Posts Tagged ‘Tithe’


An elderly man had serious hearing problems for a number of years. He went to the Doctor and the doctor was able to have him fitted for a set of new technology hearing aids that allowed the gentleman to hear 100%.

He went back for a check up and the Doctor confirmed: “your hearing is perfect. Your family must be really pleased that you can hear again.”

To which the gentleman said, “Oh, I haven’t told my family yet. I just sit around and listen to the conversations. I’ve already changed my will three times!”

We are going to eavesdrop on a conversation between God and His chosen people, the Jews. I don’t expect you to change your wills, but I do want you to examine your heart in light of what we will find is of Greatest Value to God.

I am asking the Holy Spirit to reveal to us that being a Christian is much more than going to church and reading the Bible. You are a Christian because God puts His Name upon you through Jesus Christ, and His Name upon you means we are partners with Him in pursuing the thing which is of greatest Value to Him!

Historical Background of Nehemiah and Malachi

The Book of Malachi was written during the time of Nehemiah. Nehemiah came to Jerusalem in 445 B.C. to rebuild the wall, and returned to Persia in 433 B.C. He later returned to Israel (ca. 424 B.C.) to deal with the sins Malachi described (Neh. 13:6). So it is likely that Malachi was written during the period of Nehemiah’s absence[1].

Ezra had rebuilt the Temple years before, but Nehemiah was concerned about the city of Jerusalem. The protective wall and gates surrounding Jerusalem had been toppled and destroyed. The people were easy prey for marauding invaders. There was no pride in God’s City.

Cultural Judaism

As Nehemiah served as Governor of Jerusalem from 445-433BC, he discovered there were tremendous problems with the lives of the Jews, problems which would prevent the Name of God from being lifted up by their lives.

The problem was the Jews had become so effected by the thinking of the “heathen” around them, that they were Jews in name only. They were “Cultural Jews.” They were no different from the people around them.

Nehemiah discovered that while everyone “appeared” to be ‘religious Jews’, serious problems were going on.

Some of the Jews were enslaving their fellowmen. Times were tough, crops were not good, and folks were selling their children just to get money to plant a crop. If the crop failed, they had to mortgage the land. They had to borrow to pay the king’s tax.

The people had intermarried with people of other languages, cultures and religions. They were letting those religious beliefs influence how they worshipped. It was OK to worship other gods as long as they still went to Temple worship. Furthermore, God was not real in their homes, and the children were growing up ignorant of God, ignorant of the Hebrew language. When Ezra read the Law, Nehemiah had to have people in the audience who could translate and explain what was being read.

The people were treating the Sabbath as if it were an ordinary day. Ammonites and Moabites were going into the Temple. Merchants were conducting business in the Temple, even storing their goods there, treating it as if it were just another building. The Jews were divorcing Jewish wives and marrying women of Ammonite and Moabite ancestry, profaning the Word of God. Even priests had married foreign women.

Type of Holy Spirit

It became Nehemiah’s passion to rebuild the wall, repopulate the city and restore God’s Name to the nations. As such, Nehemiah is a type of the Holy Spirit, for it was His desire to get the people to stand up for God’s Name and be the chosen people of God that they were.

The Wall represents our Testimony

The wall represented their testimony for God. They kept the evil things out, kept the righteous things in. The gates represented Godly judgment in what went out and was allowed in.

The walls provided protection from the evil of this world.

Zechariah 2:5 “And I will be to her a wall of fire all around, declares the Lord, and I will be the glory in her midst”

REFORMS

Nehemiah in chapters 5-12 effected reforms, but then he went back to Assyria for 9 years. During this time the people resorted to their old ways, and that is when Malachi preached the Message from God.

As a result of the Message, when Nehemiah came back, the people repented and returned to God and Nehemiah was able to write in chapter 13:

Nehemiah 13:30 “I cleansed them from everything foreign, and I established the duties of the priests and Levites, each in his work”

What Did God Say to His People?

Don’t you want to know what God said to these “cultural Jews” that turned their hearts around and made them start living for God?

