The topic of tithing has become quite the contentious can of worms. Personally, I believe we should be tithing children of God; that it is not just an Old Testament notion that is nullified by the New Testament, but I also believe that every person should decide for themselves (1) if they will give, and (2) how much? God loves a cheerful giver. It tells me the attitude is as important as the action.
Sadly so many people I speak to nowadays have come to view the modern church as no more than greedy money grabbers, more concerned with lost dollars
In my memories life growing up was not a life of abundance. My parents worked hard to give us what we needed but it was pretty much paycheck to paycheck. I made the decision quite early on that I wanted more of what God promises: to generously provide all I need; to have what I need and plenty left over to share. God is not a God of poverty, of lack. Instead of being the one in need, I wanted to be one to help meet them. And so at a very early age I went out on my own and started working real hard pursuing this better life. I soon found out it wasn't going to be that easy (nor that instant).
My tithing journey started at the bottom of one of the deepest valleys of my life. I had just come crashing down from living the high life as a young, married couple, to having to go back to being a single income, struggling divorced young woman - heartbroken and penniless. I was so deep in debt I couldn't see my way out of it - not for a very long time, anyways, and every meal had turned into an answered prayer. What a fine time for God to start nudging me about tithing, huh? Asking me to give away the little, itty bitty I had. Just how was I going to pay my bills then... let alone my debt? Of course I had explained all this to God... repeatedly... passionately, but nope, I still felt him relentlessly prompting me.
My next question was, "ok, how much then should I pay, and should I calculate it on before or after tax income?" I felt to just start doing something and go from there. I had to decide what I could give with a cheerful heart. I don't believe giving millions begrudgingly would gain you any reward, so attitude really matters to me. I started off paying what - at the time - equated to only one percent of my income. Legalistically it was a far cry from ten percent but it was one whole percent cheerfully.
As the months rolled by and my faith grew I felt to gradually increase my giving and once I got to half of what a tithe would be for me, I felt Holy Spirit nudging me to make the jump to the full tithe. In the earlier months I had witnessed God's faithfulness in my baby steps and so I decided to take a leap of faith.
Now, you don't need to be a genius to know when you pay out more money, you should have less money, right? Therefore it should be harder to meet your financial obligations, not so? Instead - against any accounting equation I've learned even to this day - I suddenly seemed to have more money than before, even though my salary had not increased. Suddenly small things like shampoo or toothpaste would last up to three months, or my dish wash liquid up to eight months, and my car had better fuel consumption than anyone else I know - still to this day. Something certainly seemed to be multiplying somehow... (Yeah! God's grace and faithfulness to fulfill His promise in Malachi 3 and 2 Corinthians 9!)
Then there were one or two months where I thought I needed the money for something and I had skipped paying my tithes. Logically speaking one would think I'd have more money, right, but nope! On those months - no matter how hard I tried to pinch every penny - it would seem my pockets had holes in them.
Alas, I don't know how it works - just that it does! God's Work works!
So why do you think tithing is such an issue for God? He most certainly does not need our money; Everything in the universe belongs to Him. No, God desires your heart. He desires a heart that says, "I love and trust my God more than my money." For you see, no one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. (Matthew 6:24)
If there is one thing I've learned in life it is that people spend their money where their heart is. Where is yours?
Let's say you would like to pay your tithe but you don't want it to simply line some rotten apple's pockets, what can you do? The Bible says you will know a tree by its fruit. So examine the fruit of the organizations you may want to join with, then choose fertile soil to sow into so your seed may yield an abundant harvest - not just for you, but also for God's Kingdom the way He intended it.
You know, if there's one thing God is passionate about it is people. And as much as there as those who use people's money to buy the next fancy car or Prada bag, there are those who are feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, digging fresh water wells, helping disaster victims rebuild their lives, helping the orphans, providing much needed medical & dental services, spreading the gospel, etc. just like Jesus tells us to do. It's not money that's the problem, it is whose hands the money is in. So I encourage you to seek God for wisdom so He may show you which path your money should take and may God Himself measure your reward. (Proverbs 3:6)