Financial Peace and Provision

Financial Peace and Provision

6 Questions about Stewardship and Tithing

God presents a totally different, even counter-intuitive, way of living, blessing and success in the Bible. It centres around letting go of controlling everything, putting God first and trusting Him in every area of your life. Here are some examples of how God show us a different way to live:

  • Want to be successful in your work? Take a rest day each week and trust God to do what you can’t
  • Have a problem you can’t solve? Ask God’s help with it in prayer
  • Want to have financial peace and provision? Give money to others

We are starting a conversation about stewardship, tithing and financial generosity, a key way we experience God’s peace and provision in our finances. We have deliberately included a lot of Bible references so you can study them for yourself. 

1. What is stewardship?

Stewardship is a Biblical concept that acknowledges that everything belongs to God and is a gift from God. Stewardship involves our finances but is much broader to include making every part of our life, our time, abilities and gifting available to God. We are entrusted with a responsibility all our resources to use it to build God's Kingdom and advance His purposes. 

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
    the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it on the seas
    and established it on the waters.

Psalm 24:1-2 NIV

God's plan and the design for humanity is that we are stewards and He has given us the authority to do it and accountability for the results. 

Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Genesis 1:28 NLT 

2. What are tithes and offerings?

The word “tithe” literally means “a tenth part”, 10% of your financial income. In the Old Testament, believers were required to give a tenth of their income to the support of the ministry and the needs of the poor through the temple. The New Testament teaches that we should give as we are “able and even beyond [our] ability” (2 Corinthians 8:3 NIV) and now it is given to the local church. Therefore, the tithe (10%) is seen as a kind of minimum guideline for giving.  An “offering” is anything you give in addition to your tithe and this is given wherever you feel led to. 

    3. Why tithe?

    “The purpose of tithing is to teach you to always put God in first place in your life.” Deuteronomy 14:23 LB

    The Bible tells us that tithing is a way that you show God has priority in our lives and you trust Him with your whole life, including your finances. It reminds you that you don’t own anything in life, you just manage things He gives.

    It might sound funny, but tithing is for your benefit and the benefit of our community, not God’s.

    Tithing doesn’t benefit God - He doesn’t need anything. Tithing benefits you by reminding you to look outside your own needs to the needs of others. And when we learn to live for others we are happier, more content and make better friends, family, and co-workers.

    At City Lights, our vision is to share what we have with others. Your tithes support the work and growth of our church. This includes:

    • People - the pastor, paid church team, missionaries and people who are doing it tough
    • Paying bills and rent and saving for our new venue
    • Meeting needs in our community

    City Lights targets 10% of its tithes to missionaries, those doing it tough in our community, charities and other Christian organisations. City Lights has financial policies and oversight from its directors and the ACNC and ASIC as a registered charity.

    4. Do you have to tithe to have a relationship with God or come to church?

    No. Tithing is not a financial performance to make God happy with you. You do not have to give to attend church or be welcomed into our community. It should never be used manipulatively. Salvation is by grace and faith through Jesus Christ.  The Apostle Paul says, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Cor 9:7 NIV.

    Tithing is not financial performance to make God happy with you.

    Tithing is obedience to God, not expecting anything in return. It is an invitation to demonstrate gratitude and generosity. Your giving is a response to God’s grace, "God so loved the world that He gave" John 3:16a. While we don’t talk about it much, greed and loving money too much is a bad thing that will distort your life and relationships, and rob you of your ability to trust God. Generosity to others is God’s remedy to these issues.

    Tithing also allows you access to the promises and blessings of God in this area. “Bring your whole tithe to My storehouse. Test me in this” says the Lord, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you won’t have room enough for it!"Malachi 3:10

      5. Is tithing an Old Testament thing?

      Jesus didn’t think so. He said “Yes, you should tithe”. Jesus was very clear that tithing shouldn’t be a merely religious act, it is connected to a life that serves God and others through justice, mercy, and faithfulness. (Matt 23:23). Jesus was acutely aware of the power money can have on what’s most important to us. He  said, "for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matt 6:12).

      The early church was known for its outrageous generosity and compassion for those doing it tough. “They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need”. (Acts 2:45). This is a great example of financial giving that overflowed from a generosity of heart and a desire to share with others; it’s exactly what Jesus had in mind.

      The New Testament church gave:

      1. JOYFULLY
      • Cheerfully, not grudgingly (2 Cor 9:7)
      • Gave willingly, not out of obligation (2 Cor 8:3,12)
      • Lovingly (2 Cor 8:24)
      • Generously (2 Cor 8:2; 9:13)
      • From a grateful heart (2 Cor 8:24), 
      • As a ministry to Jesus and his people (2 Cor 9:11–13)
      3. REGULARLY
      • Proportionately (2 Cor 9:6; 8:14–15)
      • Consistently (1 Cor 16:1–2)
      • Systematically (2 Cor 9:7)

      While the tithe (10%) is not mandated, it is seen and practised by many as a baseline guideline for giving.

      6. How should I start tithing?

      Taking the first step in this area is sometimes challenging but so many have experienced the benefits in their own lives and helped others.

      God’s promise is to test him, God won’t let you down. 
      1. Research. Study what the Bible says about stewardship, tithing and giving. (We recommend God, Money & Me and The Blessed Life as resources)
      2. Decide. Make a decision to put God first in your finances
      3. Plan. Create a plan for your money that includes tithing as a priority. (Note: If you are heavily in debt, seek help on developing a budget and consolidating debt from an organisation like Christians Against Poverty).
      4. Start. Take steps towards tithing through regular giving
      5. Review. Monitor your finances and your sense of peace around your finances. See what happens!
      6. Continue. Continue to give consistently
      7. Expand. As you prove God's faithfulness in giving look for more ways to be generous to more people. God won't let you down. 

      What’s your story? As you give tithes and offerings, your life becomes filled with amazing stories of how you have helped others and advanced God’s Kingdom through the local church. You have testimonies of God providing your needs as you trust Him with your financial security. What an adventure!

      At City Lights, our vision is to share what we have with others. Join us by giving online here. If you have any other questions please ask one of your leaders or contact Ps Andrew at [email protected].