But before we do, understand this. These people all thought they were “good Jews”. You would see them every Sabbath at the Temple. You would let your children play with their children. You would see them at Little League. You would help them at harvest time. Times were tough, crops were scarce, and money real tight. Most everyone was barely surviving. The Assyrian’s taxed heavily, and those taxes had to be paid, crop or not.

First of all God called to His people and simply said:

1.  (1:2) God says “I love you”, yet the people say “you call this love?”

God gives them a quick lesson in how He has chosen them, and how if He didn’t love them, they would be in worse shape.

  • He says, you will one day say “Great is the Lord!”

2. (1:6): “Where is my honor?” – His people say “how have we despised your name?”

  • spoiled food & animal offerings
  • blind and lame animals
  • They were giving God their “leftovers”
  • God says “I have no pleasure in you” & “I will not accept your sacrifices”
  • (1:11) because “My Name will be great among the nations” (twice He says)

3. (1:13) The Jews Respond: “What a weariness (burden) this is”

  • They weary the Lord!

GOD: “I am a great King, and my name will be feared among the nations”

When God sees the attitude of the People, He addresses the Priests:

4. (2:2) “Give Honor to my name” (to the Priests)

  • No fear of God’s Name
  • Turned away from God’s Word
  • Corrupted the teaching of God’s Law
  • Partiality
  • Temple is profaned.
  • Covenant is profaned

Then God reminds the people of what He has seen:

5.  (2:13) “Why Does God Not Bless Me?”

  • Cover the altar with tears
  • You think God has no standards, that anything goes!
  • I see how you treat your families, your wives.
  • You are being faithless by divorcing and remarrying foreign wives that do not know me.
  • I seek a Godly Offspring, children that Know my Name!

(2:15) God sought a Godly Offspring! Their children were growing up not knowing the Power and Authority of God’s Name, because of divorce!

  • God tells them “You are wearying to Me!”

6. (2:17) “How have we wearied the Lord?”

  • Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord
  • Where is the God of justice

7. (3:13) “How have we spoken against you?”

  • It is a waste to serve the Lord
  • The arrogant are blessed
  • evildoers prosper, get away with evil

You have dishonored the Name and Word of God!

What Do You Think God Values above everything? What is Mentioned more than anything else?

God Values His Name above everything else in this world!

Mal 4:2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.

  • The “name” of Jehovah refers to his authority and reputation. God wants a people who personally stake their lives on the authority and the reputation of Jehovah.
  • God wants a people who Know and Reverence and Honor His Name. That Honor is not superficial but is displayed in the way they live. The Name of the Lord is synonymous with His Power, His Faithfulness, His Love, His Mercy, His Glory, His Being!

When Moses said to the God in the burning bush, Who do I say sent me to Egypt to lead the Jews. God said “I am [hāyâ] that I am [hāyâ].” From haya we see the Name of God – Jehovah (YWWH) which occurs 5,321 times in the Old Testament.[2] Jehovah is Our Lord who has always been. JUst as Jesus says in Revelations 1 “I am the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end.

The Bible that most of us read, that most of us believe is living and God inspired, is only what it is because of the Name of God!

Psalms 138:2 2 I will bow down toward Your holy temple And give thanks to Your name for Your loving-kindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word according to all Your name.

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE NAME OF GOD

Look at what God instructed Aaron to say to the Jews way back in the wilderness, even before they went to Israel:

Numbers 6:22-27

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,

  • The Lord bless you and keep you;
  • The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
  • The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”

  • God had chosen the Jews to set His Name upon them, and to bless them

God enters into a partnership with the people He puts His Name on

  • God would bless them, but in return he wanted them to honor his name, and represent him to the world.
  • The common bond of this partnership was the Glory of God’s Name!

As Christians, God puts His Name on us!

  • John 17:26  I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
  • Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
  • Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Moses knew the Power of God’s Name:

Deuteronomy 28:10 10 And all the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you.

David Knew the Power of God’s Name:

Psalms 20:7 7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

When God Puts His Name on someone, He is entrusting that person with the authority and power and reputation of His Name. He expects us to Live our lives as representatives of His Power and Authority, and honor His reputation!

We become the Visible Expression of the Glory of God to the world, to generations to come.

But the Jews of Nehemiah’s days were bringing God down to their level, and making His Name common, and corrupt.

