I've been thinking about tithing lately. Not starting tithing, my husband and I already do that. I've been wondering about whether or not our tithes are Biblically required to go toward our local church, or is it OK to delegate the money toward other things, like charities or those going on mission trips, or people we know of in need? I found an interesting article on tithing and whether or not it is an Old Testament law we no longer are obligated to follow or if it is indeed still taught in the New Testament. Personally, I think tithing is something God wants His followers to do even today, mainly as an act of worship for Him. I know from personal experience that when I don't give God my tithes, my finances are not any better off. Is God punishing me when I don't tithe? I don't think so, but I do think that when I put my trust in Him with my money He makes the rest of my checkbook balance stretch farther. He's not going to let the righteous go begging for bread Psalm 37:25. My struggle lately is what I mentioned already, where should our tithes go? The article mentioned above touches on that as well. I'm still not convinced it has to go to the local church body, though. More research/study on my part needs to be done. As Bill O'Reilly would say, "What say you?".
UPDATE: After I initially wrote this post and upon reading the first comment, I decided that I had better go ahead and research this subject more. I did a word search on the words "tithe" and "offering". Tithe is used in the Old Testament, and the word means "a tenth". Offering is used in both the Old Testament and the New Testament and means "a presentation, oblation or sacrifice". There were several New Testament incidences of offerings being made. I noted the ones given and received by the apostle Paul: Acts 21:25-27 , Acts 24:16-18 , II Cor. 8:18-20 , Phillipians 4:17-19. To me, it's obvious that giving to the Lord and His work is something we as believers should continue to do. I guess the word "tithe" is what gets everybody all worked up. I don't know. But why wouldn't a believer want to give back to God to worship Him and acknowledge His mercy and grace upon our lives? Does it have to be monetarily giving? I think it should be somewhat, according to the verses I read and listed above. Of course our sacrifices are not limited to money. Romans 12:1-2 instructs us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. I hope I've opened up an area of discussion that will help us all increase in faith. I do NOT wish to stir up dissension within the body of believers. If you comment, and I hope you do, please be kind to me (and to each other). I am not a Bible scholar by any means!