Tithing and Giving
By Dr. Charles Stanley
God has set forth very specific directives about what He expects us to give back to Him (Lev. 27:30; Deut. 14:22-23). Malachi 3:8-12 clearly teaches that we are to give Him a tithe, which is ten percent of what we produce or earn (the word tithe is based on the number ten in Hebrew).
Offerings were gifts, often of material goods, given above and beyond the tithe. People normally made offerings for specific reasons. In this case, it was a requirement of the Law, such as their sacrifice on the Passover; and sometimes voluntarily to meet a special need or as thanksgiving for a special blessing (Lev. 1:1-7:21). The children of Israel gave such a generous offering at the time they built the tabernacle that Moses actually had to tell them to stop giving (Ex. 35:4-36:7)! The tithe is given to God from our increase and for our increase. It is our acknowledgement that all we have and all we are able to achieve comes directly from the hand of God (Mark 12:41-44).
It is also the way we open the door of our finances to give and receive His blessing. When we give the first tenth of our earnings back to the Lord, we return to Him what was His in the first place and what He asks us to give to Him so that He will remain our first priority (Matt. 6:19-24).
The Lord is very specific in the way we are to give our tithes and offerings.
First, we are to bring them into His storehouse. Generally that meant His tabernacle or temple in the Old Testament, and the church in the New Testament. We are to give our tithes wherever we regularly worship the Lord—not only to care for the church building and those who work there but to support the expansion of His kingdom by spreading the gospel and ministering to the community for His name’s sake (2 Cor. 9:7-14).
Second, we are to make our gifts on a regular basis. Paul advised the Corinthians, “On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come” (1 Cor. 16:2). In this way, we make our obedience to God a consistent practice and have a constant reminder of His lordship and provision in our life.
Third, choosing to obey God by tithing our income indicates the level of our faith in Him. When we obey Him, we are essentially saying, “Lord, I trust You for every need I have.” We not only honor Him through our giving, we also demonstrate our faith in His ability to provide for us. There is no way we can outgive God. Therefore, we need to give with a willing heart, knowing that He has given more to us than we could ever give back to Him.
Fourth, we are to give our gifts joyfully. People who give grudgingly, solely from a sense of duty, do not truly open up their lives to God’s purpose and blessings for them (Matt. 6:1-4; 2 Cor. 8:1-15). The joy in our hearts about giving is a direct expression of our trust in God to meet our needs (Phil. 4:19).
Adapted from "The Charles F. Stanley’s Life Principles Bible," 2008.
You Can Never Outgive God
Would you describe yourself as a cheerful and generous giver? Whether or not you would, I challenge you to ask the Lord, "How much more do You want me to give?" (Watch You Can Never Outgive God.)
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