“ There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more, and there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want. The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered. Proverbs 11:24-25 NAS
In his book, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis explains an aspect of the Christian faith by comparing it to receiving and giving a gift. The first ‘discovery of faith’ as Lewis puts it, is to understand that there is no way that we can earn our way to God. There’s no exam that we need to take or pass to achieve a certain grade. It’s simply a gift that we can choose to accept or reject. We know this from scripture: “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” – Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV
Even if we were to spend every waking minute of our life devoted to serving God, we couldn’t possibly give Him anything that wasn’t already His own. I like how C.S. Lewis explains this point with a brief story from Mere Christianity: “So that when we talk of a man doing anything for God or giving anything to God, I will tell you what it is really like. It is like a small child going to its father and saying, ‘Daddy, give me sixpence to buy you a birthday present.’ Of course, the father does, and he is pleased with the child’s present. It is all very nice and proper, but only an idiot would think that the father is sixpence to the good on the transaction.”
There is no way that we can ever give God more than He’s given to us. So while we haven’t earned anything, yet God has blessed us with all that we have. We need to remind ourselves that He is the owner of all that we have, and we are only managers.
Giving our tithes and offerings reflects a grateful heart that wants to give back to God a portion of what He has given us; in reality, what is already His. This is our opportunity to show God that He is first in our lives. The Bible says, the purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your lives. “ Bring this tithe to the designated place of worship—the place the Lord your God chooses for his name to be honored—and eat it there in his presence. This applies to your tithes of grain, new wine, olive oil, and the firstborn males of your flocks and herds. Doing this will teach you always to fear the Lord your God.” (Deuteronomy 14:23)
Again, the wisdom of C.S. Lewis is appropriate: “I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give [like the widow] more than we can spare.”
And what do we give? Not just money, but as Jesus requires, our whole being.
- How does tithing/giving affect your faith?
- Take a minute to reflect on a time that you gave of your time, talents, tithe, or offering. It could be big or little. How did you feel about yourself when you gave?
- Do you believe we can’t out give God? Why or why not? What examples do you have?
- What is one truth that you heard this week that you need to apply to your life?