Whenever a preacher begins to speak about tithes and offerings, many people in that congregation roll their eyes thinking… oh the church needs money again. This is a very non-Christian but very human emotion to the topic. It’s true that for some there is just such a love of money that they struggle to part with it. However, for many they are just simply stretched so thin that it’s difficult to part with it.
Now their financial situation could be deserved such as spending more than they make or it could be temporary setback with the loss of a job. In either case, this message about giving up more money can be a bit hard to swallow. So I’m praying that my message, not coming from the pulpit, will allow some of you to hear the bible’s message on the subject without that fear that usually comes over you when you hear the same message on a Sunday morning.
First my disclaimer. I am not a perfect tither. In fact, that word perfect can’t really be attached to me in any way. I have had seasons where I gave the 10% or more (some times cheerfully and sometimes reluctantly). I have had seasons were I gave less and ironically, this has always been with a heavy heart. So I speak to you as one who has struggled with this issue myself.
Paul delivers a wonderful message on this subject in 2 Corinthians 9. “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (v 6-7) Just shortly after that verse, Paul points out the overwhelming principle we should all live by when it comes to anything we “own”. It’s not really ours anyway. “He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.” (v 10). It is God who provides for us, sometimes just enough, sometimes plenty to see how we will be good stewards, and sometimes less to see how we will rely upon Him. But never forget that it is He that is the owner, not us.
It’s like we’ve been named an executor of an estate. Now this executor job is not like any other, it’s a full time job so we are allowed to cover our expenses with the funds we are responsible for. But at the same time, we do not own it. The will that was left behind gives us instruction as to the desires of the true owner, what His priorities were, etc. We as the executor are charged with the duty and responsibility to faithfully execute those wishes.
When God adopted you as sons and daughters, you inherited His kingdom. Yes, that does mean having eternal life with Him, but it also means you are now not the owner of everything you thought you owned. You are merely the steward of it. He wishes you to have life abundantly but also give freely and with a cheerful heart.
- If you have been consistently giving above the 10% tithes and adding offerings above that, then congratulations… you are in rare company. I would recommend to this group to see how they can still increase, but also see how they can help others accomplish the same…
- If you have been consistently giving your 10% tithe but nothing else, stretch yourself to not only give the tithe, but also give the offerings. These are the extra gifts above and beyond, perhaps to local or international missions or perhaps adopting a family in need. Find ways to go above and beyond.
- Finally, if you are in the majority, giving below the 10% (even when counting all the little donations outside of your regular church collection)… I challenge you to look hard at your budget and reorganize your life to live on 90%. Give that 10% back to the owner. Give back to Him and see what He does with it.
Speaking from experience. When I have given less, it has always been with a heavy heart. When I have given more, it has sometimes been with stress and struggle but always been with joy.