Are you maximizing the potential blessings in your life?
You don’t have to be faithful to someone to have a relationship with that person, but infidelity opens you up to despair, strife, and pain. You don’t have to stop smoking in order to run a marathon, but your performance will likely be hindered. You don’t have to go to church to be a Christian, but you’ll be missing out on corporate worship, fellowship, support, encouragement, and accountability.
Likewise, you don’t have to tithe in order to be pleasing to God, but you’ll be missing out on the blessings and opportunities that God brings into your life when you are willing to let go of things instead of hoarding them for yourself.
We tithe not because we have to, but because we want to. God desires for us to pray, draw near to Him, serve, and give, but He never forces our responses to Him.
We tithe not because we have to, but because we want to. God desires for us to pray, draw near to Him, serve, and give, but He never forces our responses to Him. He gives us the free will to love Him or not love Him. If you desire to be a generous person, blessed by God in order to bless others, then tithing is your generosity “starter kit” - a little taste of what more can come.
Honor the Lord with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase; Proverbs 3:9
1. A tithe is the first tenth or a portion of what you have received from God.
Tithing is not just an Old Testament concept. It existed in the Bible before the Law (Genesis 14:18-20) and after the Law, as Jesus demonstrates:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.” Matthew 23:23
Jesus instructs the religious leaders of His day that they should tithe, but that their hearts and characters are even more important. In fact, Jesus’ standards are often higher and more intense than the Old Testament Law itself.
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.” Matthew 5:21
God desires that we honor Him not only with our checkbooks, but with our thoughts, words, heart, and bodies. Jesus wants to live in and through us, that we may have a part in the blessing of others.
2. Tithes are a source of blessing to you personally (Malachi 3:8-10) and to the ministry (1 Corinthians 16:1-3).
God wants you to be blessed. Blessed doesn’t mean that you will live in a mansion and drive a fancy car. It means that your heart will be joyful and grateful - that you will be able to say, “I am blessed,” as the condition of your heart, regardless of your circumstances.
“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
When God speaks of the curse that comes from robbing Him, He may simply mean the lost opportunity for blessing as a result of behavior. The relationship that could blossom does not blossom. You are not freed from the pride and greed from which you could be freed. You lose out on the opportunities and blessings that He would love to give you. Just as your eyes adjust to the loss of sunlight while you read, you may be settling for spiritual darkness and don’t even realize that you are missing a glorious light!
But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9
Tithes belong to God. He has given you all that you have and He trusts you to let go of this small portion and return it to Him. If you want Him to pour out blessings, He has to be able to trust you with them. Don’t compare yourself to other people and what they have. Rather, compare what you have now to what you could have if you walked with God and honored Him even more.
Beyond personal blessing, the ministry of the church is allowed to thrive because of the generosity of the church. Pastor Miles shared some amazing statistics of the work, time, and gifts going forth in San Diego and all over the world through the Rock Church. You are invited to be a part of something great by supporting the ministry of the kingdom!
Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. And when I come, whomever you approve by your letters I will send to bear your gift to Jerusalem. 1 Corinthians 16:1-3
3. A tithe is not giving, but returning, because it belongs to God. Leviticus 27:30
Tithing is simply returning a tenth of what the Lord has given you. Don’t be fooled into thinking that all you have is because of your own doing; it is all God’s. Do you have a great job? Who gave you the talents, skills, educational opportunities, transportation, words, and intelligence that helped you to get and keep that job? If you believe it is all you, you can dare God and try telling Him that it’s all yours and He can’t take it away from you.
And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s. It is holy to the Lord. Leviticus 27:30
If you are already tithing, consider how you’ll move forward in your generosity. Maybe it’s time to engage the Lord in a giving contest to see who can out-give the other!
4. Tithing is a heart issue, not a money issue. Matthew 6:21
You don’t have to tithe and give - you get to tithe. Tithing is an opportunity to put yourself in a position to be blessed by God so that you can be a blessing of God to others. You may as well be generous because when you leave and you die, you don’t take any of it with you anyway!
The most generous person to ever live was Jesus. He gave more than money; He gave his life - not 10% of it or even 50% of it, but all of it. He shed His blood and died all the way for us. In return, He asks for our whole lives and our whole hearts.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21
If you want to know where your heart lies, take a look at your checkbook. Are you investing in the kingdom of God or just trying to make yourself happy? Ask God to show you the ways in which He wants you to be more generous.