They were saying that God will accept anything and everything you give Him, it really doesn’t matter what you sacrifice. It doesn’t matter who you marry, or how many times you marry. It doesn’t matter how you treat people, or whether you lie cheat or steal to get ahead. He doesn’t really care what we do and even if He really does, He doesn’t have the power to do anything about it!

Psalm 7:11-13 David said, “God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day.

What did God reveal that turned these people back to HIM?

God cries out “Return to me and I will return to you” (3:17)

And the people replied: “Yes, let us return to God.  But how shall we return?

And God’s reply is a thousand miles different from what I would ever have thought of.

He replies to them: “God will bless us, and be with us, and open the windows of heaven, and pour out an abounding immeasurable blessing upon us if…”

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse… and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts. if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there should not be room enough to receive it.

“Your hearts aren’t big enough and your arms aren’t wide enough to receive all the blessings I’ll pour out upon you if you will return to Me with a sense of stewardship, with a sense of partnership with my Name.”

Such a gift from God, that no matter where I am in my walk with Him, that if I see that His Name is upon me, and He depends upon me to Honor the power and authority of His Name, if I start honoring our partnership with giving unto Him that which is His, He will uphold His reputation and His Word by blessing me!

I can partner with God Himself. He wants such a relationship with me that He is willing to put His reputation on the line if I simply Honor His Name!

Our tithing, our giving grows out of this partnership, this relationship we have with the Name of God!

If this is not the foundation of your giving: You will see the tithe as nothing but a gimmick to get money out of reluctant people, or as a bargain we make with God. If a man could believe: “If I tithe, I’ll get ten dollars for every one that I give.  Or I’ll get a hundred dollars for every ten that I offer:” Then, who wouldn’t trade a one dollar bill for a ten-dollar bill or a ten-dollar bill for a one hundred-dollar bill?  The most greedy person in Cass County would start tithing!

Tithing is not a gimmick

Tithing is about the Name of God and us Honoring His Name, because we are partners with the power of His name.

Tithing is the way we return to God, the way we show our reverence for His Name. Tithing is proof of our partnership with God!

I read about a man who was having trouble with this concept. He had been taught tithing, so he told his pastor, “I don’t see how I can give ten percent to the church when I can’t even keep on top of our bills.”

The pastor replied, “John, if I promise to make up the difference in your bills if you should fall short, do you think you could try giving that much for just one month?”

John thought about it for a moment and then replied, “Sure, if you promise to make up any shortage, I will try giving ten percent for one month.”

“What do you think of that?” mused the pastor. “You say you’d be willing to trust a mere man like me, who possesses so little materially, but you couldn’t trust your Heavenly Father, who owns the whole universe!” John began giving regularly off the top each month, and God always met his needs.

When you place your money in the offering bag, do so with a sense of His presence. Do so with a sense of the His Name upon you. Do so as a sign of your partnership in the Glory of God’s Name!

IS GOD DISTANT?

If you find yourself wondering where God is in your life. If you find yourself thinking He seems so distant. If you are missing your joy, God says “return to me” start embracing this partnership we have in Honoring and Upholding the Power of My Name. Start realizing the power of this partnership by simply giving me your tithe.

God has placed a burden upon my heart, a burden that our nation, our churches, are becoming a place of “Cultural Christians” who are bringing God down to their level.

CULTURAL CHRISTIANS INFECTING AMERICA

“numerous national polls conducted by highly respected pollsters like The Gallup Organization and The Barna Group are simply shocking. “Gallup and Barna,” laments evangelical theologian Michael Horton, “hand us survey after survey demonstrating that evangelical Christians are as likely to embrace lifestyles every bit as hedonistic, materialistic, self-centered, and sexually immoral as the world in general.”[3] Divorce is more common among “born-again” Christians than in the general American population. Only 6 percent of evangelicals tithe. White evangelicals are the most likely people to object to neighbors of another race. Josh McDowell has pointed out that the sexual promiscuity of evangelical youth is only a little less outrageous than that of their non-evangelical peers.[4]

Cultural Christians believe they are Christians, but they do not Honor the Name of God to the point that their lives reflect His Values, and the Power of His Name. Cultural Christians simply try to fit God into their lives as long as it is convenient.

