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. 

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

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.

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.    

Top Comments

Gary N. Tammy Milbourne


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


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.


John Sutter


John Sutter commented…

Here's what we would have; nicer parking lots, nicer buildings, higher salaries, probably even more debt. The "church" and their leaders are not going to change. When Jesus separates us into sheep and goats, what you gave to the local church will have zero meaning. In the meantime, Pacific Garden Mission, which is doing what Jesus really taught, just might have to close its doors.

Dustin Harper


Dustin Harper commented…

Tithing as a practice is not found in the scriptures after the death of Christ or in early church history up until Constantine's conversion. I don't think the church at large suffers from lack of resources. We could do all those things with the money that we bring in now if we stop spending so much on buildings and salaries that, along with tithing, are not requirements by God. The churches in Acts are proof that we don't need buildings or paid clergy to get the message of Christ out and have a great impact on the world. The extra money that the church would generate with 100% tithing would probably be spent on more elaborate building and higher paid preachers and staff to enhance the Sunday morning product.

Irving-Michelle Müller


Irving-Michelle Müller commented…

Pastors be like, "you church people need to give more to the church!"

Jesus be like, "And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry..."

John Lambert


John Lambert commented…

We could solve all of these world problems if everyone were tithing AND IF we were not embezzling and misusing more money each year than is given to world missions! According to the Status of Global Mission report from the Center for the Study of Global Christianity, Christians worldwide committed more than $39 billion in church-related financial fraud during during the first half of 2014. Compare that to the $35 billion churches spent on worldwide mission work during the same time frame.

Eric Wilson


Eric Wilson commented…

Then why haven't they done those things? 85-96% of tithe money goes to maintaining buildings and paying staff. That is barna research there. What would they do if everyone tithed? They would build bigger buildings. If the church can solve all those problems they should close their buildings, relieve all staff and DO IT. If the church acted like the Church then we wouldn't have these problems anyway. Average church size is 184. If every 58 people financed and walked with 1 homeless person out of homelessness or 1 foster child then those problems would not exist in the US. That is without any government money at all. We would have over 11,000 to do it per person with current tithe amounts.

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