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 you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the LORD Almighty. “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty. (Malachi 3:10-12)
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. (I Timothy 6:17-19)
Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (II Corinthians 9:7)
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We both had a history of giving to the church, but were sporadic at best. Neither of us made a great deal of effort to tithe every Sunday or even at 10+ percent when we did. We knew that it was important though, that it was our responsibility as believers to do our part for the upkeep of God’s house, that we would never be secure without being faithful to His command, and didn’t want to “rob God” (Malachi 3:9-10). So, we decided that when we got married we would commit to genuine tithing.
As time passed doing so, we could see the fruit of our obedience; how God provided for our needs, and how He used the tithes in the church and community for others’ needs, which is very encouraging to see. Since being committed to tithing we’ve also grown less materialistic, become more generous even outside of the church, have been more “in-tune” with what and when God wants us to give. When we started tithing it was at 10% and eventually we committed to a “flat rate” that, given the variance in our weekly pay, puts our tithing at 12% to 18% weekly, not counting “Big Gives” or anything else. Despite the giving increase and even some income decrease though, we have everything we need. We’re not “rich” by worldly standards, but we’re blessed with stability and peace (that certainly passes our understanding). We’ve yet to even make a late payment on anything since our commitment to tithing, and often when a need arises, that need or the means to get it are provided seemingly out of nowhere (though we know undoubtedly it comes from Him). Starting out it can be hard not to think, “that money could’ve bought the new lawnmower or fridge we need”, and it might sound silly to pray for a lawnmower or fridge, but would a God that’s numbered every hair on your head not care about any need? No! Could a God that’s made the universe itself not provide something so simple? Of course He can! Be obedient, ask Him, and trust in Him. If you really need it, He’ll really provide it. (Matthew 7:7-11) …and yes, we did pray for and get a free mower and fridge when we needed it (in case you were wondering)!
Though tithing is one of many commands, it’s one you can easily see the effects of and the only one of which God says, “Test Me” (Malachi 3:10). We have tested Him in that, and He has proven Himself time and time again. So, even if nothing else, we’ve certainly learned one thing that I hope you will trust; GOD WILL PROVIDE!
Instruct those who are rich in the present age not to be arrogant or to set their hope on the uncertainty of wealth, but on God, who richly provides us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do what is good, to be rich in good works, to be generous, willing to share (1 Timothy 6:17-18)
He is Faithful…
I believe that financial giving to your local church is one of the most misunderstood and neglected aspects of our faith. Bringing our tithes and offerings to the church is an act of worship in the same way that singing songs of praise to God, or listening to a sermon are. When we give, we should do so with a heart of thanksgiving and praise to Jesus, who gave everything that we might be reconciled to God.
Some people argue that tithing is old testament law and therefore doesn’t apply to the modern church. It was Abraham who paid the first tithe to the High Priest Melchizedek (a prefigure of Christ) 400 years before Moses and the law. I think this argument might be more of a heart issue than a theological one.
In my own life God has given me a joy that comes only from Him when I give generously. He has challenged me to remain faithful in my giving in times of plenty and in times of financial uncertainty. In 2009 I was unemployed and didn’t know when there might be another paycheck. I knew that I wanted to tithe regardless of our circumstances. When I did I had such great peace because I knew the Lord would always provide for us. He has always met our needs, however that doesn’t always include our wants. Sometimes giving may be a sacrifice.
When I began to really understand that everything belongs to God anyway, it brought freedom. He has changed how I view money, to see it as tool to be used for the Kingdom of God. We all invest our finances in things that are temporal; cars, houses, retirement funds etc. Shouldn’t we also consider investing in God’s Kingdom that is eternal?
I would encourage anyone who struggles in this area to take a step of faith and begin to be obedient in your giving. You might not see how it is possible to afford to give, but trust God because He is faithful and will never leave you without. God doesn’t need our money because He is lacking, but it is we who are needy. We need the blessing He gives to those who are generous.
He is faithful!