By Matt Tullos, Louisiana Baptists
Bring the full tenth into the storehouse so that there may be food in My house. Test Me in this way,” says the Lord of Hosts. “See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out a blessing for you without measure.” Malachi 3:10
ALEXANDRIA — So your pastor preaches on giving? Thank him!
He’s giving you some important news about one of life’s greatest secrets. A pastor who invites members to tithe invites them into a life-changing, soul-transforming experience that affects every area of their lives. In truth, it’s unfair to you if he’s not teaching you about this principle that’s changed history in ways we’ll never completely know until we get to heaven!
So here’s the short list of reasons you should be giving a tithe (10% of your income) to your local church.
Whether you’re in a church with electric guitars or pipe organs, everybody should have an opportunity to give because from Genesis to Revelation, giving is true worship. Think about what you are doing when you illogically say goodbye to a large slice of your income that you could be using somewhere else, doing something else. You are saying, “Lord, above everything, I believe in You. It all belongs to You! This is a symbol of my complete belief, trust, and dependence on You to be my everything.”
It’s a promise.
Here’s the deal, the Lord says. “If you’ll be faithful in this area of obedience, I promise you that I’ll take care of everything you’re going to need. Trust me in this. You cannot out-give me.”
It’s a teacher
If you want to teach your kids the best way to handle money and to be financially responsible, teach them about the tithe. Tithing has taught me how to avoid the virus of materialism and learn the bliss of generosity.
It’s a blessing
A young adult tried to convince his 86 year old grandfather that he really didn’t need to worry about tithing because he wasn’t really making any money and was living on very little. The grandfather replied, “Why would I want to give up doing the one thing that makes my life have meaning and purpose?” He knew that the once you begin the journey of generosity and tithing Go will carry you through and enrich your life far beyond any money that you hold on to.
Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God that he has given you.
Deuteronomy 16:17 (ESV)
It’s a provision
When you tithe, you’re taking care of the facilities of your church, the minster(s) and their families. If your church gives through the Cooperative Program you are a solution to ministries and missions all over the world.
It’s a test
Throughout scripture, God is continually testing those who follow him. Across the pages, we see men and women struggling with a God who dares them to trust Him a little more every day. But there is one area of our lives where God invites us to test Him. It is in this thing called the tithe. He says, “Test me! I dare you! I will come through.” It’s also a test for you as a follower. God knows that money is a strong and effective indicator of the condition of your heart.
It’s an investment
So much of the resources we spend are slippery. They’re spent on things that will be broken, consumed, experienced, expired, and cast aside. The investment of the tithe is sure.
Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the Lord’s; it is holy to the Lord. Leviticus 27:30 (ESV)
And the reason it is sure is that it is eternal. None of us will bring our cars, our homes, our 401ks, our boats, our jewels or our food into Heaven, but our tithe is a different story all together. We are investing in a kingdom that is built to last. And last FOREVER. The calculations of compounding interest over 30 years are quite impressive to most people. Can you get your brain around compounded interest over 30,000 years? The lives that are saved, the movements that are started, the resources that are provided are used to do eternal things. There is no greater investment than the investment in eternity!
It’s a miracle
When you open yourself up to giving through the tithe you get a glimpse into the supernatural. Ask the tither if supernatural provision has ever happened in their years of giving, and inevitable the answer is, “Yes.” For some reason, God rewards the tither with a glimpse of the supernatural.
Sorry, but the accountant in me had to point out this minor little benefit!
It’s a faith builder
It’s true, tithing is an illogical risk, but it strengthens your faith muscles. The more you tithe, the more God shows up, the more you trust, and the more you are willing to do things that are beautifully unsafe. Once you begin to trust your money to God, you’ll find it easier to trust him with everything else in your life.
It’s a joy
The givers are the happiest people on the face of the earth. There’s a certain deep feeling of bliss that comes from giving with no regard for receiving. We realize that it wasn’t ours in the first place and so money takes on a transcendent meaning that can’t be found in wealth accumulation.
Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 (ESV)
Tithing can unify believers in a church. Tithing believers are believers that say to God and their church family, “I’m all in.” Tithing husbands and wives are saying to each other, “There’s something a whole lot bigger going on in our marriage than just us.”
Once tithers experience God in giving, we want to share with others about the grace and provision God has provided us. We share the joy of giving and God’s graciousness to us and others are inspired to give.
It’s a greed-slayer
One of the most debilitating characteristics of unhappy people is greed. Like generosity, greed can go viral. And when we feed the greed, it spills over into every area of our lives.
Last, but not least, we give because it’s a biblical principle and promise. Here are a few excerpts from the tithing narrative that God threaded throughout his Word. Here are just of few of the promises God gives in His Word regarding tithes and offerings.
The Lord also said to Moses, “Tell the Levites to give to the Lord a tenth of the tithes they receive—a tithe of the tithe, to be presented to the Lord.” Numbers 18:25 (ESV)
Sunday, April 9, is Cooperative Program Sunday in the Southern Baptist Convention. Matt Tullos is the associate director of communications and stewardship for Louisiana Baptists.