Archive for the tag “tithing”

Tithing, Offerings and Alms, part 2: Offering and Alms

Malachi 3:10 –  Bring the full tenth into the storehouse so that there may be food in My house. Test Me in this way,” says the Lord of Hosts. “See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out a blessing for you without measure.

Last week I discussed the first part of this, tithing. Just to recap quickly, a tithe is 10% of EVERYTHING. That means 10% off the topline of our income and 10% of our time. Getting to a point of being able to understand just how important that is results in maturity in your Christian walk.

It isn’t easy to tithe. But that is the starting point of maturity with your finances and with your time, two things that everyone claims to not have enough of.

But this week, I want to focus on the last two pieces of the puzzle, offerings and alms.

Let’s first look at offerings.

Offerings are that which go above the tithe. As Christians, we are obligated to give the first 10% to God. We PAY the tithe. We GIVE the offering. Offerings simply come from what you feel you are led to give. A very confused Scripture in the Bible is Luke 6:38.

Luke 6:38 – Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

This verse is talking about offerings, not tithes. Remember, we PAY tithe, we GIVE offering. And look at something else, here.   When we GIVE our offering, we get a blessing in return. This is a blessing that will come from MEN. Also, this blessing that is received is dependent upon the measure of offering you give. When we pay our tithe, the windows of heaven are opened and blessings are provided by God. When we give an offering, men return the blessing to us.

One of the words for “give” in Hebrew means “to lay a foundation.” When you give your offering, you are laying a foundation for men to give back to you. Therefore, when you provide an offering, you should expect to be blessed in return.

Next, let’s look at alms.

Simply put, alms are what we would consider charitable giving. When one thinks of alms, the first Scripture to come to mind is Proverbs 19:17.

Proverbs 19:17 – “He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.”

This is not a tithe. It is not an offering. We are not PAYing our tithe. We are not GIVING an offering.   We are creating a LOAN to God. And God promises to repay that loan. God pays this back….with interest.

Let’s look at another verse to show this, 2 Corinthians 9:10-12.

2 Corinthians 9:10-12 –  Now the One who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for all generosity, which produces thanksgiving to God through us. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing in many acts of thanksgiving to God.

These alms are sown.

And what happens when we sow? We receive our harvest plus a return on our investment.

Alms are something I would plant and the Lord would multiply back to me, both physically and in righteousness.

So where do you stand in your finances and the Kingdom of heaven?

Are you PAYING your tithe and receiving the blessings from God through the open windows of heaven? Are you GIVING offerings to meet the needs of others and the church and receiving back from others? Are you sowing alms to the poor and allowing God to multiply it back to you through increasing the fruits of your righteousness?

I’m not a prosperity gospel preacher by any means, but with regard to our finances, God has laid out a pretty straightforward message of giving and receiving that we need to be open to and praise God that He has given to us.

Matthew 23:23 – “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You pay a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, yet you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. These things should have been done without neglecting the others.

Tithing, Offering, Alms : Part 1, Tithing

2 Corinthians 9:7 – Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

There are really 3 things the Bible talks about when it comes to giving of ourselves. They are the tithe, the offering, and alms. These are three very different and distinct things, but we are required to do them all as Christians.

How many times have you been getting ready to go to church and you log into your bank account online and see how much money you have left in there and then do this big, long mathematical problem to figure out if you can afford to tithe this week and how much you can afford?

I’m raising my hand.

We’ve all been there.

Just recently, when I started my new company, it was very sporadic as to when I would get paid. There were some months I did not take a pay check. I remember quite a few Sundays looking in my bank account and saying to myself, “can I afford to tithe this week?”

And, truth be told, there were some Sundays where I did not put anything into the plate simply because I had nothing coming into my bank account.

But what I want to look at this week is tithing and how those differ from offerings and alms. I’d also like to define this tithe a little better because a lot of people feel the tithe is only money.

Simply put, a tithe is 10%.

Ok, Fred, 10%. 10% of what exactly?



Yes, everything.

Malachi 3:10 – Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.

Now that my schizophrenic moment has passed, I want to be serious. The tithe is 10% of everything…off the top. Many churches call it the “3 T’s:” Time, Talent and Treasure.

The treasure part is easiest to define. We all get a paycheck. On average, most paychecks are comprised of 72% of the overall gross pay. So if you get paid $1,000, you will most likely bring home $720. Now that changes with bonuses and other one-time payments as the government taxes those at 45% or so. But to make the numbers easy, we are simply going to talk about that $1,000 GROSS paycheck.

Your company pays you $1,000 but the government gets their due. After you are done getting Uncle Sam to take his 28%, you are left $720.

YOUR TITHE IS 10% OFF THE TOP…the gross pay.

This means that when you get your paycheck, you should immediately take $100 and tithe that to your home church.

