Is It OK That We Gave Slightly Less Than 10% to Our Church, But Also Gave to Missions?

Question from a reader:

My husband and I have been reading Money, Possessions, and Eternity and love it! However, now I'm concerned we didn’t allot enough to our local church. We reviewed our last year’s income and realized we gave$2,000 less than we should have to reach 10%. We did give substantially to other mission projects, but if I understand what you are saying, the latter amount is just freewill offering and would not apply to the actual tithe. Would love to hear from you and have your honest input!

Answer from Stephanie Anderson, EPM staff:

You ask a good question. It’s encouraging to hear you and your husband have made giving to your local church a priority. That’s the main message in Randy’s article: Should the Local Church Receive Peoples’ Tithes Before Other Worthy Needs?

The last thing we want to do is to impose hard and fast rules on believers, or come across as legalistic. Giving is an act of obedience, and it’s also an act of joy and of grace because we know the love of Jesus. Following Jesus is a lifetime adventure of learning and growing. God doesn’t punish us for what we don’t know and freely blesses us for joyful obedience to what we do know is right. We commend you for your desire to give generously by following biblical principles.

I asked Randy for input on your specific question, and he said, “If in the end their giving to the church is anywhere near a tithe, and they give beyond that, I’m certainly not going to say someone’s doing the wrong thing.”

But what we would encourage you to do is to seek the Lord about this and see if you can grow in your giving in the coming year by committing 10% of your income to your local church, and giving beyond that to organizations like the missions group you mentioned. God is so gracious and good, and He promises to give us wisdom when we ask (James 1:5). He will guide and direct you in this as you listen to Him.

Scripture tells us, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). Paul says in the very next verse, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”

Randy writes, “How much is generous? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. If you’ve never tithed, start there—then begin to stretch your generosity.”

God bless you and your husband as you follow Jesus in this faith-stretching adventure of giving!

See more resources on money and giving, as well as Randy's related books, including The Treasure Principle.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

Stephanie Anderson is the communications and graphics specialist at Eternal Perspective Ministries.