see the gratitude you carry for what that church has done for your grandchild.
I imagine that finding a local church to attend regularly has been difficult through this year of Covid. However, it may be something you feel worth looking into again sometime. At one point in my life, I set aside tithe money each month, until I knew where I wanted to give it. Perhaps as you seek God for where to tithe your time, money, prayers or help, He may lead you to be part of a particular church too.
In the meantime, I believe that you are right about there being so many places of need outside the church that also requires our money, time and prayers. I really like the suggestions from @jlyons on ways to tithe. The possibilities are endless when you set your heart to honour God and love others as image bearers of God. In a way, you may need to step back and ask God which person/group is He asking you to support in this season. It may be that you tithe to a place for a while and then feel God lead you to support a group elsewhere. We are not able to help everyone all the time.
I hope you soon get a sense of where and how to tithe as you pray into all this. I love your heart to support and encourage others through wanting to do an act of tithing.
Thank you. Your message was very encouraging and had great ideas to help me on a decision of what to do.
Great question @pamelablizzard6 and lots of great replies. I won’t echo them, but add a bit more.
I’ve been listening to the Bible on way to and from work. Currently in Deuteronomy. I’d need to look for references, but here is a summary.
The tithe was meant to support the levites. They tithed you the priests, who tithed to the high priest. Rough math 12 10ths going to the levites. (They were a smaller tribe at the start too). So they were well cared for.
But there was also provision for using it to help the widow, orphan and stranger.
Follow what God leads you. And don’t be afraid to give beyond the tithe.