But, Fred, taking $100 each pay period means I can’t afford my mortgage or food or gas.

Here is my answer, and you are not going to like it.

If you can’t afford to give a tithe off 10% of the gross pay, then you are living above your means.

Proverbs 11:24 – One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.

Let me ask you, do you have one of those fancy smartphones that do everything and you are paying $117/month for? Most people who claim financial problems do.

How about cable or satellite TV? Are you paying your $74/month for that?

When you get your paycheck, you already know what bills you need to pay and you pay those based on the $720/check you receive.

If you took the $720 and reduced it by $100 and gave that to the church then put the rest toward your bills, that is what you would have to live off of, or $620/check.

I realize that is a scary proposition. Money is necessity in this day and age. And most families do not have enough money.

But most families also do not have a budget set.

I bet if you polled the average church-going family and asked them to show you their weekly budget, they would not be able to show it to you. You would get a lot of people thinking hard about the bills they pay and you might hear something like, “well, I have to pay the mortgage, then the child care, then I have the car payment, college loans, etc….”

Not a lot of people have it written down and modify it as bills change or salaries change.

At the end of this post, I will list some action items for each of you to get you on track with your tithing and your finances.

Also in the tithe is our talent and time. When I was not making any money with my company, I had the thought every day that I can’t give time to God because I need to pour more into my company. Yes, I needed to work smarter, but I did not need to sacrifice the time I gave to God to make it happen.

Psalm 4:5 – Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord.

You have 24 hours in a day. 1,440 minutes. We should work up to 144 minutes per day being dedicated to God.

Now I will readily admit that this is where I fail Him.

But just like our money, we should be budgeting our time.

This time with God could be spent completely in prayer. I’ve done that before. But then again it could be spent reading your Bible, singing praises to God, reading books from other authors about God and Biblical studies, or attending church events.

I try every morning to spend at least 30 minutes in the Word. I start with the Bible verse of the day that is sent to my phone and pray about that. Then I take that verse and try to follow it systematically throughout the Bible. I will have a concordance with me and look up the basic meaning of the verse.

For example, today, my morning verse 1 Timothy 4:13. This is a verse about reading Scripture. Not just reading it, but reading it in public. Preaching and teaching it. So after I read that verse, I prayed and asked God to give me wisdom with regard to it. Then I dug into my concordance and came up with Psalm 119 (my favorite chapter in the entire Bible, by the way), Nehemiah 8:1-18 and Revelation 1:1-3. I followed the Bible through the Old and New Testaments to learn about God’s Word.

That took up about 30 minutes of my morning.

In the evening, I try to spend about an hour on God. I’ll read some verses or spend some time writing things like this blog or my message for Wednesdays. But I will also read some books by my favorite authors and teachers. Right now I am reading Life on Mission. I’ll come up with plans to help incorporate those teachings into my life as well as the lives of those I teach.

But as you can see, I am still about 60 minutes shy of a time tithe to God!

As I write this, there are many days I just want to do something mindless like play xbox or games on my phone. I have plenty of time that I could find without having to stay up extra late or get up extra early.

I simply need to budget my time better.

Ephesians 5:15-17 – Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

And I bet each of us are like that. That we all have pockets of time we could dedicate to God that we are selfishly dedicating to self.

Finally, we should be tithing our talent. We should be engaged in ministries in the church. This can fit within the construct of time, as you don’t need to spend 144 minutes a day at church.


We are called to go and make disciples.

Discipleship is a life-long calling.

We are put into peoples’ lives for a purpose, to engage them about Christ.

When we begin engaging about Christ, then find that well over 2 hours of our day, even if we are not directly preaching the Gospel, is being used for Christ.

Let me explain.

A friend of yours is going through a tough time in life. They need someone to talk to. You spend your lunch break texting them inspiration or even just calling to check in with them. You are showing love. Christ’s love. That is tithing of your talent.

When you are sitting in a meeting and the presenter forgets to turn off the lights before showing the Powerpoint. If you get up and quietly turn off the lights for the group, you are showing love toward them. Christ’s love.

When a ministry in church needs help, EVERY CHRISTIAN should step up and help. No ministry should ever be without people to help. If there are ministries in your church that are suffering and you have not offered to help and you are not currently helping in any ministry, you are not tithing your talent.

Now I am not saying we should count how many hours we spend doing “Christ-related” things. That would be ridiculous. But we should never allow a church ministry to suffer while we stand on the sidelines and we should constantly be growing in Christ to the point where we desire to spend more and more time in Him.

Matthew 6:33 – But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

As I promised, here are some basic steps to tithing properly.


  • Create a budget.

Begin with your take home pay and subtract out 10% of the top line pay. If you make $1,250 before taxes, take $125 and set that aside for the church immediately. The rest can be used for your regular bills and savings.

