The Right way to tithe
Frequently Asked Questions - The Right Way to Tithe
1. Tithe and the Bible
What is tithe and where it came from?
Tithe, in simple terms, is the first ten percent (10%) of all our income, and it belongs to God. The easiest way to calculate the 10% is by moving all the dots to the next digit on their left and cutting the last digit on the right.
If the income is USD 150.00, you move the dot to the next digit on the left and it will be USD 15.00. This is the tithe. If the income is USD 1,234.50, the tithe will be USD 123.45. If it is USD 67,899.00, the tithe will be USD 6,789.00. And so on.
Tithe is a very ancient practice kept by God-fearing people everywhere. God Himself established the principle of tithing teaching it through the patriarchs, the kings of Israel, the prophets and the Lord Jesus Himself.
The very first time it appears in the Bible is in Genesis 14:18-20 when Abraham gave his tithes to Melchizedek, King of Salem - a tenth of all the spoils from the victory over his enemies, when he rescued his nephew Lot. The Scriptures say, "Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was the priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, 'Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.' Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything." It is also interesting to note that the last time the Bible makes reference to the tithe is exactly in its last book, in Revelation 14:4, when it refers to the redeemed as the "first fruits to God and to the Lamb."
What is the real meaning of tithe?
Tithe is the recognition of God's lordship over all things. When someone gives his tithe, he is in fact, recognising that God is Lord, not only Lord of his life but also Lord of everything his life produces. The deepest meaning of tithe is in the understanding that everything (100%) we have belongs to God. When we give Him the tithe (10% of everything), He releases the remaining 90% for our use. In other words, everything belongs to God; we give Him 10% in order for us to have the privilege of using the other 90%. Among the Jews, the tithe signified their recognition of God's participation in their productivity.
The purpose of the tithe was not to consecrate the harvest, but to 'de-consecrate' it, for everything belonged to God until the first portion, the tithe, had been offered and accepted in place of the whole (100%). Only then, man could use the other 90% for himself. The Lord said, "If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it. Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats? Sacrifice thank-offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honour me." (Psalms 50:12-15). In other words, God makes it clear that if He needed money, He would not ask us because He owns everything! But if we pay our vows and offer thanksgiving to Him, then He will be pleased and will answer us when we call upon Him in the day of trouble. Looking at it this way, it's not accurate to say, "I give tithe" - rather, we should say, "I bring the tithe", since we cannot give what does not belong to us.
The tithe represents God's own firstborn, Jesus Christ, the Son of the Most High, who was given by God to mankind, to redeem us to Himself. We bring Him our tithe because we recognise that everything in life comes from Him.
What is the correct way to tithe?
The correct way to tithe is to set apart your 10% before you do anything with your money, because tithe means first fruits. Therefore, before you pay any bill or buy anything with the money you receive, first you must set apart the tithe.
Even if you don't are not coming to the Church that day, keep your tithe in an envelope and bring it to the altar of God as soon as possible. The Lord said, "When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest... You must not eat any bread, or roasted or new grain, until the very day you bring this offering to your God. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live." (Leviticus 23:10,14). Therefore, God determined that before we do anything with our harvest (our income) we must bring our firstfruits (the tithes) to Him. The spirit of this ordinance is to remind us that God is first in our lives.
Isn't tithe part of the Law of Moses, practiced only by the Jews in the Old Testament? Didn't Jesus fulfill the Law of Moses and therefore cancel the commandment of tithe?
Not at all. The practice of tithing exists existed since The the Creation, long before the Law of Moses. Then it was regulated by the Mosaic Law and further endorsed by the Lord Jesus. Abraham paid tithe, Jacob paid tithe, Abel paid tithes, and they all lived before the Law of Moses.
The Lord Jesus said to the Pharisees, "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices - mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law - justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practised the latter, without neglecting the former." (Matthew 23:23).
