For a period of time, I chose not to tithe and rather to give in a generous way. The problem was, as God pointed out to me, the “giving” most of the time brought at least a little glory to me. The people that I gave to would see how generous I was rather than God seeing how generous I was towards Him. True, this giving can give glory to God also, but He does not like sharing. Tithing is something that is done in secret. Only you know whether you are consistent and/or generous. It keeps in perspective that God is sovereign and knows exactly how the money needs to be dispersed. Giving to the church is an organized way to disperse this money. Not that God won’t lead you to give also. He said “what you do for the least of these, you did for Me.” He requires you to give time, energy, money, etc.
A friend told me that it was too legalistic–the whole 10% every month thing. Also, in this legalistic requirement, people gave out of a “have to” rather than “want to” spirit. Truthfully, she’s right. In the beginning, I did give because I felt it was a requirement. But then again, that is why I started fasting, praying, giving to others… Somewhere along the way, the “have to” turned to “want to”. When it started, I was a little afraid what would happen when I did not tithe. It seemed that when I didn’t tithe, my money seemed less or spent faster. When I did, I would get checks in the mail from who knows where? After starting to take notice of these consequences (both positive and negative), I began to tithe out of “have to” AND “afraid not to”. Now, it is so different. It took about 3 years of consistent tithing, but I am at a place where I feel real joy when it’s time to give tithe. I find myself asking what I can give more and still be a good steward. I still have a lot of immaturity in this area, but I have seen the progression just a little bit, and it excites me.
As far as the whole 10% thing, God looks at the heart. Give what you can. But remember, if it doesn’t hurt you a little, it doesn’t require faith. 10% is enough that I cringe a little when I write the check (told you bout that immaturity). If that’s not enough for you to feel financial strain, moneybags, then give 20%. Anyway, just try it for a few years , your life and finances will dramatically change. (Yep I said years. This is an eternal kingdom where life is but a breath. But if you give a few years to a spiritual concept, you will see supernatural, powerful change in that area of your life.)