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God created the Earth and everything in it, including us (Gen 1), and therefore everything is his. This eternal truth must drive how we approach every aspect of our lives, including finances. We strive to use what God has given us in ways that honor him, trusting that when we do so our lives will work better because we are operating more in line with how we were created. Also, the Bible teaches that “every good and perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17). We recognize all the good things that God has done for us, and in gratitude we give out of the resources that he has entrusted to us.
Financial generosity demonstrates our belief and trust that God is good and that he is leading us to better places. We don’t give based on worldly circumstances like how our financial portfolio is performing, or worldly concerns like how satisfied we are with the decisions that our church leadership makes. Instead, we faithfully give money away because we desire to honor, worship, and draw closer to the creator of the universe, in whom we place our trust (Matt 6:19-34). Also, the #1 way that the world distracts us from God and his goodness is with money. Jesus repeatedly and forcefully warns us about the power that money can have over our lives (Matt 6:19-24), therefore, we give to ensure money doesn’t corrupt us and we instead remain focused on the life-giving truth of Jesus.
The tithe is established in the Old Testament before the law is given(Gen 14:20, Gen 28:20-22, Deut 26:1-2, 2 Chr 31:4-5), and it is reaffirmed by Jesus (Luke 11:42). Tithing means giving the first 10% of your gross income to your local church. Why the local church? The examples we have in scripture are of tithe money supporting the work of the local faith community, and in our context that equals the local church. Further, God has clearly used our local church, Crossroads, to reach people and change lives, including our own, so we acknowledge that by further investing in that entity. The tithe applies to any income level. With the tithe comes a promise of blessing from God (Mal 3:10). This promise doesn’t always mean we will be blessed financially, but it does always mean we will see more of God in our lives. Christians can genuinely debate whether the tithe is mandatory today, but what is not up for debate is Jesus’ call for all of his followers to go above and beyond norms to financially sacrifice for others (Matt 19:16-30), and the tithe is an excellent starting point with a strong biblical precedent.
Many who give to Crossroads do so because they appreciate what the team is doing and they want to participate. We celebrate that as a good starting point, but if a person’s faith doesn’t develop beyond a Crossroads-driven motivation, we have failed. We also understand that some people who are experimenting with financial generosity can’t jump straight to the tithe but must build towards the biblical precedent. We seek to meet people where they are, and we will do all we can to teach and encourage people throughout the journey, even if it takes time (Luke 19:1-10). Not only do we offer spiritual training, but we also offer basic financial counseling and coaching to help people create a firm financial foundation. Finally, Jesus frequently calls his followers to dedicate most or all of their resources to his work, and as one grows closer to Jesus, this often leads to giving financially above and beyond the tithe. This also means we get to experience a supernatural level of God’s presence and grace in our lives. We want that for everyone at Crossroads.