What Would Happen if the Church Tithed?

How giving 10 percent could change the world.

The church of today is not great at at giving.  

This isn’t exactly news. But it is a statistical fact: 

- Tithers make up only 10-25 percent of a normal congregation. 
- Only 5 percent of the U.S. tithes, with 80 percent of Americans only giving 2 percent of their income. 
- Christians are only giving at 2.5 percent per capita, while during the Great Depression they gave at a 3.3 percent rate. 

Numbers like that can invoke a lot of guilt, which isn’t really the point. The larger point is what would happen if believers were to increase their giving to a minimum of, let's say, 10 percent. There would be an additional $165 billion for churches to use and distribute. The global impact would be phenomenal. Here's just a few things the Church could do with the kind of money: 

- $25 billion could relieve global hunger, starvation and deaths from preventable diseases in five years.
- $12 billion could eliminate illiteracy in five years. 
- $15 billion could solve the world’s water and sanitation issues, specifically at places in the world where 1 billion people live on less than $1 per day. 
- $1 billion could fully fund all overseas mission work.
- $100 – $110 billion would still be left over for additional ministry expansion. 

Those are some amazing numbers.

The truth is: Giving is a heart issue, not a money issue. 

So why don’t we give?

The real problem when it comes to our giving is not about money. Not really. Actually, the Bible says it's about our eyes. Rather, it’s what Jesus called "the evil eye." He said it like this.

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:21-23 KJV) 

The term “evil eye” is a Jewish term. Whereas a “good eye” in Judaism refers to good will, benevolence and being genuinely happy when others prosper—the evil eye is quite the opposite.

The person with an “evil eye” feels distressed when others prosper, rejoices when others suffer, loves their money and would do nothing in the way of charity. 

So when Jesus spoke about the eye, He was speaking to a largely Jewish audience who knew what He was talking about. They knew a “good eye” was a generous person and an “evil eye” was a stingy, sour Scrooge.  

The truth is: Giving is a heart issue, not a money issue. 

When Paul spoke about the legendary giving of the Macedonian church he urged the Corinthian church to prove their love like the Macedonians proved theirs: 

“But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving. I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others.” (2 Corinthians 8:7-8) 
 
Then he took it a step further and talked about the highest standard in love and giving:
 
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9 NLT) 

God has always had a special place for radical givers.

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7) 
 

The full power of tithing is found in grace and not in fear—it's something we get to do rather than something we have to do.


So, what does cheerful giving actually look like?

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Here are a few suggestions. But I will warn you: This isn't for those satisfied with ordinary or normal:
 
1. Start Tithing: Based on the statistics, the Church could really do some wonderful things if we just started tithing consistently. But keep in mind: when you start tithing know there is a difference between the law of tithing and the grace to tithe. The full power of tithing is found in grace and not in fear—it's something we get to do rather than something we have to do.

2. Teach Tithing: This is a very delicate subject and has the power to split churches down the middle. This is why people water it down so much or resort to threats. But tithing is a subject that, with some tact and wisdom, can actually make for a great sermon.

3. Take Tithing to the next level: Tithing is just the foundation. Giving that really changes the world is that which is over and above what's required.    

This articles has been updated from an earlier version posted in 2013.

Top Comments

Gary N. Tammy Milbourne

3

Gary N. Tammy Milbourne commented…

Tithing is not about the law. Tithing was before the law demonstrated by Abraham. Tithing was endorsed by Jesus in the new testament, Matthew 23:23. Tithing is a universal principal that acknowledges ownership. It is found in many cultures worldwide and all throughout history, not just under Moses. Most of the people I know that teach "Grace giving" say that that means you give much more than 10% but ironically most of them give much less. Bashing tithing, for many, is just a theological loophole to keep what belongs to God. Not hatin'. Just sayin'.

Brandon Ottinger

1

Brandon Ottinger commented…

There are over 2k verse in the Bible that deal with the poor. It can not even be read if you take those verses out. It should be the churches main goal, to love people and help the poor. That's exactly what Jesus did. Instead the Church in America has become a political arm of the Right and is about stopping things either not even discussed or barely even mentioned that are moral sins. We all sin and we are too busy looking at the splinter in one person's eye to pull out the log in our own.

The Church should stop telling the world how to live their lives and start showing the world how to live their lives.

114 Comments

Mark Pfeiler

3

Mark Pfeiler commented…

On the subject of tithing I have experienced this from both view points. When I was a pastor I preached tithing and as a member of a church I struggled with tithing. When I was a pastor in the church I preached tithing just like all the other pastors did. I rarely as a pastor ever gave my complete 10%, but I preached the 10% as the ideal to strive towards. If a member of the church asked me what tithing is I would tell them it's giving God 10% of what you make.

I have been out of the pulpit ministry for a long time now. If you asked me today what tithing is I would give you a totally different answer. I would tell you that tithing in how it is preached in most churches today leads to bondage and guilt not freedom in Christ.

After I left the pulpit ministry I moved my family, 5 of us from TX and took an entry level job with a Christian company in CA. I barely made enough money to pay bills and buy food for my family. We started attending a church in southern CA and totally loved it - and still do today. One Sunday I was trilled that I had money to give to this church. Was it 10%? No - it was a 20 dollar bill. When it came time to give that 20 was in my hand, and I was so excited to give it to the church. But before the ushers were released the pastor said that if what you were giving was under 10% then it was like a rotten tooth that should be just thrown away!!

All the joy I had that day to give was just kicked to the curb! What did I do with that 20? Put it right back in my wallet! This church runs over 5000 on a weekend. How many others were there that day just like I was, ready to give but then were rejected? Now most pastors won't be as blunt as this, but the teaching on tithing, I believe, leads to the same results.

If i was in the pulpit preaching again I would not preach on tithing. I would be preaching for people to give out of the abundance of their hearts. I would set no percentage as a marker, a ruler to see how Christian you are based on how much you give. If Sunday comes and you only have a dollar to give and you are excited about being able to give, I will rejoice and be excited with you.

Thanks for letting me ramble :)

Mark Pfeiler

3

Mark Pfeiler commented…

On last note - I totally believe this 100% - If pastors would stop preaching the tithe and begin preaching giving out of the abundance of your heart, their churches will have more money then they can spend :)

Jeffrey Krall

37

Jeffrey Krall commented…

This has helped new and old believers see the blessing of having the opportunity to tithe..http://onelordonebody.com/the-blessing-of-the-tithe/

Third Side Of The Story

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Third Side Of The Story commented…

You should of never asked a government to do the Churches job.

Lukey Lemon

10

Lukey Lemon commented…

The Lemur strikes again! Fear the Lemon!

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