I'd like to start tithing. Is it only done with money or can you give other things? And, who should I give to in order to please God?
Your desire to start tithing is honorable. Tithing, giving one-tenth of one’s income, originated in the Old Testament and was part of the Mosaic law, although Abraham (Gen. 14:20) and Jacob (Gen. 28:22) practiced tithing even before that. Some Christians think Jesus’ coming abolished the Mosaic law and therefore tithing is no longer necessary. Other Christians believe that tithing is still a New Testament requirement. Tithing is indeed mentioned in the New Testament (Matt. 23:23), but it doesn’t seem to be applied to believers explicitly. What is noted is that Christians should respond to the gospel of Jesus and His change in their lives by giving generously, “not reluctantly or under compulsion” but because of their faith in a God who provides (2 Cor. 9:6–10).
The Bible speaks a great deal about money, and it was often the subject of Jesus’ parables. Money can be a great stumbling block in our lives. Perhaps, as one commentator notes, releasing ten percent of our income helps release money’s stranglehold on us. Jesus taught His followers to store up treasure in heaven and not on earth. He explains that “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21). The way we give is an outward demonstration of the condition of our hearts.
We should not tithe to gain God’s approval. We give because God loves us and wants the best for His children. We are to give cheerfully because we love God and want to help His church flourish. I suggest you look at your resources and begin giving regularly. First, consider how you can support your local church. Wherever you give, be sure the causes you support are practicing integrity. Second, study for yourself what the Bible says about giving (there are many good resources available). And, finally, consider the ways you can give your time.