The Rock Church was founded in February of 2000, so next month we will be 14 years old. We have expanded to 3 locations, a membership of about 25,000 people, 800 small groups, 140 ministries, and giving over $400 million worth of volunteer hours to our city. However, even though we have grown in the last year, our giving has not really grown.
When we respond with faith and obedience, we can line ourselves up in a position to be blessed by Him.
Money and how we deal with it is the most frequent topic in the Bible. This is because God knows that we have tendency to worship money. Though it’s not always fun to think about our responsibility to give to the church, it is important that we are listening to what God says to us and what He wants for us. When we respond with faith and obedience, we can line ourselves up in a position to be blessed by Him.
1. A tithe is the first 10% of what you receive from God.
The word “tithe” literally means “a tenth part.”
Examples of tithing appear throughout the Bible, not just in the Old Testament. Although some Old Testament standards were abolished (for example, the banishing of menstruating women was a cultural practice to protect the health of the community), everything applies eternally because of God’s character (such as the health and protection of His people). Giving back to God was established before the Old Testament Law, was continued in the Old Testament Law, and carried into the New Testament when Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament Law. The concept of giving is eternal because God is a giving God – in fact, our very lives today are a result of His giving toward us.
- Before Law
- Genesis 14:18-20 – Abraham, having just rescued his nephew Lot, encounters the priest Melchizedek and gives him a tenth of all he had as a blessing to God.
- Genesis 28:22 – Jacob sees the heavens opened up and angels descending. He sets up a pillar to mark God’s house and makes a covenant with God, promising to return a tenth of all God provides.
- In OT Law: Leviticus 27:30
- After OT Law
- Matthew 23:23 – Jesus affirms tithing. He says that we should execute mercy, justice, and faith without neglecting to tithe.
- Hebrews 7:8
- Grace myth: I don’t have to do anything and I still get blessed.
- Grace is a higher standard than the law; the cross was never about 10% but all of Jesus’ blood. God wants your entire heart!
You can’t walk with God without being a giver. We give Him praise, honor, worship, and our very lives submitted to Him. A tithe, 10% of all we earn, is just a starter kit!
2. Tithes were a source of blessing. They...
- Supported ministry (2 Chronicles 31:4-10, Malachi 3:8-10, 1 Corinthians 16:1-4)
- Secured a blessing on 90% the giver’s keeps (Leviticus 27:30, Deuteronomy 26:13-15, Romans 11:16)
If you really believe that God is not the true owner of all you have, then you should work that out with Him – what happens if you tell Him that He can’t take it away? Yes, it’s true that you can make choices about what to do with your things, your body, and your relationships, but not without consequences. We must listen to God when He asks us to give of our resources. If He has called you to give something specific and you have not done so, doesn’t it continue to eat away at you?
3. Offerings are over and above the tithe. Exodus 34, 2 Chronicles 28-29
When we collect the tithes and offerings in church, those are two separate things. A tithe is a regular 10% of your earnings, while an offering is for a specific project. Biblical examples are offerings taken to build a tabernacle or a temple. Today we collect special offerings for things such as our Pervasive Hope campaign, reducing debt, building churches here in San Diego, and doing international missions as in Haiti where we have an orphanage and are building a food kitchen that will soon feed 1000 people every day.
Pastor Miles showed photos of a baby that was found abandoned in the dump in Haiti and was rescued by the orphanage and is now thriving. Other babies that were not able to be taken in did not survive. Because of this stark life-and-death ministry, he also issued a challenge to us regarding offerings: you can buy a latte or save a life!
4. The tithe was a sign of appreciation and trust because it actually belongs to and comes from God.
When we tithe from our income, we are acknowledging that what we have in our hands belongs to Him and is a gift to us.
5. The tithe is not giving, but returning.
Because God has given us everything we have in the first place: work, family, home, and resources, we honor Him with everything we have, returning a portion to direction impact His kingdom on earth.
6. Giving a tithe is a heart issue, not a money issue.
Only tithe haters don’t tithe because they haven’t experienced the blessing of tithing.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21
The Bible does not say that we can’t have nice things or even that we can’t be wealthy. Wealth is not unbiblical – but hoarding and selfishness is. Instead, we can acknowledge all of our blessings as gifts from the Lord and ask Him how they may be used for His glory.
Malachi chapter 3 provides the basic for our 90-day Tithe Challenge:
“Will a man rob God?
Yet you have robbed Me!
But you say,
‘In what way have we robbed You?’
In tithes and offerings.
You are cursed with a curse,
For you have robbed Me,
Even this whole nation.
Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it. Malachi 3:8-10
This is the only passage of the Bible in which God asks us to test Him. If you read the challenge card carefully, accept the challenge, and commit to giving back 10% of your gross income for the next 90 days based on God’s Word, and if after 90 days you cannot see God’s faithfulness and blessing in your life, we will return your money. Pay attention to what God does and be ready to recognize His blessings!