I just finished five books in preparation for our community’s study on Stewardship. The first two comes from the Church of the Savior – Ched Myer’s ‘Sabbath Economics’ and Breaking the Taboo: Talking about money and faith in the church by John Sonnenday. I also read Craig Blomberg’s ‘Neiher Poverty nor Riches’ and ‘Faith and Wealth’ by Juso Gonzalez and Simplicity by Richard Foster.
All of these books have forced me into the Bible afresh. It feels like I’m relearning a lot of stuff about my stuff (which is actually God’s stuff). On Thursday we reviewed all of the Scriptures in the Bible that touches on tithing. BTW there are only three passages in the New Testament. After our study I’m starting to think that the tithe has been one of the biggest cop-out’s in the topic of stewardship. Now, I know that most people don’t even tithe (I think the average American tithes 3%).
The title of our study on Thursday night was ‘Why the tithe is not a tithe’. The word tithe means 10% – in other words when I tithe I say that I’m giving away 10% of the income I receive. After our study we found that the tithe in ancient Israel actually amounted to 23.3% (they tithed two times a year and three times every three years). So if you say that you ‘tithe’ then you’re saying that 23.3% goes back to God.
In the following weeks we’ll study further and see how deep the rabbit hole goes ….