Answer from: Father Bohdan
Tithing, the giving of your “first fruits” (typically at least a tenth of all that you have (before tax!)), is a traditional and biblical way of loving God and one’s neighbour above one’s self. It shows that we trust that God will take care of us. This ancient practice is still just as real for us in the Church today as it was for the people of Israel before Christ. However, now, just like then, it is a voluntary offering. Our God does not demand and extort from his people, he simply gives the opportunity for His people to show their trust and generosity…, or not.
If you would like to tithe, good for you. It shows that you want to make your faith concrete. Most people just give of their surplus if anything, and not of their substance. The only way to do this is to live simpler than your income can support. If everyone was to live simpler the world would have such an abundance that nobody would hunger or be without.
The Ultimate way of tithing is spoken about in this Sunday’s Gospel (12 Sunday after Pentecost – Matthew 19:16-26). Jesus tells the young rich man to not only follow the rules, but to give everything to the poor and follow Him. There are many examples of saints doing exactly this: St. Nicholas, St. Alphonsis, St. Francis,… the list goes on and on. In fact monks and nuns do this very literally. They separate themselves from all worldly things and go seek Him.
Wether we are called to live in the “world” or to separate ourselves from it as much as possible, we are all called to be monastics to some degree or other. In fact, the tonsure that you often* see at a baptism is exactly this: a sign giving one’s self fully and completely over to God.
*this is part of our baptismal tradition that is done by some clergy but not by all.