BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — It’s possibly one of the most uncomfortable conversations churches have with their members: money.
Tithing and donations are vital to many places of worship, but asking people to give can be a difficult venture. Brian Erickson with Trinity UMC joined CBS 42 Weekend anchor Chloe Vincente for our Faith Matters segment to discuss how much Christians should give.
“In the Old Testament you get this idea of first fruits. They were primarily an agricultural society, but it’s the idea of giving the very first things you receive from your harvest,” said Erickson. “You dedicate it to God. Sort of an act of trust. It obviously kept the temple and the priesthood running. It’s also a powerful act of saying to God, I believe that you are the provider, and everything that I have comes from you. So that’s where the ten percent comes from. It’s really an Old Testament idea.”
From a church perspective, Erickson explained it can be difficult to ask people to support them financially.
“I think people get really uncomfortable when churches start talking about money. Whenever we start talking about money, our attendance slowly goes down, because people love Jesus until he starts to mess with their stuff. But what’s interesting is that Jesus talks about money and possessions – it’s in his top three list of subjects that he covers,” said Erickson.
When it comes to how much Christian’s should give to the church, Erickson told us the typical standard for tithing is a good place to start.
“People will disagree with me here. I do think that Old Testament idea of a tenth is a great place to strive toward or to start with,” he explained. “If you look at Jesus’s words, he says to give up everything you have. So, he’s at one hundred percent giving – I’m not there yet. But wherever you are, can you be more generous tomorrow that you are today? I think that’s the goal for all of us to lean in to.”