2 Cor. 9:6-7
"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."
First of all, let me just say that what we are going to look at must be important because God explicitly tells us to remember it. And secondly, that it is something true, both in the natural and in the spiritual realm . . . what you reap is directly related to what you sow, what you get out depends on what you put in. We all want to be blessed. Therefore, if we are practicing God's principle, we all should want to bless others. We all want to live abundantly. Therefore, if we are practicing God's principle, we all should give abundantly.
When we talk about giving, the subject eventually comes around to tithing and the giving of offerings. So let's spend a little time defining our terms. So what is a Tithe? Well, the word itself means "a tenth portion." There is a biblical example in Gen. 14:18-20 when Melchizedek, the king of Salem and a priest of God Most High, blessed Abram. Then Abram, recognizing who Melchizedek was, gave him "a tenth of everything;” that is, a tithe.
I have heard people say: "I might tithe if I made more, but I don't have enough to tithe right now.” Sorry, but that's not biblical thinking. The Bible makes it very clear that the tithe doesn't belong to you. -- WHAT!! What do you mean it doesn't belong to me! I worked for it, I deserve it, it's mine! -- Well consider Lev. 27:30 – “A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD” Or consider Mal. 3:8 – “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ In tithes and offerings.”
Here are some biblical truths regarding giving the tithe back to the Lord:
· Give it back at the place where you are being spiritually fed.
· Don't think of tithing as a legal requirement – the practice far pre-dates the giving of the law - it is a matter of faith and faithfulness.
· Understand that tithing is the primary way for you to participate in the economy of God.
So what are Offerings? Offerings are faithful and sacrificial contributions above and beyond the tithe. First, you tithe, and then you can give offerings.
Both tithing and the giving of offerings are important to the Christian life because they are a real and honest way to demonstrate your belief that all you are and have is a gift from God. Martin Luther taught that three conversions are necessary in the Christian life: The conversion of the mind, the conversion of the heart, and the conversion of the purse. He also observed that the last may be the most difficult. On the practical side, your tithes and offerings enable ministries to exist, enable churches to grow, and are God's means to bless you and your family. In 2 Chron. 31:10 we read: “Azariah the chief priest, from the family of Zadok, answered, ‘Since the people began to bring their contributions to the temple of the LORD, we have had enough to eat and plenty to spare, because the LORD has blessed his people, and this great amount is left over.’”
So sow generously and cheerfully and see what kinds of blessing God produces.
--- Pastor Keith Andrews