The Number 10

Most of us are aware that we as Christians are to give, but many people get hung up on the 10% part of the tithe.  The fact is that God knows we can not all give an equal amount because we all have different resources, so He gave a percentage ensuring it would equal out. 


"Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on."  Mark 12:41-44  

Jesus understood that even though this widow gave a small amount compared to the others, her heart was more giving because she gave a larger percentage of what she had than all the others. This verse is also interesting because this widow gave all she had to live on.  There are many people today who say they can't afford to tithe but this woman realized she couldn't afford not to.   

God knows we are naturally inclined to be selfish and will want to keep our money. So while, yes, we should give cheerfully, sometimes we need to take the step and actually give regardless of our internal feelings. The act of giving allows God to change our hearts so that ultimately we end up doing so cheerfully.  Many of us, if we let our natural minds decide how much to give, would likely opt for a lot less than 10%. Having a standard keeps us accountable. 

Trusting the Church

So what if you don't take issue with the concept of giving or even the concept of giving 10%? What if you, like many of the commentors, take issue with those you hand your money over to: the Church.  Those who express this concern reveal two potential problems that need to be addressed: 

1. This individual's trust isn't in God (and the church He's placed them in). Or

2. This individual is attending an untrustworthy church and should consider finding a new one.  

The truth is, church leaders are responsible for using church money in a responsible way - they have more accountability for that than we do. And as mentioned previously, most of them do a pretty good job of this. Still, it's worth bearing in mind that our accountability as believers is simply to give and trust that God will take care of the rest.  Hopefully you are in a church where you can trust your leaders to do what is right.  If you are unable to find such a church, then it would be beneficial to work on your trust in God, asking Him to help you trust the leaders He has placed you under (or pray to help you find a solution if there is a genuine problem of corruption present). But just remember, you're responsible for what you give and for your heart, and the church leaders are responsible for how to use it.

In closing, I'd like to point out that the percentage you ultimately give is between you and God, however there are many who do give 10% and want to offer encouragement to others to do the same. Think about it: If some individuals are willing to give 10% of their income (or more) to their church -- the place that feeds and teaches them -- and if some individuals are experiencing the blessings of giving away income to care for the needy and want to encourage others to experience the same blessings they've been experiencing - is that such a bad thing?

Cortni Marrazzo currently resides in Spokane, Washington with her husband Jason. She and her husband successfully paid off over $11,000 worth of debt in their first year of marriage and she desires to help others reach their financial potential. Cortni has an Associate's Degree in Biblical Discipleship from Dominion College and is currently pursuing her passion for writing while running her own home-based business, Essential Excellence. Contact her at or view some more of her financial articles here.