Next weekend, my homily is going to speak to stewardship and an increase in your offertory. We are officially kicking off an offertory increase campaign the weekend of September 23/24. This weekend, in preparation, I wanted to write this article on Tithing, something we are all called to do.
What is Tithing?
The aspect of tithing is found in scripture as far back as in Leviticus 27:30 and 34. “All tithes of the land, whether in grain from the field or in fruit from the trees, belong to the Lord as sacred to Him.” “These are the commandments which the Lord gave to Moses on Mount Sinai for the Israelites.”
Tithing, by definition, is giving of one’s income to the church and the poor. God gave Moses the commandment of tithing in 1300 BC for the purpose of supporting the Levite priests and their mission work. The practice of tithing has a strong precedent in the Bible and church history and is still relevant today. Even in the new testament in Matthew 19:21, Jesus told the rich man: “If you seek perfection go, sell your possessions, and give to the poor. You will have treasure in heaven. Afterward, come back and follow me”.
How Much Should I Be Giving?
The understanding of how much to give at a minimum, which can be derived from scripture, is typically 10% of our income to the church and the poor. The maximum would be giving what Jesus said to the rich man in Matthew 19:21, which I referenced above.
Though tithing is a responsibility of all Christians, there are legitimate exceptions to tithing, such as family members living in poverty with hardly enough to cover their own basic needs. However, those who have the ability should make their best effort to tithe. I think one has to look at their budget and ask themselves, are the things I am buying necessary or not, what I am I doing with my discretionary income?
Regardless of circumstances, we should all try to give something no matter how small the gift. Jesus gave us a great example of this in Mark 12:41 -44, where the poor widow gave a few pennies in the collection box and Jesus said to His disciples, “She gave from her want, all that she had to live on.”
I myself tithe and I do tithe 10%. The model I have always used for myself is the following a 4-3-2-1 model. What does this mean? Let us say your annual income, after taxes is $100,000. That would mean you should tithe $10,000/year. From that $10,000, you would break this up in the following way:
$4,000 to your church
$3,000 to your preferred charitable organization/Catholic Services Appeal
$2,000 to other charitable organizations
$1,000 to randomly give out to homeless
What I do know is if all of us in the parish tithed, on average, the way we should our collection would be somewhere around $5,000/week higher than we currently take in. So, as we prepare to begin our offertory increase campaign, I ask you to look at the percentage you tithe on an annual basis. If you are tithing a total of 2%, I am not asking you to jump to 10%, that will take time. But begin that increase now.
Again, I will be preaching on the subject offertory increase next weekend as we begin our offertory increase drive.
Peace and I thank you for hearing me out on this very sensitive area.
Fr Ron Richards