Do missionaries tithe?

If a missionary receives contributions from churches and individuals in order to serve God as a full-time occupation, is it really necessary for that missionary to give a portion of his finances to other missionaries or Christian ministries?

I was recently asked this question by a friend.

My wife and I confronted this question years ago while attending seminary. We struggled with tight finances, and wondered if it wasn’t enough to use our money for our living needs since all our time and work were for God.  As we talked with fellow students and prayed, we came to the conviction that we should tithe, even if the amount was small.

[By the way, I’m using the word “tithe” loosely here. Typically it refers to 10% of income. I’m using it in the sense of any portion of income, be it 3,8, or 20%.]

Giving to God of our finances is both a duty and privilege for every believer. Pastors and missionaries are still Christians. As such, we should, and can, give financially.

Giving to God of our finances is also a joy, and encourages others. I know several missionaries who are working hard to raise their financial support. I want the joy of joining their team of partners, and help them reach their goal of being fully supported.

I don’t know any missionaries who do not give to the Lord’s work. I don’t tell my teammates to do this because they come as committed Christians with a lifestyle of financial stewardship.

Should one of my financial supporters think it strange that I would support other missionaries? Does my tithing detract from their intent to help me? Or does my tithing multiply their gift by spreading it out?

What are your thoughts? What other questions about missions does this raise?

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