"You must reserve a tenth-part of whatever your fields produce each year." (Deuteronomy 14:22).
For many who grew up in the church, particularly more "fundamental" churches, there was likely never a time that finances were discussed in any way other than with a straightforward expectation that for church members, a tithe was simply a part of life. The word "tithe" means "tenth-part" and has been understood as returning to God one-tenth of everyone one yields through work. Tithing, as an important Christian practice, is generally viewed as a sign of spiritual health and a generous heart. But this is not the case for every person who grew up in church. There are those who hear calls to tithe as greedy appeals ("the church is always just asking for money") or as a message intended to impart guilt. Churches have responded by talking less about finances or by softening their rhetoric, so as not to offend anyone.
But the Bible is unapologetic in discussing our income, possession, and generous giving. In the Old Testament, the offering was not determined as a percentage of income, but instead as a portion of livestock and crop yields. The book of Malachi accuses those of holding back their portion as "robbing" God. In the New Testament, the practice of giving continued, described most powerfully in 2 Corinthians 8 and 9.
For Christians, financial giving is not an act intended to curry God's favor. Unlike the Old Testament sacrifice, it is not an atonement for sins (Christ's death on the cross did that). Nor is it an obligation to the church that we should feel guilty about. Giving is part of worship. We give in recognition and in thanks that God has given us the gift of life and the life of his Son. We give out of recognition that we have been blessed and are called to bless others. We give because we are loved by God and we praise God in return,
Prayer: God, help me to be a generous giver. Help me to grow in generosity and love, learning to follow your Word and using my financial resources to show my thanks and to bless others. Amen.