If God is getting through to your heart the way Malachi was getting through to the cultural Jews of Nehemiah’s Day, the first thing you do to tell God you take this partnership seriously is simply start tithing!

The Joy of Partnership

Returning to God begins with that “walk of faith” and complete trust in the Name of God. Returning to God is the wonderful acknowledgment that God and you are partners. We are stewards of God’s Name. We are Stewards of God’s Possessions.

I don’t have any breath but that God gives it to me (Breath is a gift of God).  There’s not any sunshine, but God’s sunshine; there’s not any failing rain, but God’s rain; there’s not any increase, but God’s increase; there’s not any harvest, but God’s harvest.  All of it is a gift from God.

As Paul wrote in 1 Timothy: “We brought nothing into this world and we shall certainly carry nothing out”.

I am a partner with God; and, as such, He is my first creditor.  That’s why the first fruits belong to Him.  And He says: “Honor me with the first fruits of all thy substance; so shall thy barns will filled with plenty and thy presses bursting out with new wine.”

He and I are partners.

This is God’s part: The breath, the life, the sun, the rain, the increase—that’s God’s. My Part is the labor and the love of my hands.  And when I honor God, God honors me. God wants to bless us.  God has put His Name upon us. When we come to God in consecration and dedication; and bring to Him our tithe and offering, out of the appreciation of my heart for our partnreship—two things happen.

1. We step into the supernatural.

When we tithe, God’s strength comes into our soul. His Face shines upon us. His Life is upon us! He lifts His countenance upon us and gives His peace! The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. His Name is upon you!

You are stepping into the unseen, the presence of God. You are embracing the Power and Authority of His Name! God has placed His Name upon You!

2.  We bless someone else.

Giving to God is just another name for helping somebody else. Preaching the gospel, saving the lost, teaching our children, assembling our families in praise and worship—it’s just another name for serving Jesus.

Jesus said in Matthew 25:40: “Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.”  And, when I give to God, that’s another name for ministry to somebody else.

That’s Good. That’s Great

And when the Lord made the beautiful and verdant earth, with its teeming plants and vegetation, grasses, and trees, God looked upon it and God said: “That’s good.  That’s good.”  When the Lord spoke to the air and [it] was filled with fowls and birds; and unto the sea and it was filled with the fish; and to the land mass and it was filled with animals, God looked at it and He said: “That’s good.  That’s great.”

Well, when we bring a tithe and an offering to the Lord, we are being like God.

  • We go to Awana’s and see boys and girls learning God’s Word, learning about Jesus, and we say: “That’s good.  I’m glad I had a part in it.”
  • We look at our teenagers, and we see them being taught how to make decisions based upon Jesus Christ ans His Word, we say: “That’s good.  I’m glad I have a part in it.”
  • When we see families strengthened to follow the Lord, and husbands and wives being encouraged to love each other and make Christ Lord in their homes, we say: “That’s great.  I’m glad I have a part in it.”
  • When you see our church responding to needs and sickness and surgeries and loss of loved ones, we say: “That’s great.  That’s good.  I’m glad I have a part in it.”
  • And we look upon the ministries of our church, reaching out to our neighbors, showing them the love of Christ, we say: “That’s great.  I’m glad to have a part in it.”

But the truth is, I believe we can see God do much more!

Somewhere in rural Midwest, years ago, when most of the income was earned at harvest time, there was a town in which a big expansive elevator was built.  One man owned the elevator and took the grain, the wheat, the corn, the oats, the rye, the barley from the people.

He attended the main church in town. This church had built a beautiful building and was now deep in debt.Giving was down, debt payments were high, they hadn’t been able to fully cover the pastor’s salary. They had stopped giving to missions.

So at a conference in the church, they turned to that man who owned the big grain elevator and asked him if he would be treasurer of the congregation.  And the elevator man said: “I will accept the place as treasurer of the congregation if you’ll give me one year and don’t ask me any questions and don’t expect any report from me until the end of the year.”

