Some Commonly Asked Questions on Tithing
Q: Is “tithing” simply a general word for giving?
A: No, tithing literally means “tenth” and refers to giving 10% of our income to God and His work.
Q: Isn’t it my money?
A: God is the rightful owner of all I have (Psalms 24:1-2). God trusts me to steward what belongs to him in a way that reflects his priorities and demonstrates wisdom and faith. Since it all belongs to him, I need to submit to the giving principals laid out in his word.
Q: Is tithing required at OEPC?
A: Not required, but we believe the Bible teaches tithing- not as a legalism, but as a grace-filled challenge and one which God promises to bless (Malachi 3:10). God does give a clear warning: to withhold a biblical portion 10% of household income is to steal what is rightfully his. Giving reflects a trust in God as our Provider. God challenges us to “put him to the test.” As we obey what he asks, he promises to meet our needs. We believe that “90% with you and God is greater than 100% on your own.”
Q: What if I am not tithing?
A: We encourage you to make small but definite steps toward a tithe and/or beyond. The key question is not necessarily where you are right now, but in what direction are you moving? Are you growing in the grace of giving? (2 Corinthians 8:1-7).
Q: Where should I direct my tithe or 10%?
A: Some believe that Scripture teaches a concept called “storehouse tithing” (Malachi 3:9,10) which implies that we should give a complete tithe to the local church to which we are committed. After that, giving beyond the 10% is “freewill” giving and can be directed anywhere. We respect this viewpoint but have never proclaimed it as a binding principle. We recognize there are many outstanding causes in the Kingdom which merit our support and which lie beyond the scope of our church’s ministry.
Q: Should I tithe on my gross or net earnings?
A: We believe it is open to choice. The scriptural principle is clear: “If you sow bountifully, you will reap bountifully; if you sow sparingly you will reap sparingly” (2 Corinthians 9:6). God wants to reward the person who gives generously and obediently to him. The motive out of which we ask this question is important.
Q: Is pledging required?
A: Pledging is not required. It is recommended. As in any area of life, we tend to perform at a higher level when we have clear-cut goals. Pledging helps the one who pledges to be intentional and systematic in his or her giving. We believe that stewardship of finances is a planned commitment, carried out with a willing and cheerful spirit (2 Corinthians 9:7). Pledging is not so much a promise as a faith goal. The principle is “first fruits”, giving back to God first, with the first he has entrusted to me.
Q: Does anyone know how much I give?
A: Based on Jesus’ teaching on the humility of giving (Matthew 6), your giving is known only to God and our Administrator for recording purposes.
Q: How will my gifts be used?
A: Giving is an act of Worship (Romans 12:1). After the risks of COVID-19 pass, when able to meet together, we will include the collecting of tithes and offerings in the weekend service as a visible reminder that giving is an act of worship. Your gifts are used locally and around the world to proclaim the message that Jesus is Lord.
Q: Should I tithe if I am deeply in debt and unable to pay creditors on-time?
A: Perhaps those of us in these circumstances could give a lower percentage until we are able to reduce our debt enough that we are not compromising our witness to creditors.
Q: Should I tithe if my spouse is opposed to it?
A: Giving is intended to be a cheerful, worship experience. It should never become a wedge in a marriage relationship. Communicate your heart on the matter and try to work out a compromise so that you can give some portion of your income without alienating your spouse. In all of these questions, the accent through Jesus Christ is on grace.
Q: What is the best reason to give?
A: Christ has given everything on the cross for us. Our generous giving reflects our grateful response to His amazing grace, and our trust that God will provide (Colossians 3:23-24).