The Pharisees used to give tithe even of the little herbs, but neglected the other more important matters demanded by the law. And in that verse, Jesus is not only addressing the matter of tithes, but also the justice and love of God. In other words: What's the use if someone tithes and yet still has a feeling of hate or grudge against someone else? It's no use at all! It is every Christian's obligation not only to keep his duties to God by being a faithful tither, but also to love his neighbour as himself. Giving tithe cannot cover your sins or disobedience to other matters of God's Kingdom.
I heard in the church that we give tithe to God; but I don't see God to give to Him the tithe!
Of course not! But His servants who have committed their whole lives to serve in His House are responsible for and are in authority to receive tithes from the people. Read this: "In the one case, the tenth is collected by men who die; but in the other case, by Him who is declared to be living." (Hebrews 7:8). As you can see, although the mortal pastors collect the tithes as stewards of God, it is the living God who receives them. The tithe belongs to God and therefore it is the responsibility of the Church's Ministers not to use the tithes for any purpose other than for the work of God. "A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD." (Leviticus 27:30).
If I don't give tithe, does that mean I will not be saved?
The Bible doesn't say that you will not be saved if you don't give tithe. God did does say, however, that those who don't give tithes are robbing Him: "Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me.But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse - the whole nation of you - because you are robbing me." (Malachi 3:8,9).
The Holy Spirit said through the apostle Paul that thieves shall not inherit the Kingdom of God (see 1 Corinthians 6:10). Therefore we conclude: If those who rob men will not inherit the Kingdom of God, what about those who rob God? Besides, if you really understand and value your salvation, you will realise that tithe had has a direct impact on your salvation and on that the salvation of millions around the world - because without tithes, the saving message of the Gospel could not have reached you.
So, if failing to tithe will have an impact on your salvation after you've heard the Gospel, I cannot tell; but it will certainly have an impact on the salvation of millions who still have to hear the Gospel to be saved.
2. Tithe and your finances
How can tithe benefit my finances if after giving I am left with less than before?
This is the miracle of tithe. Only seeing it to believe it! God, knowing that tithe does not make sense mathematically, has put forward a challenge to us: TEST ME AND SEE! (Malachi 3.10). The only time in the Bible that God invites us to put Him to the test is when He speaks about tithes.
This should tell us something about how serious He is. You must also consider that when you tithe you can count on God's protection upon your money. He promised to rebuke the devourer. He promised to bless you with more than you can have room for. When you tithe, you remove yourself from under the curse of those who rob God. So, in the end, you will see that the 90% you keep after tithing becomes more prosperous in your hands than the 100% without God's blessing.
How much is the tithe? Is it like an offering?
Tithe is not offering, and offering is not tithe - they are two completely separate things. Tithe is exactly the first 10% of your income (all the money you receive), neither more nor less than the 10%.
For example, if you get USD 1,000.00 then your tithe is USD 100.00; if you get USD 750.00 then your tithe is USD 75.00; if you get USD 2,345.00 then your tithe is USD 234.50 - and so on. Make sure you are not tithing any more or less than the 10%. On the other hand, offering is the best of what you have and wish to give to God.
The amount of your offering depends on your faith and love; the amount of your tithe is always 10% of what you receive. However, you should not give offerings from money you have not tithed yet. First is the tithe, then the offerings. One is not more or less important than the other - they just have different meanings and purposes. Tithe means faithfulness, submission and obedience; offering can mean love, faith, thanksgiving, and sacrifice.
What must I tithe?
You must tithe everything that comes to your hands, which is yours, for your use, benefit, or enjoyment. That includes wages, overtime pay, bonuses, unemployment benefit, child support, business profits/profit from business, pensions, allowances, interest earned on an account, inheritance, prizes, commission, sales, gifts, etc. The Scriptures say: "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse..." also Jacob prayed unto God: "And of all that You give me I will give you a tenth." (Malachi 3.10; Genesis 28.22). Therefore, everyone can tithe, since everyone receives something to live on, one way or another.
When I become a tither, must I tithe money i already have?
