The Giving of One's Tithes
The Church believes that the giving of one’s tithes and offerings is just as important in worship as hearing a sermon or singing a hymn. Tithing as a practice predates the Law under Moses. Abraham and Jacob gave a tenth of their possessions (i.e. not just money) as an act of worship (see: Genesis 14 & 18). This became embedded into the practice of the Israelites, but it did not stop there. They were to give another portion of their goods to the poor every third year (Deuteronomy 26). This is where we get the idea of Alms. As Father Hayden Butler said so well, “Giving in our tithes and abundant generosity is the way we pray with our money.”
It is important to understand however, that we are not bound to a definite percentage of giving. Anyone who has a job and can provide for their daily needs should strive to give 10% of their income as a minimum. If one is drowning in debt, unable to pay their own bills, and is in danger of losing their home or not providing for their daily necessities, that person should not give a dime! They should, however, give in other ways like helping serve in needed capacities of the parish. The church always needs ushers, caretakers of the building, people to help with the food pantry, etc.
Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. (I Timothy 6:17-18)
For Father Miller's full essay on "Why Do We Take Up an Offering?" please click here.