Well, they were in dire straits and so they agreed. They elected him treasurer with the understanding they’d never ask him any questions during the year and not to expect a report until the end of the year.  When the end of the year came, he stood up before that congregation and made his report: They had paid every dime of the big debt they had on the church; they had raised the pastor’s salary; and they had increased their gifts two-hundred percent to missions; and they had thousands of dollars in the bank.

And the people gasped in amazement and one man finally had the courage to stand up and say: “But how did you do it?”

And the elevator man said:

Whenever you came into my elevator with the wheat, or the corn, or the barley, or the rye, or the oats,or the beans, I took one-tenth of it and set it aside for God.  You never missed it, you never knew it, but one-tenth of all that you brought me, I set aside for God.  And out of those tithes that you unconsciously dedicated to the Lord, I have paid off the church debt; I have raised the pastor’s salary. I have given to missions.

I’m not exaggerating when I tell you, if each of our people were to tithe, if each of you were to partner your life with the Power & Reputation of the Name of God; why next year we would be saying “what are we going to do about the money? Not because we do not have enough, but we’d be wondering what to do with all the extra!

Is the Name of God upon You? Do You See that He has entrusted His Name with You? Do you see that returning to God begins with trusting Him with His tithe, trusting Him to Honor the Power of His Name and His Word!

As we have eavesdropped on God’s conversation with the Jews 2400 years ago, could He have been talking to you? Have you settled for a cultural Christianity, when God wants you to see you are in partnership with the Power of His name?

I encourage to not be a comfortable, convenient, cultural Christian. Allow that which is Most Valuable to God, the Honor and Power of His Name, to be your most valuable possession.

Lift up the Name of Jehovah, see Him as the “I Am of your life, try Him and see if His Name is not the Most Powerful Name, able to open the windows of Heaven and pour out Blessings from heaven that you will not be able to contain.

Those that Lift up the Honor of His Name, who live their lives in the Power of His Name are promised a Reward!

Malachi 3:16-17 Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed his name. “They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him.

Your name is written in His Book. You shall be a treasured Jewel. You shall be spared in the day of Judgment.


[2] R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Bruce K. Waltke, ed., “484: ‏הָוָה‎,” in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 210.


pathway-of-blessing-honor-with-your-possessionsOne Sunday a pastor told his congregation that the church needed some extra money for a special mission project. He asked the people to consider putting a little extra in the offering plate. He added that whoever gave the most that day would be able to pick three hymns in the worship service. When the offering plates were brought forward the pastor glanced down and noticed that someone had written a check for $1000. Excited, he immediately shared this news with the congregation and said he would like to thank personally the person who gave such a large gift. He asked who the donor was. A shy, elderly woman sitting in the back slowly raised her hand. The pastor asked her to come to the front of the church. She stood there nervously as the pastor praised her and then he asked her to pick out three hymns. Her eyes brightened as she looked over the congregation. Pointing to the three best looking men in the building, she said, “I’ll take him and him and him!”

This morning I’m going to talk about that dreaded five letter word…TITHE. Before you close your ears, I want you to consider a different way of looking at the tithe. Our outlook is so important…

Imagine you’re up on the 70th floor of the Empire State Building. Suddenly a man opens the window and says he’s going to jump. You call out, “Stop. Don’t do it.” “Try to stop me and I’ll take you with me.”

Noting that the guy is 6-foot-5, you say, “No problem. Have a safe trip. Any last messages?” He says, “Let me tell you my troubles. My wife left me, my kids won’t talk to me, I lost my job and my pet turtle died.” After an hour of stories like this, you’re so depressed you’re ready to jump with him. Finally he turns to you and says, “Tell me – why should I go on living?”

What do you say? Suddenly you get a flash of inspiration. “Sir, close your eyes for a minute. Now I want you to imagine that you are blind. No colors, no sights of children playing, no fields of flowers, no sunset … Now imagine that suddenly there’s a miracle. You open your eyes and you can see. Are you going to jump … or will you stick around a week to look around?” “I’d stick around for a week to see.” “What happened to all the troubles?” “Ah, I guess they’re not so bad. I can see.”

I want us to close our eyes and then open them with a new outlook on tithing.