When you become a tither, you should start by giving the tithe of what you already have with you, and then tithe regularly from that point onwards. Let's say, for example, you become a tither today and the money you have with you (which has not been tithed) is USD 872.00 plus USD 2,000.00 in the bank. So, you should already give a tithe oUSD R 287.20 today (87.20 + 200). And from now on, you tithe everything you receive.
Should a salaried worker give tithe of the gross or of the net salary (the amount before or after deductions)?
If you are a salaried worker you should tithe 10% of the gross salary that you receive, that is, the amount before deduction. The reason for this is that those deductions are in effect benefits afforded by you by means of your employer directing your money to the relevant benefit agency. For instance, a pension fund is for your pension, medical aid is for your health care, etc. Although it's deducted from you, it's your money, for your benefit, and so it needs to be tithed.
The Word of God says clearly that we must give the tithe of all (see Proverbs 3.9, Genesis 14.20, Malachi 3.10). If you give tithe of the net only, so you are not giving tithes of all. It is also very important to ensure you give your tithe as that the first thing you do with your money when you receive it is to separate your tithe. - because In this way, you're fulfilling the greatest purpose of the tithe: To acknowledge that God is first in your life.
How should a business owner give tithe?
Business owners normally take a fixed salary out of their business, and that salary should be tithed following the advice on 2.5. But apart from that, a business owner needs to tithe the profit of his business.
We emphasise that it is the profit that must be tithed, not the turnover. Profit, basically speaking, is the difference between the income and the expense of the business. Suppose for example that in one month your business had a total income of USD 15,000.00. The expenses in the same month (rent, materials, salaries, utilities, etc.) totalled USD 12,300.00. The difference then is USD 2,700.00 - that is your profit. Therefore, your tithe should be USD 270.00 for that month. So remember: Income - Expense = Profit x 10% = Tithe of the Business
How should a self-employed person give tithe?
The self-employed are those who sell goods or services by themselves and retain the proceeds of the sales (not working and getting a salary from their own registered business or someone else's). Examples include consultants, electricians, merchandisers, etc.
Let's say you are an electrician who does carries out jobs in houses. Someone contracts you to fix a problem in his or her house, and after doing the job, you charge USD 950.00for it. This includes USD 150.00 for the parts you had to buy to fix the problem. The parts (materials) you used are a cost to the owner and are included in your price. The real income you get from this job is USD 800.00, which is the price minus the parts. Therefore when you get paid the USD 950.00, your tithe should be USD 80.00 and not USD 95.00. So remember: Payment Received - Parts or Materials = Your Income x 10% = Your Tithe
What if I am not working?
No one lives on nothing, so everyone can and should tithe (even beggars can tithe from the donations money they receive!). If you don't receive wages, you will probably receive other forms of income such as gifts, allowances, government benefits, occasional business, etc. You must tithe these. However, you should never tithe money that is not yours.
For example, your husband gives you money specifically for the groceries - then you should not tithe it, except with his consent and if he has not already tithed it from his own salary. But if he gives you money for yourself generally, then it's yours and you're free to tithe it. Some say, "I'm unemployed, I can't tithe." If you are unemployed, in debt or financially broke, now is the time to start tithing because this is the only way God can change your situation. Don't wait until you can afford to tithe; put God to the test now and see Him opening the windows of heaven upon you.
How should a pensioner give tithe?
A pensioner should tithe the gross amount of his or her pension, as in 2.5.
If my husband gives tithe, shall I give tithe of the money he gives me?
If your husband has tithed his money already and then given you some of that money already tithed, you don't need to give tithe again. But if he doesn't tithe and gives you money for your use, then you should tithe it.
Remember, as explained earlier, if your husband is not a tither and gives you money specifically for the house household bills, you should not tithe it because it's not yours. In any case, if you earn wages from your own work, in addition to your husband's, or have another kind of income (i.e. pension, etc.) for yourself, you should give your own tithe from that also.
If your child receives benefit, you should tithe it and at the same time use it as an opportunity to teach your child why he should do it, in the fear of the Lord. "Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6).
Must I tithe money I take as a loan?
The Bible does not have specific instructions about tithing money taken as a loan. In such cases, we must apply our faith as well as the law of our conscience.
