The More Monster is in us all and in the end it’s an issue of the heart. Perhaps there are other demands on our money - ‘I can’t afford to tithe because of the cost of education’. Or, ‘We have two cars to run’, or ‘I go on a number of holidays each year’, or ‘I have a number of houses to maintain’. These things are not wrong – I have a mortgage on our house; I own a car too. Deb and I have made some choices concerning our priorities – we don’t have a second car and our boys go to the local secondary school but we go on some nice holidays. We could forgo the holidays and put the money into private education but we have made choices – God gives us choice - but the principle of firstfruits is one I believe in.
My firm belief is that a tithe is 10% before tax... I have known people who have tried to engage me on this topic as though we are in some sort of negotiation. My response to that is that you make your decision before God. It might help you to know my history in this. In my twenties I was established in a very well-paid job and drove an expensive car. Then I became a youth pastor and saw my salary reduced to a fifth of what I was earning before! Through all of that I knew that where and how you put your money says a great deal about your heart and your priorities.
Scripture clearly sees giving as part of worship – which is why at King’s we take up the offering during worship. We are saying to God, ‘I trust You!’ Our giving springs from an understanding that before everything, all that we have belongs to Him anyway! So when some people give and say, ‘You don’t know how hard I have worked to get this. It’s mine and I’m giving this bit to God...’ actually, biblically it is all His. Whether it is a great deal or a little, it belongs to Him. Leviticus 27:30 indicates that we should live off 90% of what we receive.