|What is tithing and should we do it?|
Father Chris, what is tithing, and are we supposed to do it?
A tithe is defined as ten percent of the total. In the Scriptures, the tithe begins with Abel, the son of Adam. He offers the best of what he has back to God, in thanksgiving of all that God has given him—an unblemished lamb. This is the earliest example of offering back to God what is truly His—out of thanksgiving. This continues throughout history, including such saints as Abraham the Patriarch (who gave a tithe of the spoils of war to the Priest-King Melchizedek), Joachim and Anna (who gave 1/3 of their income to the Temple, and 1/3 to the poor), even to the present day.
A tithe was always the Scriptural minimum of giving. However, in today’s day and age, we find it difficult to give to God because of the many demands in life. Yes, we are supposed to give the tithe—but there is no maximum to what we can offer in Thanksgiving to God. However, if we are not accustomed to tithing, we should try to grow into it. Maybe the first year, we offer 1% of our income, and each consecutive year, increase by 1% until we are tithing, lest we fail in our zeal to begin by being unable to continue what we began. It is an adjustment in perspective—the first/best of ourselves, we offer to God...not what is left-over.