The congregation begins to sing a song as they pass around the offering plate throughout the crowd. You fidget and twitch a little as it gets closer to you, making sure no one knows how much you have in your hands afraid of what they will think of you, so you wad up that two dollars really small and, if your lucky, you cover it underneath an attendance card. Whew! Now that you dropped your $2 in the plate, if the preacher touches on giving, he isn’t preaching at you this week… or is he?
The reality is that unless you only made $20 that week, you didn’t give 10% back to God. I use to be “that guy” years ago and I understand that it is hard for you to give up that kind of money, especially if you have never truly given a consistent 10% in tithe. I mean, lets get serious here, that money isn’t going to help you do anything if you give it away right? Wrong. Giving to a better cause will always pay off in one way or the other. You may never see the effects it renders, but you should feel a difference in your life and eventually, with hindsight, realize the importance in this as I have. Deuteronomy14:22-29 is a good passage of scripture to read if you are wondering (or have wondered) where the 10% originates in the bible.
Your tithe isn’t paying rent on your room in heaven, it is a tool that God uses to teach you spiritual discipline, love and kindness. You may have heard “money is the root of all evil” in one way or the other sometime in your life. Let me explain that statement a little further, It is the love of money that causes evil.
“For the love of money is a rood of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” 1Timothy 6:10 NIV
When you refuse to tithe sufficiently because you can’t pay that boat payment or fund your hobby or would have to give up a night out on the town, you really need to look to where your priorities are. Is the boat more important to you than your relationship with God? If you answered yes, you probably didn’t have one in the first place. Hey, I love fishing and being out on the water, I have hobbies that I spend money on. The difference is, I don’t base what I give off of what is left over in my spending or budget. If you are a child of God, you are a changed person. You should be giving your best efforts to follow the word of God in all aspects of your life and tithing is one of them.
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” Malachi 3:10 NIV
Everyone knows that this isn’t always easy to do, but you have to give with a whole lot of faith that God will stand up to his word. As a family, we had to do a big change in our budget to make 10% happen, or so we thought. We just couldn’t see how it was going to make it happen at first and thought that it would really put us in a financial rut, however, we knew that this is what we should be doing (and wanting to do), so we finally made the decision to do it and stuck to the plan. We base what we give on what we receive and then worry about bills, mortgage, cell phones, hobbies etc. Now, this the first thing that comes out of our budget each month, and all other expenses are distributed afterward.
Believe it or not, God doesn’t need your money at all. He wants you to be a good steward with your money and honor Him with %10 of your earnings, your first fruits. This teaches you discipline, trust and loyalty. When you decide to give %10 of your income, and actually do it consistently, praying over what you give, and pledging your trust that God will take care of you, you will see things happen in your life that are just awesome as the verse from Malachi states from above . Here are a few more verses that have helped me stay on the right track when the devil (or selfish thoughts) tries to get in the way.
“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:19 NIV
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable then they?” Matthew 6:26 NIV
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” Romans 8:28 NIV
The more you give, the better I always say. No joke, I kind of get a spiritual high when I give. It may take a while for you to get use to the whole giving thing, and it will probably be hard for you to begin doing. I mean, that will seem to you like a LOT of money when you first start out, I know it did for us. For example, let’s say you make $60,000.00 a year annual income. 10% of that would be $6,000.00. Divide that by twelve months and that is $500 a month (or approx. $115 a week if you divide $6000 by 52 weeks). You would probably think, “There is no way that I am going to be able to afford to give that much money?”. Let me counter that with another question… have you ever seen or heard of someone going broke because they gave too much money to God?
I had been taught all my life that you should give tithes and offerings to God. I never knew the rhyme nor reason, I just knew that was what we were suppose to do. Now, after much conviction from God, reading and just living in a relationship with God, I understand why and how and hope this has helped you in some form or the other.
Starting to make sense yet? Before we started tithing 10%, we were barely making it from pay check to pay check, with barely $100 in the savings account. Now we have multiple saving accounts that have plenty of money in them and our checking account is 1 full month ahead of expenses. I highly encourage you to actively engage in a relationship with Christ, without this, tithing is useless. Remember, “faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” James 2:17 NIV