A call to sacrificial giving

Sacrificial tithing is an important part of the Christian life.

Stefan Carlson discusses the dichotomy between consumerism and discipleship. | milkandhoneymoney.com [Creative Commons]

Stefan Carlson discusses the dichotomy between consumerism and discipleship. | milkandhoneymoney.com [Creative Commons]

Shaefer Bagwell, Writer


Shaefer Bagwell discusses how sacrificial tithing is an important part of the Christian life.


Every Sunday at church, at the end of the opening worship set, the worship leader says “I’m going to call the ushers forward to collect our offering [insert generic tithing “ask” here].” Every Sunday, I pass the basket from one side to the other, sometimes throwing a few bucks in, most of the time not making eye contact with anyone as I keep my money in my wallet.


Some Biola students are excellent tithers. They understand its necessity, the fact it is something Christ asked us to do and its deep roots in the history of the church. Others, like myself, are not quite as good. Either we don’t tithe at all — more of us than we’d care to admit — or we tithe less than what we could. We tend to hide behind the biblical “10 percent” principle. I prefer to rationalize my lack of giving by the fact I attend an expensive college, live on my own and pay rent on a student paycheck.

Over the course of this year, I have realized the blatant hypocrisy of my position. First, God calls us to give of what he has given us. Jesus called us to tithe. Peter called us to tithe. Paul called us to tithe. They did not condition their calls. They never said, “When you can afford it or it is convenient for you, try to tithe.” I recently heard it said that God’s work, done God’s way, will have God’s provision. We cannot tithe what is easy, nor what is convenient for us. We must tithe until it is a sacrifice.


The biblical model of 10 percent giving is a good one — but it is not complete. We cannot give that tenth and walk away. Tithing is supposed to be a sacrifice, a means of showing God we appreciate what he has given us and a demonstration of our willingness to give it up. What’s more, we are called to give to people of all stripes. We cannot write a check every Sunday to our church and call it quits. We must find people in our lives who are in need and do our best to satisfy those needs. Food, rent, gas money, tuition — where we see need, it is our duty as Christians to attempt to wipe it out. If we restrict our giving to things attached to a church, we miss out on a huge opportunity to give. We need to expand the horizons of our giving to encompass everyone in our lives who needs us.

Every so often, I realize that I have been living my life the wrong way, and I attempt to correct my mistakes. Because I work for the Chimes, I have the opportunity to share these epiphanies and issue challenges to the student body. In the office, we used to call the articles “Shaefer Grows a Conscience.” I hope it doesn’t feel like I’m preaching at you. Most of the time, I just want some accountability. If I’m struggling with a sin — in this case, self-centeredness and greed — what better way to be held accountable than to publish it to your entire school?

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