Common Christian Questions: I'm Just a Teen, So Why Should I Tithe?

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Tithing is a form of offering to the church. For most people a tithe means the giving of at least ten percent of their income. Some churches and youth groups put an emphasis on the giving to the church, while others tend to skim over it. Yet developing the discipline of tithing early sets us up to feel a responsibility to our churches later and helps us with our money management skills later.

Where Does Tithing Come From?

There are several examples of tithing in the Old Testament. In Leviticus 27:30 and Malachi 3:10 we are asked to give an offering of what we bring in. After all, everything we have has been given to us by God, right? Even in the New Testament, tithing is referenced. In Matthew 23 Jesus even reminds the Pharisees that they need to not only tithe, but also pay attention to things like mercy, justice, and faith.

But I Only Get an Allowance!

Yes, it's easy to find excuses not to tithe. Many of us are privileged to live in some of the most affluent countries in the world. Sometimes we get caught up in comparing what we have to what others have around us, but truthfully, we are really lucky. Even if we only make a little, we can live our lives in a way that we give generously no matter what we're making. Remember the New Testament widow who gave her last pennies in offering? She had nothing to give but those two pennies, and give she did. She knew that giving an offering was important spiritually. We all have something we can spare to give. Sure, it can be a sacrifice. Yet, it's a sacrifice worth giving.

What You Learn from Tithing

When you tithe, you're expressing something from your heart. If we move beyond the excuses we create for ourselves why we don't give, we gain more than we ever thought we could. Learning to tithe early teaches us a lot about discipline, stewardship, and giving. Giving a tithe comes from a generous heart. It means we overcome the selfishness inside. Sometimes it's easy to focus only on ourselves and what we need, but really, we are called to think about and protect others around us, too. Tithing takes us a little away from ourselves for a moment.

Tithing also forces us to be better with our finances. Yes, you're a teenager, but learning to manage your money will be one of the most useful skills in your life. Tithing also teaches us stewardship over the church. We love all the youth group activities, instruments used in worship, mission trips overseas…but each of those things takes money. By tithing, we are caring for the church and the church body so that it can continue. You may think your contribution isn't needed due to it being small, but every bit counts.

We also learn how to be grateful for what we have. Gratitude for all that we have been given is easy to forget. In a world of affluence, we sometimes forget that others have less. As we tithe we are reminded to thank God for all He has provided. Giving up that money humbles us.

How to Start Tithing

It's easy to talk about tithing, but a whole other thing to start doing it. If 10 percent seems too much at first, start smaller. Work your way up from an amount that feels comfortable to an amount that is seen more as a sacrifice. Some people are able to give more than 10 percent of their income, and that is wonderful, but the amount you give is between you and God. If giving makes you anxious, try a little at a time. Eventually, tithing will become far more natural and easy.