If you’re reading this, you might be among the wealthiest people on the planet.

Sure, if you compare yourself with your neighbor down the street or the celebrities on TV you might not feel rich. But compared to your neighbors in Bolivia, Haiti, Zambia, Kenya, and Uganda, many of you have more than enough money to meet your needs and many of your wants too.  

As believers, we know that everything we have—every penny and every breath—belongs to God. We are merely stewards of the riches God has given us. The question is, how can we manage His money in a way that glorifies Him and actually helps people?  

It’s true that God’s primary way of working in the world is through His followers, the church. Jesus said that the world would see His love and His character through the love and generosity demonstrated by His body (John 13:35).  

The question is: when it comes to tithing, should Christians give to their local church, to ministries and Christian relief and development organizations, or to some combination of both?

The short answer: it’s up to you and the Holy Spirit! However, the church is not a building or a single manmade organization. It is a group of Spirit-filled people. We represent God’s character – His love, grace, faithfulness, and generosity – to the watching world. And those who most desperately need to see God’s love and faithfulness are the poorest of the poor. 

That’s where non-profits like Bright Hope come in!

We have a 50+ year track record and a proven method of meeting the needs of the extremely poor in Bolivia, Haiti, Zambia, Kenya, and Uganda.  

In 2 Corinthians 8, Paul encourages believers to give generously, above and beyond our ability, as a demonstration of faith in God’s ability to provide. Giving, regardless of where you send your check, should take some sacrifice. Tithing should cause us to reevaluate our lifestyles, cut out frivolous spending, and think strategically about the resources God has entrusted to us.  

The ancient city of Corinth was wealthy, a center of commerce and trade.

And the church in Corinth was rich. But they were not generous. As an example of generosity, Paul pointed to the Macedonian church, who gave sacrificially, far beyond their ability, to help the impoverished church in Jerusalem. Compassion motivated them to take action  

But here’s the thing about the Macedonian church: they were poor! Listen to what Paul says about the church in Macedonia: “In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity” (2 Corinthians 8:2). 

The ancient city of Corinth.

Did you get that?

Paul gave us an equation for generous living! He said that overflowing joy + extreme poverty = rich generosity. 

So, to summarize: when it comes to tithing, you don’t have to think of just your local church. Absolutely, continue giving generously to your church. But in addition, open your eyes and your heart to extreme needs around the world. You can partner with Bright Hope as we work to meet these needs. Because extreme and poverty should never be used in the same sentence!

 

Learn more

When Hope for Today Makes Tomorrow Possible

Hope for Eternity: Jesus Cares for the Poor

Grow, Change, Impact: The Power of Mutual Transformation

Hope for Tomorrow: Sometimes Poverty Alleviation is Simple