“In addition, he required the people in Jerusalem to bring a portion of their goods to the priests and Levites, so they could devote themselves fully to the Law of the Lord.When the people of Israel heard these requirements, they responded generously by bringing the first share of their grain, new wine, olive oil, honey, and all the produce of their fields. They brought a large quantity—a tithe of all they produced.” – 2 Chronicles 31:4-5.
The “why tithe” question often comes up early in the spiritual journey. When people first mention tithing you probably think they are crazy. I worked so hard for every dollar, dealing with unruly customers and picking up spitballs under the table at Sharky’s, only to give 10 percent of it away to the church. That argument would hold weight if there was no return on our investment. But there is. For one, you can’t out-give God. Luke 6:38 says, “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”
But while we have heard testimonies of people who have tithed their last few dollars and then received a surprise check in the mail for 20 times that amount that won’t always be the case. There are also people that gave money to the church with the expectation that God would multiply and return that money. When that doesn’t happen, it is easy to become frustrated and bitter.
While we are to give expectantly, we have to be careful that we are not expecting a narrow outcome we’ve identified for ourselves, rather than focusing on what scripture says. For one thing, we can expect to be blessed when we tithe. Malachi 3:10 says, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!” This is one of many verses in which God suggests and even promises that He will reward giving with a blessing. How? When? In what manner? We may not know the answers to those questions, but we can trust that He knows the answer and He will be faithful to His Word.
So, it’s not about how much you give, it’s about how generous you are with what He has given you to steward, to manage. Tithing is fairly easy while generosity is much more difficult to accomplish. When we live a lifestyle of generosity—giving the Lord our financial offerings, our time, our love, our resources, and our abilities—God uses them to reach a world in need. Not only that, but He blesses us in return…not necessarily financially, but in all aspects of life and in our relationship with Him.
“Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God. As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 9:11-13)
- Do you find it difficult to tithe? Why or why not?
- What is one step you can take today to show God that you want to put Him first in your finances? How will that step move you closer to being faithful in your tithe?