What about stewardship?
What is stewardship and why is giving important?
God is the source of all we have. Making a portion of what God has given in time, talent and treasure is pleasing to God. Stewardship refers especially to the teaching of Jesus where the steward is the one who manages what the Master has given. Stewardship is simply what we do, with all that we have, after we say, "We believe." Using the gifts God has given us, to do the work God is calling us to do. Healthy stewardship is based primarily on our need to give rather than the church’s need to receive.
Isn’t stewardship just fund-raising – the way the Church compels members to give?
The stewardship practiced by church members definitely impacts the church, but its “our church.” We are the church and the church’s expenses are our expenses. Most of us would never consider not paying our bills. The ministry our church family is able to maintain (much of it in service to our own membership) is closely dependant on the stewardship of the membership in its community.
What about the tithe?
What does it mean to tithe?
The word “tithe” comes from the word tenth. A tithe is the practice of giving the first tenth (10%) of our income to God’s work in the world through his Church. A tithe is not just what we give to the church ie a “2% tithe” is a contradiction in terms. Many see the practice of giving a tenth extending also to time and talents.
Isn’t tithing just an outdated idea from the Old Testament (Covenant)? Hasn’t the New Covenant superceded the Old?
The practice of tithing is a discipline understood by, and taught in, the Hebrew Scriptures. Jesus speaks powerfully about the tithe in Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:42. Anglican Christians don’t tend to assign degrees of importance to specific verses of the Bible. All of Scripture is the Word of God and everything necessary for salvation is found there. Those who fight the tithe need to fight the Bible.
Is tithing law?
Tithing is a good choice not a rule. The word “tithe” appears 67 times in Holy Scripture. The irony may be that most who submit themselves to the discipline find it enormously rewarding and uplifting.
Are we suggesting that we will magically receive more if we give more?
No. But we are challenged by these New Testament words: “The one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)
We aren't saved because we give money to God’s work. Salvation is a gift of God's grace that comes through faith (itself a gift from God). We enter life in grace through Baptism, claiming Jesus as Saviour and our submission to his Lordship. We grow in grace through steady participation in worship and ministry. Giving will not affect your salvation. Salvation will definitely affect your giving.
Don’t the taxes we pay in our times equal a good portion of what used to be considered part of the tithe?
Governments have always used taxation to fund public benefit. A tithe is not a tax. If it were, it would be 17% or even 30%. Modern taxes provide the lifestyle and standard of living we enjoy – the medical care we receive, the roads we drive on, the schools our children attend, the street lights we walk by, the public buildings we use. The church has never been just a provider of public services.
What is the difference between a tithe and an offering?
The Bible uses both terms, often together as in “tithes and offerings.” In Scripture, baseline and regular giving is the tenth (tithe). Offerings are additional giving as we are able and desire a special expression of thanks to God: at church festivals, in remembrance of a loved one, for a special achievement, event or other blessing for which we are thankful. We might consider the tithe as what we should give, the offering as the additional we are able to give at special times.
Doesn’t giving to other charities count as God’s work? God doesn’t just work within the church.
While there are many good causes and many opportunities to give charitable dollars, we may need to re-assess why we give what we do and to what causes. We should ask ourselves why we feel the need to support charitable work outside of our faith community and the commitments we have already made while our church family struggles financially.
Why should I tithe?
“Will anyone rob God? Yet you are robbing me! But you say, ‘How are we robbing you?’ In your tithes and offerings! You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me—the whole nation of you! Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing.” (Malachi 3:8-10 - NRSV)
The Lord of hosts dares us to test him. For people of faith, the tithe does not belong to us, it belongs to God. When we give to God that which is his, his response is to bless us with what is ours and more!
Growing in Giving ... #1 - A Giving FAQ - What about stewardship? What about the tithe?
Growing in Giving ... #2 - What is a tithing (“demonstration”) Sunday?
Growing in Giving ... #3 - Principles of Giving Quiz - how do you rate?
Growing in Giving ... #4 - Ten Truths of Biblical Giving