During my first year as a church planter and pastor I didn’t preach on financial giving very often and on the few occasions I did, I didn’t particularly enjoy it. For one thing, I felt like preaching about money was a turn-off to non-believers, visitors, or people that might be new in the faith. I get borderline nauseous when I hear televangelists begging for money while promising health and wealth for all who give; I can only imagine what non-Christians think of such things. Furthermore, I was concerned that it might sound self-serving if I, as the pastor, pounded the pulpit about the importance of giving to the church since, after all, part of the money in the offering plate went towards my salary.
But then I remembered that Jesus Himself talked about money and possessions more than He did about heaven and hell combined. So I started teaching on it more. Jesus actually taught that how we manage our money is the ultimate indicator of priorities and spirituality. It’s the litmus test that reveals who you really trust—God, or yourself. I realized the tremendous disservice I was doing by neglecting to teach and preach on this subject. And I realized that I was actually robbing people of the blessing of God by not teaching on the principle of tithing.
I believe that tithing (giving 10% of our income back to the Lord) is a part of God’s covenant relationship with His children. Certainly, tithing isn’t required for salvation—we are saved only by grace and through faith. But after we come into relationship with God through Christ, it’s assumed that we will tithe in order to walk fully in God’s blessing and favor. It’s for our benefit!
Some argue that tithing was only part of the Old Testament law and that now, as new covenant believers, we are no longer expected to tithe. The problem with this logic is that tithing actually predates the Mosaic law by some 400 years. Abraham tithed. Jacob tithed. Jesus, in the New Testament, says we should tithe (Luke 11:42).
In fact, the only time God ever says “put me to the test” is in reference to this thing called tithing! God owns the whole world and everything in it. But as we, His children, have the privilege to manage what He has given us, He says that the first tenth, the “first fruits”, should go back to Him. He emphatically promises, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in My house, and prove Me now herewith, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such a blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it” (Mal 3:10).
The thought of giving ten percent of your income back to God might put a knot in your stomach. That’s understandable. But if you’re not giving back to God financially, I encourage you to start somewhere. Not because God needs it (He owns it all) but for your benefit! Designate a percentage of your income to give back to God and make it your goal to incrementally work up to ten percent—and then maybe even exceed ten percent! God will be honored. You’ll be happier. And you’ll embark on an adventure of faith and trust with Him that will never cease to amaze you.
Are you feeling a bit disconnected spiritually today? Try giving! Jesus says, “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” The more of our treasure we send up to heaven, the more heaven’s presence will overflow in our hearts! It truly is more blessed to give than receive. I’ve seen it over and over again in my own life: you can’t out-give God!