Tithing, along with giving offerings, is the method God has placed in effect for His children to prosper. When you give into the Kingdom, you are planting seed that will come grow into a financial harvest, because there is a reciprocal relationship involved. In other words, as you give to God, your heavenly Father gives back to you! This is why Malachi 3:10 says, "Bring ALL the tithes into the storehouse" ó not part of the tithes, but ALL ó "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." (NKJV)
How much is a tithe? The word tithe literally means "tenth," so a tithe is one tenth of what you make. If that were not enough, after Jacob dreamed about the ladder going to Heaven in Genesis 28, he vowed to the Lord, "And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God's house, and of all that You give me I WILL SURELY GIVE A TENTH TO YOU" (Genesis 28:22).
The tithe should go to "the storehouse," which is where you are taught how to apply Godís Word to every circumstance in your life. This should be the church where you worship and fellowship with the saints. Notice that I said, "where you are being taught." Only you know where you are being fed the Word of God, so where you consider your storehouse to be is your decision. Just remember that you will have to give an account to the Lord as to where you place your tithes. So you want to be sure that your tithes and offerings are always "planted into good ground."
Now, along with "planting" (giving), you have to keep "watering" your seed by confessing the Word and saying, "In the name of Jesus, I believe I receive the windows-of-heaven blessing." Each time you proclaim this confession, while walking in line with Godís principles, you make inroads into the spirit-realm and bring your blessings forth from the spirit world into the physical world. In the spirit world, such a confession keeps your seed (whatever you are believing and confessing) growing.
When you systematically continue to make your confessions relative to your tithes and offerings, Satan cannot touch your blessings. But when you fail to adhere to the directives given in Godís Word, Satan can and will steal your blessings and there is nothing God can do about it.
You also have to keep in mind that, just as with seed you plant in the physical ground, there is a time element involved between planting your financial seed and receiving the corresponding harvest. God is in the spirit world, and that spirit world is outside the realm of the physical. The blessings God has given us as the result of our giving have to come from the spirit world into the physical world, and it is faith that makes that transfer. Therefore, you have to be patient.
You do not want to be tricked into thinking, "Well, that is really something! I planted my seed seven days ago, and I do not see anything yet. Iíll just go ahead and plow this ground up, pour some concrete, and make a patio instead." If you do that, you will most certainly miss out on your blessings. Remember that God is faithful, and He always honors His Word. Keep planting, keep watering, and your harvest is sure to manifest.
IS TITHING AN OLD COVENANT PRACTICE?
No, it is not. Tithing DID NOT originate with the Law of Moses. In Genesis 14:13-20, we are told that after Abraham rescued Lot and took back all the goods, he gave the priest Melchizedek "tithes of all." That was approximately 430 years before the Law of Moses was set down.
God's financial plan has a twofold purpose. First, it is to provide our own material, physical, and financial needs. Second -- and this is equally as important as the first -- it is to finance the proclamation of the Gospel. Deuteronomy 8:18 tells us that God gives us power to get wealth, so that He may establish His covenant. He wants us to prosper as individuals -- and in our prospering, the family of God will prosper.
WHAT DO I DO IF I CANNOT AFFORD TO TITHE? SHOULD I PAY MY BILLS FIRST?
As for not paying a bill so you have money to give to God, that is STUPID. If you tell the man you are a Christian, make an agreement with him to pay him for services he renders to you, then do not keep your word when the money is due, you have lost your witness. If you do not have enough money to pay God and pay the light bill, you are already overextended.
Remember, tithing is for your benefit, not Godís. If you think about it, not a penny of the tithe goes to God. It goes to the local church, and is fed back to you in services through the church. If you have not been tithing before now, you are already a God robber, so do not start tithing until you can afford to do it. If you do not pay a bill, you are robbing the people who sent you the bill, and that is even worse than robbing God. God will forgive you, but many times, people will not.
God looks at the heart and knows your desire to tithe. You can give offerings out of love for the furtherance of the Gospel (Luke 6:38), and God will honor your giving. Once an individual reaches a place in his financial standing where he is meeting his obligations and can tithe without using his bill or grocery money, then he should begin tithing and never stop.
WHATíS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TITHES AND OFFERINGS?
Tithes go into the storehouse to support the local church. Offerings go into the Gospel for the support of the general ministry. Tithes are the tenth of what you make that belongs to God. Offerings come from the other 90 percent, and can be as small or as large as you want them to be. You could even give a nickel, and it would still be multiplied accordingly if you claim and stand on the promise regarding offerings in the Word.
An example of offering or giving is Luke 6:38, where Jesus says, "Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you."
Notice, He says, "with the same measure" ó not one like it or similar to it. Remember, the incoming is based on the outgoing. If you do not like the incoming, you had better change the outgoing, because Jesus says, "For with the same measure..."
CAN I TITHE TO MORE THAN ONE CHURCH?
You should not split the tithe. ALL OF THE TITHE must go to the storehouse where you receive the major portion of your spiritual enrichment and education. That should not stop you from sending offerings from your 90 percent to other ministries which help you grow spiritually, if you wish to do that. God will bless you accordingly for it.
CAN I BUY CHRISTIAN BOOKS, TAPES, ETC. WITH MY TITHE?
You cannot do that. That would not be a tithe, but a purchase. Besides, the tithe is not your money to spend. It is the Lord's. Buying books and tapes is good, and you will be blessed by them, but remember that God said to bring all the tithes into the storehouse, not to the bookstore. Pay the tithe, and use your 90 percent for the things you desire.
SHOULD I TITHE OFF THE GROSS OR THE NET?
The gross is the total amount you are paid. The net is the amount you get to take home after all the deductions have been taken out. The Bible does not tell us how to answer this question, so how do we figure it out? By simply using some wisdom.
Here is what I advise: Keep in mind that the only money you actually have to spend is the money you get in your little hot hands. The rest are numbers on a check stub. You never get the actual unemployment insurance money, or the social security money, or the income tax money. They do not even ask you about that -- they just take it out, and you end up with what is left over, right? You have a piece of paper that says you made $300, but by the time they finish cutting it down, you have $145 left. That is all you actually receive. (We call it "net" but really it is your gross because that $145 is all you have to spend.) You did not receive the whole $300, but only $145. So I would say you should tithe out of the $145.
Now, if you think you should tithe out of the gross instead of the net, that is up to you. You cannot give God too much, so I would not argue about it. I am simply saying you do not have to tithe the gross. Tithe from the net because that is all you actually receive. And that is all you can actually spend. If you want to tithe the gross, go ahead. You cannot give God too much. Do not get into a situation where you are in bondage over this. God does not want you to be in bondage, He wants you to be free, so be free and enjoy your freedom!
When the government takes money out of your check every week for taxes, that money is never really in your hand. You cannot spend it, so you cannot tithe out of it. However, if you receive income tax money as a refund, tithe out of the refund, because that money is actually yours. The same holds true for Social Security, interest in a bank account, and retirement accounts in which they take out the money before they take out the taxes. If you cannot touch that money yet, do not worry about it right now. Wait until you have control of it, then tithe from it.