A great deal has been written about tithing. Should one give ten percent or not? Does one give gross or net profit? More important is the attitude we should have regarding giving. Our attitude toward material things matters tremendously. It informs how we steward. The Bible has commanded us to give generously. The Old Testament had a tithe of twenty-three percent, just in case one thinks ten percent is too much. The New Testament encourages us to give generously (2 Cor. 9:6-8). It is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).
The human nature is inherently selfish and greedy. Generous and regular giving can be painful to the flesh and break the selfish tendencies of human nature. It makes us die to the flesh and makes us more Christ-like. Giving in God’s economy is counted as good works that deliver divine promises in this world and the world to come (2 Corinthians 9:9, 1 Timothy 6:17-19). Therefore, as we grow in prayer, Bible study, and church service, we also need to consider our growth in giving. What are the blessings of giving a tithe?
Frees From the Bondage of Money.
Money can be very enslaving. You don’t have to be rich to be a slave of money. The poor desire to be rich, leading to many temptations, such as stealing to become rich or overcommitting themselves in jobs, thus denying God a place in their schedules. The more one acquires, the more he wants. Many individuals find themselves trapped by wealth this way. Many people neglect their spiritual disciplines on account of material pursuits. Money can be used to better your life and that of others, or it can be used to destroy yourself and others. The issue is whether our heart’s intent is pure or not. Many people’s fear of financial security is greater than the choice of investing in God’s kingdom. Christ calls us to be bound only to him (Matthew 16:24-25).
In our process of spiritual formation, as we seek to become like Christ in our thoughts and behavior, we must always seek to grow and mature in our relationship with money. We must master money and not let money master us.
Provides Personal Spiritual Nourishment
Our giving supports the pastor and other church programs that nourish our spiritual life. What’s the big deal in tithing if our finances will facilitate our spiritual lives? In the Old Testament, the Israelites gave for the construction of the temple and the ongoing maintenance of its worship and ministry (Exodus 25:1-9; 35:4-9; 2 Kings 12:4-16; 1 Chronicles 29:1-17; Matthew 17:24-27). They also gave to the poor and needy (Leviticus 19:9-10; Deuteronomy 24:19-22; Mark 10:21; Acts 2:44-45; 4:34-35; 11:27-30; Romans 12:13; Galatians 2:10).
Old and New Testament saints also gave to support the ministry which they received (Numbers 18; Luke 10:1-9; Galatians 6:6; 1 Corinthians 9:1-14). They supported those who ministered to others (Luke 8:1-3; Acts 18:5; 2 Corinthians 11:8; Philippians 4:14-19; 2 John 7-11; 3 John 5-8). Giving to the church goes a long way in helping us facilitate our personal spiritual growth. Supporting your pastor in his duty to serve you is a loving and godly way to respond as a form of gratitude for their commitment to nourishing your spiritual life. It gives the pastor time to focus on prayer and the Word of God without worrying about meeting his family’s needs through other means. The pastor who can meet all his needs through other means can also be appreciated for their service. Paul was very grateful to the Philippians for their support as much as he had learned to work with his hands to support himself in the ministry (Phil. 4:10-19).
Attracts Trust With More
Many people don’t give often because they fear running out of resources and supply. But great givers trust in divine provision and not in their ability (Luke 12:32-33). They believe every word from God’s mouth. For instance, in 2 Corinthians 9:6, the Scriptures say that if you sow sparingly, you will also reap sparingly. It takes faith and courage in God to believe the divine principle that he who scatters shall yet increase and the generous man shall be prosperous and enriched (Proverbs 11:24-25).
The Bible says that those who can be trusted with little are worth being trusted with much (Luke 16:10). God protects what we have from being devoured by the enemy and thus ensures we have more to meet all our needs (Malachi 3:11). God also increases our seeds in the storehouse. The Scriptures say, “For God, who gives seed to the farmer to plant, and later on, good crops to harvest and eat, will give you more and more seed to plant and will make it grow so that you can give away more and more fruit from your harvest” (2 Cor. 9:10).
Here, Paul assures us that if we follow a consistent lifestyle of giving, the Lord will see to it that our storehouse of seed is continually replenished. Why? So we will have more and more seeds to invest, to produce more and more fruit. God does not give to us so we can live in luxury and ease while the rest of the world goes hungry, but so we will have more fruit to give away to meet the needs of others. That’s the Christian lifestyle: giving and receiving, being blessed to be a blessing, prospering for the sake of all those in need. The Bible further says that if we honor the Lord with our possessions, our barns will be filled with plenty, and our vats will overflow with new wine (Prov. 3:9-10; Prov. 11:24-25).