The Bible tells us in Proverbs 3:9-10 that we should “Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.”
Our family has admittedly struggled with tithing. First and foremost because we are in a bit of debt, and still digging our way out of it. But also because there was a time when we weren’t even sure if it was Biblical. Or if it was something that was just falsely preached as being true.
Since then we have come to see that tithing is most definitely Biblical. There are many purposes to tithing, but there are two main purposes that I’ve come to learn. First, we are submitting everything we have to God and demonstrating our trust towards Him and His provision. Secondly, we tithe to be God’s hands and feet. We give to those people and ministries that God puts in our path in order to fulfill His purposes.
So in this post I’d like to discuss just six different ways that you can give of your first fruits. I can’t stress enough that praying for God’s leading is vital. But here are some ideas.
Your Local Church
Giving to your local church is probably the most obvious route. And while there is absolutely nothing wrong with giving to your local church, I think there’s a big misconception that your tithe has to go there. When that’s not true. The truth is that you should pray regularly about where God wants HIS money to go. There may be a week that He has other plans. Or that He needs you to be someone else’s answered prayer. It’s really important to prayerfully tithe so that you are sending God’s money where He wants it to go.
But, if God leads you to give to your local church, then that’s a wonderful place to give of your first fruits. However, I must warn you that if you do give to your local church, make sure you are giving willingly and with a humble heart.
I actually have some qualms about churches that pass the collection plate. There are several reasons for this. First, we are to give with a cheerful heart (2 Corinthians 9:7) (not out of obligation). We are also to be humble in everything we do. When the collection plate is passed, it can make you feel guilty if you don’t put something in, and it is almost making a show out of giving rather than doing it in a private and humble way. I much prefer when churches choose to have a collection box that you can give to on your own time and more privately.
Online Ministries and Christian Websites
While the advent of the internet has opened a lot of doors for wickedness, it has also opened a lot of doors for genuine ministries to have a platform to serve God. There are countless online ministries and Christian websites that offer advice, support, studies, and encouragement in your walk with God.
There are even those ministries which take the show to YouTube and offer video sermons for those who don’t have a local church and this is such a blessing to the Christian community!
So the next time you find yourself browsing the internet, take into prayerful consideration if God desires for your tithe to go to one of these online ministries. The church isn’t just a building, it is the Body of Christ, and we are all members who love and serve Jesus.
Other Various Offline Christian Ministries
While most ministries these days will more than likely have a website, you may come across a Christian ministry in person that God convicts you to give to. Perhaps it’s a homeless ministry, children’s ministry, or tract ministry, or something like that. If you find a brother or sister in Christ working hard to spread the good news, then consider giving of your first fruits to support the ministry God has called them to.
If you want to give privately you can even find out if they have a website and donate to them through that, or simply mail them a check or cash that can help advance their ministry for God’s glory.
Christian Podcasts and Radio Stations
There are so many wonderful Christian podcasts out there these days. But do you realize how much it takes to run that sort of thing? There is so much equipment you need, not to mention your time. Giving to these sorts of ministries is a wonderful way to give of your first fruits.
Or perhaps you have a Christian radio station that you listen to regularly. You could consider donating to them too. More than likely they have a website and if not then you can call and ask where you can send donations to.
Again, if a brother or sister in Christ is spreading God’s Word accurately and in truth, then it’s worth at least praying for God to lead you on whether or not to give to them.
Giving to the Poor
Do you regularly pass homeless people on your commute to work? Or do you always see someone on a particular road that you frequent? Ask God if you should direct some of His money to those who are in need. Matthew 25 teaches us that when we choose to help those in need, we are also helping Jesus:
“For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.” – Matthew 25:35-36
If you’re not comfortable giving cash to the homeless for fear that they will spend it on addictions, then consider buying them a hot meal or putting together a little bag with non-perishable food, water and some comforts like a scarf, etc. You can also include some tracts and a Bible in your bag (you can buy Bibles for cheap from Amazon or the Dollar Tree).
Just remember to stay safe and trust the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Helping a Friend in Need
Sometimes we are put in the right place at the right time to be the answer to someone else’s prayers. If you find yourself in a situation where a friend is in need of financial help, food, etc. Perhaps God has put you there to be His hands and feet.
Certainly, like all the other ways you can give of your first fruits, you should do so prayerfully. Perhaps you want to find a way to give to them anonymously, or maybe you’re concerned about being taken advantage of. Ask God for His desire for the situation to be known to you.
But if you do decide that you want to help a friend, this is a wonderful place to direct your first fruits, providing that God leads you to do so.
Where is the best place to tithe?
As I’ve reiterated throughout this post, there is no definitive answer. I’m a firm believer that God leads us all differently in this area. It is good to note though that the Hebrew word for tithe means “tenth” so this is where the amount of 10% comes from.
Originally the tithe was meant to be for the Levites who had no other job than to be priests and for the poor in the community. So directing your first fruits to any type of ministry that serves the Body of Christ or those in need of help are all places that God would approve of.
But God puts people and situations in each of our paths. So every single person has a different leading to the exact place they should give to. Prayerfully ask God each week where He wants you to direct His money. You can also place some of your tithe money into a savings account if you’re not sure where God wants it to go yet. This is also good because you can have some extra money on hand in case you come across someone in need.
Above all…pray for God’s leading. And don’t think that it always has to go to the same place every week. Allow yourself to have the faith to trust in God’s leading each week and He will direct your path.