The (tax) laws of the people of Israel has a rule that everybody should bring 10 % of their income to the temple as wages for the tribe of Levi. The Levites didn’t have land because they were chosen to serve in the temple and because of that they weren’t able to earn their own income. (Numbers 18:20-21) And the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow as well are supported with these gifts, because they also didn’t have their own source of income. (Deuteronomy 26:12)

Like all the rules of the Old Testament this also had gotten its own interpretation. Pharisees in Jesus’ time took it so far that they even gave tithes of their little herbs gardens. Better safe than sorry, they must have thought, afraid to be confronted with the curse of not to keeping the law. (Matthew 23:23)

Depending the denomination a church takes tithing very seriously or doesn’t value it that much. But church members should contribute to the costs of the building, salaries and activities, that is just plain logic. Everybody is on the same page here.


  • If you don’t tithe, you rob God (Malachite 3:8-10)

  • 3% of your income for the church is a reasonable amount.

  • I don’t give a fixed percentage but what is on my heart to give.

  • I give my tithes to mission and charity. The church is rich enough.

  • I don’t give, I need the money myself too badly.

How you can also look at it:

After he had met God in a dream, Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father’s household, then the Lord will be my God and (…) of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.” (Genesis 28:20-22)

This isn’t about paying the bills or about what the law tells you to do. It also isn’t about being blessed because you decently followed the rules. It is about God blessing you and you being grateful for it. It is about God blessing you so you can be a blessing. This is God’s promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and to all the believers as children of Abraham.

“God is able to make it up to you by giving you everything you need and more so that there will not only be enough for your own needs but plenty left over to give joyfully to others.” (2 Corinthians 9:8 NLT)

A lot of people find it hard to be separated from their money. They preferably wouldn’t pay taxes or at least as little as possible. They also don’t like to pay a fixed contribution to the church. But they still want good roads, good education and good healthcare, good church buildings, a well educated pastor and good musicians with good equipment. They actually want a champagne taste on a beer budget.

Maybe the problem is that church is so self-evident that it isn’t really a priority. She has always been there and she always will be. If you do or don’t give, a little or a lot, it doesn’t matter much in the larger scheme of things. So if it doesn’t suit you, you don’t give. Or you give €30,- a month because you pay that same amount to your sports club. Why would you give €200,- a month? Then you can only keep €1800,-

My own difficulty was that ‘they’ didn’t always spent ‘my’ money the way I should do it. So I preferred to give to a project. Then I knew my money was well spent and I saw concrete results of it. But that is not the way it works. The church is a body. You can’t maintain ‘the hand’ because you love touching and starve ‘the foot’ because you don’t see the point in walking. Of course what the church does and does not do and what budgets are attached to that, should be open to discussion, but when that is settled, all members should commit and contribute according to their ability.

Wouldn’t it be fun if you make a budget plan for the new year, everybody tells what they are able to contribute and you end up having a surplus of money? Then you are able to see what church or organisation you can support. Or you can do those extra things as a church that are on your wish list. Wouldn’t that be so much better than a begging letter because you almost ran out of money?

‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ or ‘it is better to give than to get’ it says in Acts 20:35. I say; do try this at home by contributing according to your means.