April 12, 2012

Where To Tithe When You Don't Regularly Attend Church

Philippines - Manila Cathedral
Where should I send my tithe money if I don’t attend church?  This is a question I have struggled with and have never really come across a clear answer to.  As a Christian, I am called to tithe on my income.  Literally, tithe means 10 percent.  The Bible clearly states that believers should give 10 percent of their income to their local church.  What about believers like me though, who don’t regularly attend church?  I understand the power and the reasoning behind the principle of tithing.  I believe that it is an important element in my walk with God.  But, since I don’t regularly visit God’s house, where am I supposed to give my money?

This is going to be a very short blog post because, in this case, I do not have all the answers.  I admit, I don’t know what to do.  I am sure everybody has their opinions about the tithe.  Whether you should tithe at all, what percentage of your income you should give, who you should give it to, etc.

The following are my understandings of the tithe from a Christian perspective:

  • Tithe means tenth, or 10%.  Any amount less than 10% is called giving, or charity, but cannot literally be considered a tithe.
  • The tithe is supposed to be given to your local church.  Any other giving (such as local charities) should be done above and beyond your tithe to your local church and is called just that, “giving.”
  • Tithing is not a salvation issue.  Not tithing does not mean you are going to hell, just as tithing is not a paid ticket into heaven.
  • A very small percentage of people who call themselves Christians actually tithe the full 10%.
  • The Bible states that if you do tithe, God will open up the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing so great that you will not be able to contain it.
  • I have heard several testimonial stories over the years of people who continued to tithe even though they barely had two nickels to rub together.  Every single story recounts ways that money, or other items necessary for survival, seemed to magically appear into the lives of the people who kept their faith and continued to tithe.

At a church I formerly attended, the pastor would use the following example when he talked about the tithe.  He would say,

When you go out to eat at a restaurant and you finish your meal, who do you pay?  You pay the restaurant you just ate at.  You don’t get up and go across the street and pay them.  You don’t send the money in the mail to your favorite restaurant instead.  You pay the house that feeds you.  It is the same with church.  If you are visiting a church other than your home church, you give your tithe to them that week.

That’s a great example, but does not address my question.  If I don’t attend church, am I even supposed to tithe?  I am Christian and know that I should be tithing.  Using the restaurant example, it’s as if I don’t eat at restaurants, but I really enjoy food and feel like I should be giving money to a restaurant.  That doesn’t make any sense!

I’m hoping you readers can help me out with this one.  Please fill up the comments forum below with your thoughts, opinions, understandings and beliefs on this issue.  It will be greatly appreciated by me.


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