I’ve heard sermons on tithing here and there. I’ve also had a few discussions with people over the years. In someways, conversations about money are quite personal, but in other ways, people love to talk about money – how they saved a certain amount, what they bought, where they’ve traveled. So, I don’t think it’s as personal as people think it is.
I’m not sure how it happened, but at a certain point – just after we got married, we committed to give ten percent of our income to the church. We’ve done this for years – every year. Probably more than anything else, I’ve learned that God is faithful and does provide a blessing as we bless God and others.
Giving a tithe isn’t based on if we feel like we have enough money. If we wait until we have “enough” money, chances are we will never tithe. I’m sure our family makes less than the average salary for our region, but there always seems to be, by the grace of God, enough. Our lives are blessed beyond measure. It’s unbelievable to me really.
Most of my thoughts of tithing have come from personal experience. It’s all God’s and we live in gratitude by returning a percentage – 10% or more – so that the ministry of the church can thrive; and so our spiritual lives thrive, trusting God with our culture’s most precious commodity: money. We live on 90%. It’s a powerfully simple, God honoring lifestyle.
This morning, I was reading from the Old Testament and was inspired about what a tithe can do.
Here some insights from 1 Chronicles 31:
The King Called The People To Tithe (Verse 4) – Many church going Christians need a leader to speak up and encourage them and teach them what a tithe is all about. It was the Lord’s law. The king was a godly man that encouraged the people to follow God’s laws. They were encouraged to give, based on the law of the Lord. I think it’s important for Godly leaders to invite, encourage, nudge and expect the church to tithe as a way to align their lives with God’s work and ministry. Some Christians still might think tithing is optional. And they are missing out.
The People Responded In A Huge Way (verse 5) – As soon as the King asked them to tithe, they began bringing their first fruits – 10 percent of all they had – crops, honey, animals, etc – all dedicated to the Lord their God. At times, like any family, people get frustrated about what is going on in their church. But this call to tithe is based more on a commitment to God. You find a church that you can be a part of and you commit. You jump in, grow in Christ and in ministry, and stay faithful. As long as you are part of that church, you should be tithing to God.
The Abundance Was Powerful (Verses 9-10) – Scripture says the King asked the priests about the heaps given. I could see them all standing around, too much to imagine. They were overwhelmed by the first fruits of God’s people. It was a witness of God’s faithfulness to the leaders. Probably a bigger encouragement than anyone can imagine. What if the pastors and church leaders were able to discuss issues other than how to save money? What if the norm was to make decisions based on mission and not on finances? What if there was plenty so that the work of the church was present in the community in life changing way – beyond question, the largest resource for any community?
The Tithe is a Witness (Verse 8) – The abundance of the tithe from the people caused the leaders and rulers to praise the Lord! A tithing church can witness to the community and world in ways non-tithing churches can’t even dream of. A tithing church can also get past the little stuff and begin working together on what a church should be doing – being the hands and feet of Jesus in the world, calling people to become disciples.
A tithing church can witness to the community and world in ways non-tithing churches can’t even dream of.
The Priests And Church Leaders Went To Work (1 Chronicles 31:11ff) This opened up the possibility for people to be engaged in the work of the temple full time. And the leaders were humble and diligent with the tithes, carefully utilizing them to distribute to leaders who were serving in the temple night and day. This blessing is almost a shock to the leaders – a tithing church doesn’t mean the leaders live extravagantly, but it does mean that they are able to serve the church confidently and consistently with out worry of big financial issues. The pastors, staff and church workers were able to totally devote themselves to the work of the church. The role of the the pastor is the shepherd the congregation. The role of staff in the church is to be coaches for the people to grow in faith, in ministry and in serving. Ultimately, the staff is there to help the church grow. And when the church staff is firing all all cylinders, there is a synergy that creates powerful ministry opportunities.
Being a tithing household is about seeking after God wholeheartedly – putting Him first through our action of giving to the church.
I don’t want the church to lose this. I’d hate for God’s people to miss the blessing. If every Christian tithed, the possibilities would literally be endless. Our church would become even more of a beacon – both in providing opportunities for people to grow in faith and providing for the needs of people all over the area. We could thrive in mission, outreach and other areas of kingdom work.
But probably more than all those things combined, the church would be full of people who have their hearts and lives fully in tune to God. I cannot begin to imagine what kind of impact that could have on homes, families and history.
Give it a try. Tithe for about three months. Then, if you think about it, let me know how it went.