Proverbs 3:9 tells us to Honor the Lord with our substance. Now we usually think money, but substance means much more. It refers to everything we own, everything we have under our control. I am hoping you will put a fresh perspective on a subject that usually causes people to squirm in their seats, and avoid eye contact with the preacher. In order to do so, let’s read Acts 27 beginning with verse 9:

Now when much time had been spent, and sailing was now dangerous because the Fast was already over, Paul advised them, saying, “Men, I perceive that this voyage will end with disaster and much loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also our lives.” Nevertheless the centurion was more persuaded by the helmsman and the owner of the ship than by the things spoken by Paul. And because the harbor was not suitable to winter in, the majority advised to set sail from there also, if by any means they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete opening toward the southwest and northwest, and winter there. When the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their desire, putting out to sea, they sailed close by Crete. But not long after, a tempestuous head wind arose, called Euroclydon. So when the ship was caught, and could not head into the wind, we let her drive. And running under the shelter of an island called Clauda, we secured the skiff with difficulty. When they had taken it on board, they used cables to undergird the ship; and fearing lest they should run aground on the Syrtis Sands, they struck sail and so were driven. And because we were exceedingly tempest-tossed, the next day they lightened the ship. On the third day we threw the ship’s tackle overboard with our own hands. Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up. But after long abstinence from food, then Paul stood in the midst of them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss. And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me. However, we must run aground on a certain island.” Acts 27:9-26 (NKJV)

If we are to understand what it means to honor God with our substance, we must understand what Paul meant when he said “God, whose I am, whom also I serve.”

Apostle Paul is shipwreckedI think that most Christians don’t really understand what it means to really be God’s. To see yourself as belonging totally to God, you have to put yourself in the place of those seamen. You need to feel the salt spray on your cheek. You need to feel the ship rising and falling. You need to hear the thunder of the waves against the bow. You need to see the flash of the lightning, feel the wind blowing against you, so hard that you can lean 45 degrees into it and not fall over. You are totally helpless. You have given up hope of ever seeing home again, of ever hugging your wife, hugging your children, your grandchildren. You are going to die. Every possession you have, everything you hold dear, you would be willing to throw over the side of the ship if you could only feel dry ground under your feet again.

Nothing is as important as life at that moment. When you stare death in its face, everything of value fades away except life.

Paul knew this. He knew that everything he was and ever would be was totally tied up with Jesus Christ. He owed his very life to Jesus. In fact, Jesus was his LIFE.

Do you see that as well? Until you do, you will have a hard time when the preacher talks about money.

We tithe for a multitude of reasons.

  1. Emotional appeal
    A little church was having a homecoming service to which ex-members, who had moved away, were invited. One of the former members had become a millionaire. When asked to speak, the wealthy man recounted his childhood experience. He had earned his first silver dollar which he had decided to keep forever. “But when a visiting missionary preached about the urgent need for funds in his mission work, and the offering basket was passed, a great struggle took place within me. As a result,” the wealthy man said, “I put my treasured silver dollar in the basket. I am convinced that the reason God has blessed me richly is that when I was a boy I gave God everything I possessed.” The congregation was spellbound by the multi-millionaire’s tremendous statement until an elderly little man seated in the front row rose and said, “Brother, I dare you to do it again.”
  2. Guilt
  3. Fear of God
  4. Respect of Man
  5. Gratefulness for something God has done.
  6. Love of the pastor
  7. Love of the church
  8. Love of God

These are all good reasons, but as such, they are subject to the winds of change.

  1. We lose our tenderness to emotional appeals
  2. We become hard-hearted so guilt doesn’t faze us.
  3. We lose our fear of God
  4. Man doesn’t appreciate us
  5. God stops doing great things for us
  6. Pastor does something we don’t like
  7. Church does something we don’t like
  8. God does something we don’t like.

Our giving suddenly changes. Maybe we even stop giving.

