Day 70: Percentage Giving

Read Luke 21:1-4

I’ve heard Christians humble brag about tithing: “I’ve always tithed from my income—gross, not net!—and God has always blessed.” In church talk, tithing means giving ten‐percent of your income. Though “tithing” is a biblical teaching, more than one verse in the Bible talks about tithing (most people know the quote in Malachi 3:8) and the other verses show that God commanded more than one tithe.

Israel actually had three tithes: the Levitical tithe (Leviticus 27:30ff), the annual festival tithe (Deuteronomy 14:22ff), and the tri‐annual poor tithe (Deuteronomy 14:28ff). This adds up to around 24% of their income. In other words, ten‐percent was just the beginning of generous living, not a cap. Too many treat tithing as if giving God that ten‐percent ‘tax’ frees us to spend the other ninety on whatever we want. Whenever talk about giving arises, it generally reveals our hearts (Matthew 6:21).

Our hearts are revealed, not by what we give, but, by what we keep. When Jesus watched people place their offerings in the box (Luke 21:1), He took note of the fact that everyone was giving out of their surplus funds—the sacrificial element was not part of their giving. The widow, on the other hand, gave a far smaller donation numerically, but per capita her gift was the largest of all! She didn’t tithe; she gave 100-percent! The widow’s heart matched God’s in that act of generosity—that complete sacrifice.

God’s heart for us is seen clearly in His giving also. God held nothing back. Our Father so loved us that He gave His only begotten Son to die for us. God redeemed us from sin, death, and the devil, not with gold or silver, but with His Son’s precious blood (1 Peter 1:18‐19). Our church continues to speak of the “tithe” according to popular usage, for a tenth of our income is a good, biblical starting point in the school of generosity. And we teach that we are all set free to give even more than a tithe. Ten percent is just the beginning!