Technically, if one takes a loan to repay it with money already tithed, one would not need to tithe the loan, lest he would tithe it twice.
Some people take this view and prefer not to tithe loans, since they intend to pay it back with money already tithed. Others, however, take the view that since the Bible says we should tithe everything, they should also tithe loans.
One of the purposes of tithing is to bless the remaining 90% for our use. "If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy." (Romans 11:16). That means, once the firstfruits have been offered, the remaining is released for use by the owner. From this perspective, tithing the loan is viewed as a blessing upon the remaining money, and consequently upon the purpose for which it will be used. Therefore, it's a matter of faith. Do what you believe is right with a clear conscience.
Must I tithe money I received when sell a property?
If you bought that property with money already tithed, then you just tithe the profit of the sale, that is, the difference between what you paid for it and what you got when you sold it. For instance, you bought a house for USD 150,000.00 and later sold it for USD 170,000.00. So your tithe will be USD 2,000.00 - from the USD 20,000.00 profit of the sale.
If you sell a property that was not acquired with money already tithed, then you should tithe the full amount of the sale. In this case, following the example above, the tithe should be USD 17,000.00.
Must I give tithe of gifts I receive?
Money gifts should obviously be tithed. Gifts in kind, however, deserve careful consideration in each case. For example, you receive a house or car as a gift. You may either give the tithe every month until you reach the amount, or you may wait until you sell it and then give the tithe of it. For smaller items, again the law of faith and conscience applies. However small the amount, it's faithfulness to God that counts. Do what you believe is right, with a clear conscience.
What about benefits and investments?
Some employees receive benefits from their employers that are not included in their salary. For instance, your employer may pay you a salary of USD 5,000.00 plus an extra USD 500.00 for your transport to and from work. This is a benefit with a specific purpose, and not part of your salary. Therefore, it should not be tithed - or used for anything else, for that matter! It's for transport only. If you don't use it for that month, you should return it to your employer or have it adjusted for the next month. If the employer lets you keep it, then you must tithe it.
About investments, say, shares or other interest-bearing or savings accounts, you must tithe the increase earned on the investment. Say, you invest or save USD 1,000.00 and over a period it bears an interest of USD 100.00- then you should give tithe of USD 10.00, which is the tithe of the increase on the investment.
May I use the tithe in time of need and pay it later?
Can you be unfaithful to your wife now and then be faithful later? Absolutely not! Here’s this is where the faithfulness of the tither comes in. God may at times allow you to be in a situation where you will have to choose between paying the tithe and leaving the other commitments or keeping the other commitments and not paying the tithe. This could be a test of your faith and faithfulness.
The Bible says the tithe is most holy unto the Lord and must not be touched (Leviticus 27:30). If a man uses his tithe for something else, he must add a penalty of a fifth (20%) to it: "If a man redeems any of his tithe, he must add a fifth of the value to it." (Leviticus 27:31).
The right thing to do is to set the tithe aside first, whatever the circumstances. Then, as a faithful tither, you can trust and even demand that God help helps you to meet your commitments as He promised in His Word.
What must I do when payments are debited from my account before I have time to take out the tithe?
There are only two reasons why this may be happening to you: poor money management or your creditors have got a court order to debit your account upon receipt of any money. In the first case - poor money management - you can arrange your debit orders to come out of your account a few days after you expect money to come in.
For example, if you get paid on the 30th of the month, you can arrange the accounts to be debited on the 4th or the 5th so you may have time to take your tithe first. In the second case, there is little you can do about it except to pay your debts as quickly as possible and finish them, putting an end to them! In any event, you should write a cheque or withdraw your tithe as the first thing you do after receiving your money and give it. What counts is that you remembered and acted upon it first. The first thing you should do is, write a cheque or withdraw the tithe as soon as you receive your money.
If I don't have the exact amount to give my tithe, may I round it off or buy something first to get the right change?