David Russell, a pastor in Union City, Tennessee tells about Nathan, a precocious three-year-old in his church. Nathan’s parents were trying to introduce him to what it means to be in church. One Sunday they gave him a one-dollar bill that Nathan was to place in the offering plate. When the plate moved down Nathan’s pew, his parents held it infront of him and told him to place the dollar in the plate. Nathan balked. Finally his mother gently took the dollar from him. She placed it in the plate, and it was passed on down the pew. Suddenly the stillness of the offertory was shattered by a voice demanding, “I want my dollar back! I want my dollar back!” Nathan had been robbed and he wanted everyone to know it. His parents tried in vain to quiet their son, but he was insistent, “I want my dollar back!” Everyone in the congregation was fighting a losing battle against laughter. Throughout the remaining strains of the organist’s meditative tune, the only thing most worshippers heard was, “I want my dollar back!” Eventually, his parents gave Nathan another dollar to hold and he was content enough so that the congregation could make it through the Doxology.

Pastor Russell says that as he stepped into the pulpit, he knew he needed to talk about what had happened. Looking out at the smiling faces he said, “We shouldn’t laugh. It may be that Nathan is only voicing the feelings that some of us have after having given to God. We do so, not joyously but out of a sense of obligation. We do so unwillingly. We may not say it, but some of us think it, “I want my dollar back!”

God sees our tithing as an indicator of how much we value our Life in Christ.

Larry Burkett knew a pastor who did something interesting one Sunday – he took up the offering himself. And he didn’t just take it up, but watched what each person put in. If they put in a sealed envelope, he opened it up to see what was inside. A murmur rose up in the congregation and many of the members were furious. The next Sunday the pastor spoke from the pulpit: “Many of you were upset that your pastor looked in the offering envelopes last week. Has it ever occurred to you to consider what GOD thinks when he looks in there??”

Leighton Farrell was the minister of Highland Park Church in Dallas for many years. He tells of a man in the church who once made a covenant with a former pastor to tithe ten percent of their income every year. They were both young and neither of them had much money. But things changed. The layman tithed one thousand dollars the year he earned ten thousand, ten thousand dollars the year he earned one hundred thousand, and one hundred thousand dollars the year he earned one million. But the year he earned six million dollars he just could not bring himself to write out that check for six hundred thousand dollars to the Church.

He telephoned the minister, long since having moved to another church, and asked to see him. Walking into the pastor’s office the man begged to be let out of the covenant, saying, “This tithing business has to stop. It was fine when my tithe was one thousand dollars, but I just cannot afford six hundred thousand dollars. You’ve got to do something, Reverend!”

pray_03The pastor knelt on the floor and prayed silently for a long time. Eventually the man said, “What are you doing? Are you praying that God will let me out of the covenant to tithe?”

“No,” said the minister. “I am praying for God to reduce your income back to the level where one thousand dollars will be your tithe!”

Here is the way we need to view our privilege of tithing. Consider Paul and the Foundational Truth of His Life:

  • He was God’s
  • He served God

All of the stuff we have around our lives suddenly doesn’t seem too important when we are staring death in the face. When we consider that we owe our very life to Jesus Christ. Look what Jesus was willing to sacrifice for us. Now think about all your stuff, and how important it is to you. Do you LIVE Proverbs 3:9? Do you realize that you owe your Life to Jesus? Do you realize you are to serve Jesus because He has given you LIFE?jesus-i-will-come-again-melton

(Pro 3:9) Honor the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:

Do you Honor God with your possessions. Or do you use them to honor yourself?

A pastor told me of a very interesting thing that he did in his congregation one Sunday morning. He said that when the ushers had taken up the offering one Sunday and brought the plates down to the alter rail, he took the plates and held them up in the air and he gave a prayer: “Lord, regardless of what we say about you, this is really what we say about you, this is really what we feel about you. Amen.”

Now most people say that all our possessions belong to the Lord. And that is most certainly true. But God doesn’t need all your possessions unless you are putting them before Him. Then he has a problem; for God said I will have no other God’s before me. I believe God is dealing with America in such a way as to shake us from having Money as our God. God will bring us to the point where our trust will be in Him, and not in money.

So how do we Honor God with our Possessions?

