Last weekend, in our series Keeping Up With The Jones’, I talked about the first of 2 Principle Keys to Having ENOUGH. In Luke 16, Jesus led the charge in letting us know that if we are faithful in the little of God’s everything, that true riches would be put into our hands. It is those true riches that produce a prosperous soul (3 John 2).
Jewish scholars say that because those that were sitting at Jesus feet were Hebrews (Jews), they had common understanding that He was speaking of the Tithe. They were proud of their heritage of being children of Abraham. For them, Genesis 14 speaks of Abraham honoring God with 10% (Tithe) of spoils of war by giving it to God’s original priest, King Melchizedek. Abraham was faithful with the little of God’s everything.
The New Testament also speaks of Christians as being children of Abraham. If Abraham was faithful in the little (10%) of God’s everything, our heritage is to be faithful in the little (10%) of God’s everything in our lives.
Whether the Tithe is a new principle to you or one that you’ve heard about all your life, it is important to know that the Tithe is not a “work to earn” principle that will condemn or gain approval with God. The Tithe is a principle of loving and worshiping God in that we recognize that He is the one in our life that gives us everything. Our proving to Him that He is at the forefront of everything we gain in life. The Tithe is an action bringing benefit that generates a purity and quality into our life.
Hopefully you have read Malachi 3 by now. If you have not, I encourage you to go do that; I’ll wait on you...
Now that you have done that... Know that the whole heart behind the Tithe beginning with Abraham in Genesis 14, continuing into the Law (Leviticus; Numbers; Deuteronomy) to Malachi on into the New Testament is to honor God and love Him with everything.
Wherever you are in knowing what the Tithe is all about, let’s start where we are right now. You do not need to backtrack in you life to find where you have not given 10% to God. It is simply to repent (change your mind/heart), ask God to strengthen your understanding and commit to being faithful to His Word concerning the Tithe. Pleasing God is always about looking forward, exercising faith, and watching Him love us and demonstrate His Word!
Tithe is a Bible word meaning: the tenth; one tenth or ten percent (10%).
Here are some questions that arise when I teach on Tithing:
Do I Tithe on the gross of my paycheck or what I bring home after withholdings? In Genesis 14:20 ...And he (Abraham) gave him (Melchizedek) a tithe of all... (emphasis mine). The answer seems easy but sometime hard to do at first. Tithe of all is the total of the take home (gross).
What if I own a business? I don’t get a paycheck (per se). How do I tithe?
Most businesses know their profit/loss quarterly or at least by the end of the year. When you have a profit that is the spoils, Tithe on your gross profit.
Where do I Tithe?
Quick answer: Tithe where you receive your spiritual food.
Long answer: In Bible times, the priests of God did not have land and animals and their job was to minister to God and minister to God’s people. The people in the community would bring their Tithes to the Temple to honor God, which was God’s way that the priests would have their physical needs met as ministers of God. When the ministers of God are taken care of they can do their God given job of bringing spiritual food to God’s people. Malachi 3:10 says, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house...” To bring means that we have been given that responsibility. He’s not going to automatically take it or neither is your spiritual leader. The Tithe is our responsibility. The storehouse was literally the central treasury of the House of Worship (Temple) in Jerusalem. Since there is no Temple in Jerusalem in the New Testament it has been distributed to ministry organizations (churches, missions, field ministries). Many ministers will say that the storehouse is your local church. I don’t deny that the local church is a storehouse, but there are field and mission ministries, etc. that are storehouses of spiritual food that people need. In the temple there was first spiritual food and there was also physical food. At N3C we don’t have a physical food storage area but I cannot tell you how many grocery store gift cards we have placed into people’s hands. For most people their local church feeds them but if a TV ministry or a field (traveling) ministry feeds your spirit it is okay to Tithe there.
I can’t afford to Tithe money... Can I Tithe my time through serving?
Anywhere you read in the Bible about the Tithe (tenth, one-tenth), it describes material goods. Never is time and/or serving mentioned as a suitable Tithe. The Tithe is directly linked to monetary or material gain. Some people say, “I cannot afford to Tithe...” We have to start somewhere. God cannot prove Himself if we cannot trust Him to prove Himself. We cannot afford NOT to Tithe!
God is a God of more than ENOUGH! He wants us always to have ENOUGH both physically and spiritually. God loves us so much that He provides everything we need with abundance because wants your neighbor (Jones) to know how much He loves them. When we will love God with everything we have/are and love our neighbor, we will live a life of ENOUGH and more than ENOUGH!