What’s the Difference Between Tithes and Offerings?
Like llamas and alpacas, tithes and offerings are grouped together a lot, but they’re definitely not the same thing. A tithe is a specific amount (10% of your income) that you give first, and an offering is anything extra that you give beyond that.
After you’ve tithed and paid all your bills and expenses for the month, you can use any extra money in your budget to give even more! This can look like giving a cash offering to your church above and beyond your normal tithe, giving money to a charity you support, giving to a friend in need, or giving your time and skills by volunteering.
Why Should I Tithe?
The Bible tells us that tithing is a way to show that we trust God with our lives and our finances. Ready for a truth bomb? Tithing isn’t for God’s benefit. He doesn’t need our money. Instead, tithing is meant for our benefit because sacrificing a portion of our income reminds us to rely on God to meet our needs. Plus it makes us more aware of the needs of others too.
In fact, supporting the needs of pastors and the work of the local church is one of the main purposes of tithing. Tithing helps your local church actively be the church by helping others.
Giving encourages a grateful and generous spirit and can help steer us away from being greedy or loving money too much. Plus, being outrageously generous is a blast!
Do I Have to Tithe?
While tithing 10% of your income is biblical, that doesn’t mean you have to be a Christian to tithe. It also doesn’t mean you’re a bad Christian if you don’t tithe. And guess what? God loves us when we give and when we don’t give. In fact, 75% to 90% of those who go to church don’t give a tithe.
Here’s another truth bomb: Tithing isn’t a way to earn God’s love—because we already have it. In Matthew 23:23, Jesus warns against focusing too much on the rules of tithing without paying attention to the more important things like justice, mercy and faithfulness.
Bottom line? You should be giving in some way. But tithing is more of a spiritual topic than a financial one. It’s not about the money—it’s about the heart. It’s about living with the attitude that we’ve been blessed to be a blessing.
(taken from the Ramsey Solutions website. Third Presbyterian uses this article by permission and receives no compensation from Ramsey Solutions to publish this portion of the article)