Pastor Ben Spitler
I preached on tithing yesterday and took as my text the classic passage on the subject, Malachi 3:10—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 there will not be room enough to store it.
The “tithe” is simply a tenth of what God allows us to make. If I make $1000 this month, then a tithe is $100. It was the practice of God’s covenant people in the Old Testament for 1500 years. It’s been the practice of His church for the last 20 centuries. Why has God asked us to tithe? I shared three reasons yesterday—
- It helps others. It supports the ministry and mission of God through His church. Along with our time and our abilities, our giving helps us accomplish the purpose and mission God has for us in the world—to bear witness to God and make a difference in the world in Jesus’ name, making disciples of all nations and inviting others to follow Him.
- It helps us. Tithing provides a consistent opportunity for us to temper greed and self-centeredness, to recognize our need for God, to trust God and to give thanks for all He’s provided.
- It gives God an opportunity to bless us. God’s blessing isn’t the reason we tithe, but it’s the reality of tithing. I’ve proven God’s promise over and over again and seen it proven in the lives of many others.
Richard Stearn in his book, The Hole in Our Gospel, notes that the combined income of American churchgoers is $5.2 trillion dollars a year. That’s trillion. He says that if we gave just a little over 1% of that we could lift the world’s one billion poorest above the poverty line. Imagine what we could do if every churchgoer in America tithed, gave at least 10%?! The reality is that only 9% do. That percentage bumps up to 24% among those who say their faith “is the most important thing to them in life.” That still leaves 76% falling short of a tithe of their income. The positive way of looking at that would be to see all the possibilities if we’d just do what God has asked us to do, believing that He will provide for us from the 90% left over, indeed, that He will bless us!
What can you do if you want to begin or begin again to tithe? If your budget allows it, just do it! Write out that check and bring it on Sunday! If your budget doesn’t allow it currently, begin to prayerfully consider how you can adjust your budget so that you can tithe your income. Perhaps you can take some small steps in the right direction. Begin with 1% of your income and gradually increase it as you make adjustments in your spending. Check out the attached handout for more on the subject.
In the 6th verse of that third chapter of Malachi it says, “the Lord does not change.” Neither does His Word. I find no reason to believe, either from the Scriptures or history or experience, that God has withdrawn His command to “bring the whole tithe into the storehouse.” For the reasons above, and because God has asked us to, we need to bring “the whole tithe into the storehouse.” I hope you’ll prayerfully consider all that if you’re not presently tithing. If you are—thank you! You are helping to support the greatest humanitarian effort on the planet, the ministry that brings the glorious Good News of Jesus to the world and that is making a difference and meeting needs in Jesus’ name. God bless you! Ha, he probably already has!
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