“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
– 2 Corinthians 9:6-7
Every Christian, no matter how humble or exalted their state of life, has a Christian obligation to be generous, and nowhere is that more evident than in our support and investment in the Church. In the Orthodox Church we expect no more from our people than was expected of Christians in the Bible, but we do expect that.
Since the Old Testament standard was a tithe, or one-tenth, of the first fruits which God had given, the New Testament standard must be greater! Let’s call the minimum ‘tithe plus one’ that we may never be accused of being ungrateful under grace.
St Irenaeus, writing toward the end of the 2nd century, notes that Christ Himself
“gave directions to His disciples to offer the firstfruits of His own created things not as if He stood in need of them, but that they might be themselves neither unfruitful nor ungrateful.”
St John Chrysostom contends that the tithe is more binding on us than on the Jews. In one of his sermons, he notes that under the Old Testament tithing was the norm. Among Christians, however, it has become a cause for amazement; we exclaim in wonder, “Why, so-and-so tithes!” St John finds this a sad reflection on our piety and ends with the warning,
“if it was a danger to neglect the tithe then, imagine how serious it must be now!”
The Old Testament saints did not see tithing merely as a way for organizing fund-raising for the Temple and clergy, but as a necessary and integral part of their relationship with God. Similarly, we cannot regard our giving merely as providing for our parish’s material needs. We must appreciate the spiritual importance of tithing, as the return to the Lord of a portion of His blessings through which we sanctify the remainder for our own use.
In our parish, we encourage everyone to give cheerful, generously, and sacrificially that our hearts may be ignited with love for God. We make it as easy as possible. Our online giving portal is through EasyTithe and makes giving easy, completely secure, and leaves you in charge of what you give, how often you give, and how much. Whether it is from your computer, your iPad or tablet, or your smart phone, obeying the command to be generous has never been easier.