Last Sunday (1.25.08) I preached the 4th installment of our Financial Peace series. In our time together we studied Proverbs 11 and 2 Corinthians Chapters 8 & 9 in a message called “Investing in High Yield Returns”. If you missed it and would like to hear it, you can listen on Meadowland’s Website.
Proverbs 11: 24-26 says:
One man gives freely, yet gains even more;
another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.
A generous man will prosper;
he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
People curse the man who hoards grain, but blessing crowns him who is willing to sell.
In the message I made the comment – “You cannot be generous if you do not tithe”. I have received a couple of requests to explain that, and one request was specifically wanted me to blog on the subject, so here we are!
Being Generous is defined as – liberal in giving, openhanded.
So the answer to the questions – “Can I be Generous if I do not tithe” is…………NO!
Here is why:
God asks us for our “first-fruits”:
One of the major themes in the book of Malachi is that the people of God are robbing God. Malachi, who is a prophet is told by God to send God’s people a message and one of the major themes of the message is The Lord is not happy with the way His people are handling their money.
Malachi 3:8 – “Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ In tithes and offerings.”
God makes it pretty clear here that when God’s people withhold their tithes and offerings they essentially are robbing from God. Don’t be mad at me, I did not write this stuff, it is God’s Word!
God goes on to say in Malachi 3:9 that “the whole nation is under a curse” because of their theft.
This is where this gets really interesting, God is so serious about this that He actually tells his people to test him on this. He says you want to see how much I care about this, TEST ME ON IT!!
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this says the Lord Almighty and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it” – Malachi 3:10
So here is God’s thought process here –
Bring your 10% tithe, as an act of worship and I will bless you!
Withhold your 10% tithe, as an act of robbing God and not be blessed……may even be cursed!
Does this Old Testament Scripture really apply in 2009?
Short answer: Absolutely
Jesus himself spoke on this issue. In Matthew 22:21 Jesus says“Give to Caesar what is Caesars (taxes) and, give to God what is God’s (tithe). In Mark 12:41-44 we see people who are bring their tithes and offering to the temple. Upon a poor widow giving only a fraction of a penny, Jesus commends her to His disciples saying – “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but see, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.”
No New Testament scripture ever says that is is ok to stop tithing. In fact the scriptures in the New Testament reinforce what the Old Testament Scriptures say about this issue.
So what does Tithing have to do with Generosity?
When you and I tithe we are not being generous, we are being obedient. If you told you son or daughter to be home at 11:30 pm and they showed up on time, you would not say “How generous of you to be home at the right time, thank you”.
If your daughter showed up at 12:30 being an hour late you would not say “Because of your lack of generosity this evening you are grounded.” We have either said the words or heard them from our parents – “Because of your disobedience, you are grounded”.
It is no different when it comes to money. God tell us to give 10% back to him and when we do this we are being obedient.
So when you and I tithe, we have honored God with our tithe, we have been obedient – being Generous is all about what I do with the 90% that is left over!
$0 tithe + Sponsoring a Compassion Child = Robbing God
$0 tithe + Helping out someone in need = Still Robbing God
10% tithe + Sponsoring a Compassion Child = Generosity
10% tithe + Helping out Someone in Need = Generosity
Putting God and our Money in the Right Place
Deuteronomy 14:23 says the purpose of tithing is to teach you to put God first in your life. For many of us, our tithing habits really become a question of what do I really believe:
Do I really believe God can provide for me?
Do I really believe God cares about my financial habits?
Do I really believe God will bless me if I tithe?
Jesus says where our treasure is, there are hearts will also be!
If your God is “The God of Money” than tithing makes zero sense. Why give away the very thing you spend your time and energy chasing after?
If your God is The God of the Bible than tithing makes perfect sense! I would rather be dirt poor and be blessed by God than have all the money in the world and not receive God’s favor.
So the question really is – Who is your God and are you being obedient to Him?