  • Do not live above your means

You never want to be paying more than 60% of your take home pay in bills. If you are doing that, you will never be able to save enough money in case of emergencies. When I left the corporate world and started my own company, I had some very lean months where I did not pay myself. If I hadn’t had money in my bank account that would last me 6 months, I would have been late on all my bills and in significant financial strain.

  • Set up a time budget

I have to admit that I have not been very good at following mine. The example I use is from a pastor I heard once who said that we have 21 time slots a week. Give 2 of those slots to God. Give 6 of those slots to your family. The rest can be spent doing work or personal. And with the family, at least 2 sets of 2 of them need to be consecutive. For example, there are 3 slots per day, morning, afternoon, and evening. If you are going to work the morning, make sure you have the afternoon and evening available for your family.


If you aren’t. You should be. ‘Nuff said!

James 4:13-17 – Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

The Church has Left the Building

Acts 1:8 –  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

A few days ago, I was driving in MD when I saw this van.



I got so excited.  I looked at my son and said, “take a picture.”  When God eventually allows me to plant a church, THAT is what I want the church to be about!

How many churches are focused on making bigger or better interiors which are more comfortable for people to come to while the world is still a cold, uncomfortable place for the Christian?  It is our job as the leadership in a church to equip our members to go out and bring more people “in.”  I put quotes around the word “in” because while we want these new converts to come to our church, we should just want them to go to any Bible-believing church.  It isn’t about our numbers.  It is about heaven’s numbers.

Acts 2:47 – Praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

It is no secret that a church needs to make its numbers.  It needs to bring in tithes in order to support the paid members of the staff.  This is precisely why it is imperative for Christians to support your local church.  God expects us to give our 10% to the local church.  The expectation of God is to support our local ministry.  It is up to the local ministry to manage that tithe to support the local community.

In return the local ministry provides much more than a weekly pep talk on Sundays.  Your tithe goes to missions work.  That missions work can be international or local.  For example, my church supports ministries in India, Dubai, Peru, Brazil, Honduras, and many other countries.  Beyond that, we support local organizations such as a local elementary school, a food pantry, and multiple outreach missions.

Your tithe goes to support those organizations.

Malachi 3:10 – Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.

But then your tithe goes to supporting discipleship training.  When I tell someone on the street that I am a disciple, they get this look on their face that makes me think I have a snot ball hanging from my nose.  Discipleship training is simply teaching someone how to live a life like Jesus.  Yes, we will never be perfect at it.  But there is no arguing that Jesus led a life that no one can claim was corrupted.  If we strive to live like Him, then we will find that we, too, will live a life that is moral.

Your tithe also goes to supporting programs that will improve the church so that the next generation can be served.  My parents loved the church I grew up in.  They would take me and go every week.  I thought it was THE most boring place on earth.  They didn’t allow the kind of music I liked (of course, I don’t know of too many churches that play “Rock All Night” by KISS).  I thought the pastor was focused only on the old people with the style of preaching he did.

Our churches are no different.  Our kids want to go to a kids program that is relevant.  Don’t roll out a kids program unless it is age specific.  First graders should not be combined with fifth graders.  Yes, they are both elementary students, but both learn very differently.  Our middle schoolers and high schoolers should begin having their own Bible studies.  But those studies should be targeted to what THEY are going through.  Sending an 8th grader to a book study on Song of Solomon is not quite what an 8th grader needs.  Perhaps something more on an 8th grader’s life, such as peer pressure, lying to your parents, or working hard need to be the focus of the study.  Young adults need a different way to learn as well.  Those young professionals enjoy going out in large groups, maybe to a sporting event.  Their discipleship needs to happen while life is being experienced.  It is how they learn.  Crusty, old guys like me enjoy one on one discipleship.  We like to remember our past and share it with others.  Us old folk like to relive our past, while the young adults like to experience the future.

So your tithe goes to supporting various programs to multiple different demo- and psycho-graphics.

Other than 7-11, how many companies that we spend much more than 10% of our income on are targeting every type of person out there?  Shouldn’t we be supporting a church that is working to not just give Jesus to people (that itself is enough to want to support a church) but also striving to improve the lives of every person who sets foot in the building.

To do that, the church needs to have the equipment necessary to reach every person.  To do that, the church needs to be able to seat all the people, create opportunities of fellowship for the people, and create some amenities for enjoyment for the attenders.

It is difficult to support ancillary programs in a church.  The programs may seem like luxuries.  But without some of those items that we may consider luxuries, the next generation will be stuck in a building that will become a burden for them to visit.  The next generation will have no desire to go outside the building and bring others into the building.  The church will die.

Ephesians 4:11-12 – So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up

If you truly want your church to leave the building, then you need to get it ready to equip them before they leave and make it a place that they want others to come.

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