Here, we should address tithing. The Old Testament uses the word ‘tithing’ to signify that a tenth of our annual income is allocated to support our church. The Law of Moses required Israelite’s to ‘tithe’ 10 percent of their first fruits.
In the New Testament, we discern that giving and tithing of our money evidences what is in our heart. See Matthew 6:21 – “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Since the Bible doesn’t command Christians to give a tenth, you might prefer to use your ‘tithe money’ to directly help needy people. For example: your child remarks about a classmate, who doesn’t have a coat. Your neighbor on a fixed income. An out-of-work relative can’t afford Christmas for his children. Would your heart reach out in situations such as these?
God will applaud and bless your good works of charity, according to Deuteronomy 15:10, “Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.”
Charity to Strangers
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. – Hebrews 13:2
Doesn’t this scripture just send chills down your spine? This beautiful verse shows that the Bible doesn’t impose limits on when to express charity to others. What if you didn’t reach out to help a stranger in distress? What if the stranger was an angel? How would you feel?
In contemporary culture, it isn’t prudent to invite strangers into our home for a meal and warm bed, because of the few unsavory people, who would cause us harm. This is most unfortunate, but we can be kind to strangers, even if indirectly. For example: donate to food banks, toy drives, foundations that help the homeless and more.
Be a Cheerful Giver
The Bible equates charity with giving and lauds cheerful givers.
…so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver. – 2 Corinthians 9:7
Giving reluctantly or due to obligatory feelings, is futile. This is not Bible charity, it’s akin to peer pressure. Or, what will people think if I don’t give my part?
Something to Ponder
Are you familiar with James 1:17, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
Does this Bible verse speak to you? Ponder on it. When was the last time you expressed appreciation to our “Father of lights” for the good and perfect gifts he gives you? As Christians, we know God is responsible for all the good in our lives, but do we give it conscious thought and action?
For example, throughout the Bible, God wants us to give something to someone else that he gave to us. Showing charityto others in this manner is one way of being God’s cheerful helper.
Charity Begins at Home?
“Charity begins at home” is not exactly expressed in the Bible. However, it closely relates to Timothy 1 5-4, “But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable to God.”
Taking care of your family’s needs, before taking care of yourself is an act of love and charity. That charity begins at home isn’t a valid reason not to help others.