The question comes up what is a tithe and does God want me to tithe? In addition, what is the difference between a tithe and offering?
Let us look at what a tithe to an Israelite meant. First off, everything belongs to God and we are only entrusted with it including our work. In Israel, rather you grew crops, animals, or were a producer of something in exchange for currency you were to give a tithe (tenth) to God. This is where the current meaning of a tithe being a tenth comes from. Now, to an Israelite, that meant a full tenth of ALL produced. In our culture today, many want to say that they tithe on their actual bring home pay while some say they tithe on the total amount they make. If you want to be a traditionalist, it would be on the total you make and not what you bring home. I will leave to your own convictions on which you use. By the way, and especially important at this time of forced church shutdowns, it is a tenth to God, not dues, and it is required by God rather you attend church services or not.
These tithes are tithes to God, not charities and they are given directly to a house of God, preferably, the one you attend and that supports your walk with God. You may want to give money to charities, and as good Christians, we should, but that is exactly that-giving to charity-it is not a tithe.
So what is an offering? Some, are uncomfortable with the term tithe since it was used by ancient Israel for the tithe made to the Temple, they choose to use offering for their Christian tithe to the church. I guess it is ok to do this if you must, but remember it is still 10% just as the original tithe was.
In addition, offerings originally were what was given to God for forgiveness of specific sins, payments for oaths made etc. Today we usually use the term offering to designate additional monies given or work done for the church above our tenth given through tithing. For an example, if you give to a specific ministry in your church rather than the general fund that would be an offering separate from your usual tithe. If you are an artisan, and you provide your craft to the church, but then choose not to charge the church, it is an offering to God and the church. You should submit documentation with “no charge-offering” marked on it.
Therefore, at the end of the year you get a statement from the church for tax purposes that states how much you gave in tithes and offerings. This will list your regular tithes and if you made additional offerings you will see the credit for that as well.
I hope this clears up some of the confusion that comes over tithes and offerings.