Where you give is very important
If you want to receive the greatest advantage from tithing, you need to give to the point or points where you are receiving spiritual help and inspiration. That does NOT have to be a church. It could be a church but it could be a minister, spiritual counselor, teacher or practitioner. Your tithes will enrich the recipient. This will then help them (an organization or individual) reach financial freedom from financial strain. This enables them to fulfill their high mission of uplifting mankind, unhindered by the material cares which can be so burdensome.
Offerings can make you a pauper while tithes can make you prosperous
While it is better to give meager of spasmodic “love offerings” and voluntary pledges to God’s work, than to give nothing at all, the voluntary offering plan has so often been the unintentional cause of making millions into paupers. Why? Because lack of systematic giving leads to lack of systemic receiving for all concerned. This is probably why freewill offerings, given over and above tithes were considered incidental in Biblical times.
As Kahil Gibran wrote in “The Prophet”, “It is good to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding.
What About Charity Giving?
Is giving to charity or community events the same as tithing? No. In Biblical times the Hebrews became wealthy when they gave their first tithe impersonally to their priests and places of worship. Their second tithe was a festival or retreat tithe. Their third tithe was a charity tithe. They also shared “the first fruits” of their crops, and many other offerings, totaling about one-fourth of their annual income.
If you are giving more than one-tenth, then you should feel freer to share your second- or third- tenth with charity or other humanitarian causes. The first tenth must go to spiritual work or workers whose philosophy is uplifting and helpful to mankind (and one with which you agree). If enough people did this, there would be less humanitarian causes in the world. Those needing charity donations would be learning how to help themselves through the prosperity and success principles. “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
For those individuals who have no spiritual inclinations or interests, giving to various charitable, cultural, educational or humanitarian causes is most commendable. It is a great step forward in the development of their prosperity consciousness of sharing. However, according to the ancient laws of tithing, this is a secondary form of giving, rather than the highest.
Think about this for awhile! Where does your first-tenth (your tithe) go?