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New Horizons

Helps for Worship #20: Tithes and Offerings

William Shishko

"Give to the Lord the glory due His name; bring an offering, and come into His courts." (Psalm 96:8)

In both the Old Testament (e.g., Ex. 25:2; 35:5; 1 Chron. 16:29) and the New Testament (e.g., 1 Cor. 16:1–2), offerings are treated as part of the worship of God. While some preachers and churches put an over-emphasis on giving (thus sickening people), others put too little emphasis on the subject, and thus disregard an important part of biblical teaching. Some churches do not even include an offering as part of worship, but prefer to put collection boxes at certain spots in the place used for worship. This eliminates the opportunity for people to give as part of worship—something tithes and offerings are meant to be.

The tithe (10 percent of one's income) and offerings (gifts above and beyond the tithe) are a response of thanks for God's good gifts to us. Some churches place the offering after the sermon, so that the giving of tithes and offerings might reflect the commitment of the whole person to what has been preached. However, this may create the false impression that the giver is paying for the sermon, or that the giving of the offering is a sufficient response to a message that actually demands the commitment of the entire life.

A good place to include the offering is after the sung response to the Lord's promise of forgiveness. It is at this point in worship that we are specifically impressed with what God has done for us. He has given his Son for our sins! "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich" (2 Cor. 8:9). It is out of a strongly felt sense of those riches in the gospel that we give our tithes and offerings.

Tithes and offerings also show our commitment to the kingdom of God. All that is given to the church, whether by the weekly offering or by other offerings (such as a monthly deacon's offering), is used to show the love and grace of Christ to others and to make provision for his ministry locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. In political gatherings, people give their money for kingdoms that will end; in the gatherings of God's people, gifts are given to further the kingdom that will never end. What a privilege it is to give our tithes and offerings!

For Reflection

  1. Do you count it a privilege or a burden to give tithes and offerings?
  2. Why does God, who is in need of nothing, ask us to give gifts to him?
  3. Have you ever thought of tithes and offerings as part of worship? How are they a response of praise and thanks?

The author is pastor of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Franklin Square, New York. He quotes the NKJV. Reprinted from New Horizons, July 2007. First article in series. Index.