Wondering how to calculate your tithe? It’s easy! The tithe is the first 10% of your gross income—before any expenses or obligations, including taxes.
How do we know? Proverbs 3:9 says, “Honor the LORD with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase” (NKJV). The dictionary defines first fruits as “the first agricultural produce of a season, especially when given as an offering to God.” (See also Genesis 28:22; Leviticus 27:32; Hebrews 7:2, 4.)
There’s something spiritually significant about giving God your first and best, rather than the leftovers. And it means something to Him, too. In Malachi 1:6-14, some of the priests at the Temple got a bright idea. Instead of offering unblemished animals as sacrifices to the Lord, they decided to make sacrificing more convenient and cost-effective. So, they began encouraging people to give their blind and lame animals, instead of the best of the bunch. The priests were giving God the leftovers instead of the first and best. In response, God said, “Where is My honor?… Where is My reverence?” (Malachi 1:6, NKJV). He viewed this as dishonoring to Him—and it was!
When God gave His first and only Son as a sacrifice for our sins, He gave His first and best. He deserves nothing less than the same from us.