The Pharisees used the Herodians to try to trick Jesus. They asked Him if it was lawful to pay taxes. Jesus asked them to bring a denarii to him.jesus-said-bring-me-a-denar

Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? Show Me the tax money.” So they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Matthew 22:17-21 (NKJV)

Jesus said you need to pay taxes, but he also said something else. Give to God that which is God’s.

jesus-fulfilled-the-law1Now many people say that the concept of tithe is Old Testament. It doesn’t apply to today. But Jesus came to fulfill the Law, not cast it aside. In fact He said that not one jot or tittle of the Law would be done away with until it is fulfilled (Matt 5:18)

How do you honor the Lord with your substance? What things belong to God? God’s Law provides the answer to what is God’s…

(Lev 27:30) 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 unto the LORD.

(Lev 27:32) And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD.

God says that one tenth of all you own is His! So when Jesus says to give God that which is His, we consider a tenth of all we make and own as set apart unto Him! Now how important is it to honor God with our substance that belongs to Him?

The Importance of Honor with our Possessions

Malachi is the last word that God gave His people for four hundred years, until the ministry of John the Baptist. He was really irritated at His people, and one of the reasons is their refusal to Honor Him.

“A son honors his father, And a servant his master. If then I am the Father, Where is My honor? And if I am a Master, Where is My reverence? Says the Lord of hosts To you priests who despise My name. Yet you say, ‘In what way have we despised Your name?’ Malachi 1:6 (NKJV)

Stop Robbing GodHe listed a number of other faults, and then He gave them some advice that we should pay close attention to. He said if you want to return to God you must do something. You must stop robbing from God.

Yet from the days of your fathers You have gone away from My ordinances And have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” Says the Lord of hosts. “But you said, ‘In what way shall we return?’ “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. “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” Says the Lord of hosts; Malachi 3:7-11 (NKJV)

Honoring God with our substance is critical if we are to return to Him. It is that Honor that comes with direct reward. Protection from the devourer, and material blessing.

I want you to consider taking the Jacob pledge:

“and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.” Genesis 28:22 (ESV)

ebenezerI’m not going to stand here and promise you that if you tithe you will be wealthy beyond imagination. Even though some very successful men claim that is why God has blessed them.

All I will tell you is that if you name Jesus Christ as your Savior, your sins are forgiven and God’s grace and mercy is open by the bucketfuls to you. If you love God, you love His Son, if your life is all about honoring them, because you belong to God, then you will want to Honor God with your substance.

  • He promises to reward you when you honor Him with your substance.
  • He promises to rebuke the devourer.
  • He promises fruit for your life.

Perhaps you need to return to God and confess your dishonor for Him in your life. You have laid a selfish claim to that which is Holy unto the Lord. You owe God your life. Your Life is what matters. So Honor God with with your substance.

The story of soap-maker William Colgate:

His family was poor and at the age of 16 he left home to seek his fortune. The only thing he knew was how to make soap and candles. He met an old canal-boat captain who gave him this advice: “Be a good man, give your heart to Christ, pay the Lord all that belongs to Him, make an honest soap, and I’m certain you’ll be a prosperous and rich man.”william-colgate-soap

William arrived in New York and got a job in a soap factory. The first dollar he earned, he gave 10% to God. Soon he became a partner. Later he became the owner. The business grew, so he gave a double tithe, 20%. Then a triple tithe, a four-fold one, half his income – finally he was giving all his income to the Lord. He was faithful to God, and his name is with us today on every tube of Crest toothpaste – Colgate-Palmolive.

Wesley’s guidelines on money:

1. Gain all you can.

Money can be used for good. But do not thereby damage yourself, others, or the environment.

2. Save all you can.

Two reasons were not to waste money, and not to increase desires.

3. Give all you can. Giving begins, but does not end, with the tithe.the-tithe-is-holy-to-the-lord

Now imagine that you are on that ship in the Mediterranean. You can hear it breaking up under the force of the wind and the waves. You have been throwing up for hours. You are weak from not eating. You are dehydrated. You know you don’t have very long to live.

What does all your money mean at that moment. What good are all those possessions. Would you give everything to save your life? Jesus gave everything to save your life. He died on the cross for your sins. He bore the price of your disobedience, your dishonor of the God of the universe. If you have accepted His love for you and asked Him to be your personal Savior, you owe Him everything. How hard is it to honor Him with one tenth of what you make, of one tenth of your substance?