When I give my tithe, I always round it off to the next higher round figure. I just don't feel good giving it to the exact cent, so I always give a little bit more as an offering. This way I don't have to worry about breaking finding small change and I feel happy knowing I've been generous. But that's this is a personal practice and I am not saying you must do the same.
Your tithe is 10% - not more, not less. Any amount you give besides the 10% of your tithe is an offering. For example, if your tithe is USD 18.30 and you don't want to break your money into small change, you just give USD 20.00. Then, USD 18.30 is your tithe and the rest is an offering. Also, if you want to change your money to make get the exact change for your tithe, try doing it without having to buy anything. If this is not possible, as a last resort, then go and buy something - what matters is that you have remembered to take out your tithe first and have done it immediately.
I used to tithe but I stopped. How can I get right with God again and pay back all tithes I owe?
Instead of worrying about the tithes you owe, start being faithful from now on. If you know the amount of tithe you owe and can afford to give it, so do it. But if you have simply lost count of it and cannot possibly put it right, just repent of your mistake and start being faithful to God immediately, forgetting the past. God will be more pleased with you your present faithfulness than unpleased with your past unfaithfulness.
3. Tithe and the church
What the church does with my tithe?
God established tithes not only for the purpose of blessing His people but also to provide for the needs of His House - "That there may be food in My House." (Malachi 3:10). Tithers are the financial pillars of God's House. It's because of their faithfulness that the Church can pay its existing expenses and plan to expand the work of God. Your tithes are directly used for these purposes.
Is there a specific day to bring my tithe to the church?
No, you may bring it any day and place it on the altar of the church. Normally, you should bring after setting your tithe aside, you should bring it to the church on your next visit. on your next visit to the church after setting it aside.
If you have a tithe to bring near the day when we consecrate the tithers (first Sunday of every month), then you may keep it to bring on that day. You should avoid keeping your tithe with you for too long to avoid the temptation to use it.
What is the meaning of tithers' consecration every month?
In the past, when a man was made king, he would be consecrated with oil, symbolising the authority he was receiving to rule and lead the nation. In the same way, when we consecrate the tithers today, it is to remind them of the authority they have from God to rule over the devourer and all financial problems.
"Then Samuel took the horn of Oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward." (1 Samuel 16:13; see also 2 Kings 9.6). Never miss the Consecration of Tithers on the first Sunday of every month.
Is my tithe a contribution I make for the church to do my funeral?
No, it is not. The Church does not check if deceased members were up-to-date with their tithe, because we believe this is a matter between them and God. A faithful member of the Church is baptised in water and will normally give tithe.
Funerals of baptised members of the Church who pass away will be conducted free of charge by the local pastor upon proper notice. However, the Church cannot offer financial help for the purpose, since tithing is not a funeral scheme.
4. Tithe and the world
Why not give the tithe to a charity in favour of the poor and needy? Why must I give it in the church?
Because God expressly said that tithes are for the maintenance of His House '...that there may be food in My House.' Tithe is the life-blood of the Church of the Lord Jesus. The Church cannot survive without it. That's why tithers are like the pillars of God's House.
By their faithfulness, souls can be saved through the work of evangelisation financed through the tithes. Your tithes should be given in the House of God because their primary purpose is to maintain it. The responsibility rests with the church authorities to decide whether after the needs of God's House have been met to use the remainder in aid of the poor.
The UCKG does have various activities on behalf of the poor, which are also financed by tithes and offerings. However, if you wish to help the poor directly with money other than your tithe, you are free to do so.
May I send my tithe by post?
You should avoid sending your tithe by post or by via someone else, unless in case of sickness or absence for travelling reasons.
Check with your post office about how to send money safely, as you should avoid sending cash in the post. Use the address of the Head Office of the UCKG in your area. In Tanzania the address is Corner Makamba with Livinstone Street – Gerezani – Dar es Salaam, P.O Box 34139 DSM, Dar es Salaam Tithers should value and take pleasure in bringing their tithe personally to the altar of God. Besides, the Lord said, "Bring the whole tithes..." and not "Send the whole tithes..."
May I pay my tithe by debit order?
"To change what you get you must first change who you are."