“And he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.” – Genesis 14:19-20
The idea of giving, or tithing, has been around a long time. In the passage above, Abram gave the first tithe to the priest Melchizedek. This would suggest that the practice of paying tithes has been known since the days of Adam. Tithing demonstrates our love and loyalty to God. As Pastor, I have heard people equate giving as paying another bill, like the utilities, car payment, etc. Is that a good way to look at tithing?
Giving is more than paying a monthly bill. Rather than simply being mechanical, giving is a spiritual discipline that tangibly expresses our faith in God to provide for us and to use what we give for His kingdom. First, a little background on what happens when we give.
Each week we gather together for worship on Sunday morning. At the end the service we take time to give. This is an act that we do together as a church family. It demonstrates that we are a single church body. We are a family that comes together united by the same faith in the same Savior. We share the same hope, joy, goal in life, and burden for the nations and our neighbors. And we are a family that is working together to help the whole world find and follow Jesus.
When we give we are also communicating that we as a church share in this work together. We support the work of the gospel both in Panama City and across the world together. When we give we are saying that we are joining with God in “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” ( 2 Peter 3:9) We desire to see God glorified. Also, giving includes the component of trust. In giving our money, we are saying that we trust God to provide for our needs. We know that God does not need our money, but He uses it. God is our Father and He cares for us, looking after our families individually and the church collectively. We should give cheerfully, sacrificially, thankfully, and generously for it.
Giving then, together as a church, should be an expression of our faith in God to provide and to use what we give for the advancement of the gospel. When we read 2 Corinthians 9 we see there is far more invested in the giving than just paying a bill. There is personal examination, contemplation of the need, consideration of what and how God provides, evaluation of what they are giving towards, and an occasion to give thanks to God.
“So I thought I should send these brothers ahead of me to make sure the gift you promised is ready. But I want it to be a willing gift, not one given grudgingly. Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say, “They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.” (2 Corinthians 9:5–9)
Are you giving joyfully, sacrificially, generously, faithfully, and thankfully? It is different then writing a check to Gulf Power each month.
- What fears do you have about tithing?
- In your experience, what are the benefits of tithing?
- How do you go about determining how much money is enough in your life and then how much to tithe?
- Pray about taking the tithe challenge if you have never done so.