Q: What is the tithe? Why should I tithe?
A: Tithe is the first tenth-portion of the harvest. If your harvest yields 100 bushels of grain, you keep 90 bushels and give 10 bushels to God. What do you do with the 90 bushels? Anything you want. Provide for living expenses, pay your taxes, give to charities, save for future needs. Up to you.
What does God do with the 10 bushels? The same things God does with our lives: promote justice, work for reconciliation, heal the sick and the blind, liberate the oppressed, draw all humanity closer to its God-given purposes.
How do you give the 10 bushels to God? Up to you. Many give to their faith community to support the Godly work that it does. The faith community, in turn, decides how to deploy those tithes. A healthy faith community gives itself away to the world. It can also provide a gathering place for the community. If all it does is fund that gathering place, the community has lost its way.
Now, why should I tithe? Two reasons:
First, gratitude. Gratitude for the 100 bushels you harvest, for that 100 bushels came from God. Many say, “I earned it.” That is delusional. We harvest on land God created, using resources God created, deploying skills God gave us, in partnership with people whom God nurtures. The great lie told by Mammon is that we earn our wealth and therefore we get to keep it all.
Second, win the battle with Mammon. Unmask the lie, break free from the great deception, understand the true nature of creation.