I was raised in a home where my parents tithed… to the penny, on every cent that was made. Letha was raised in a similar atmosphere. She and I have tithed our entire lives. That means that 10% of everything we have made all these years has been given to God. When I made $150 a week at my first full-time ministry job, I tithed. And we have never been poor. We have always had a decent home to live in, a safe car to drive, could afford medical care, have had plenty to eat, have even had money for some fun things in life.
God has been faithful to us because we have been faithful to tithe.
Tithe means “one tenth”. We cannot give God less than ten percent of all we earn and call it tithe. According to the Bible, here’s how it works: God gets the first ten percent of whatever we make – we give it to the church (the storehouse where it is distributed to meet the needs). Anything above that ten percent is called an offering. At the risk of bragging we personally target giving away over 20 percent of our income though tithing, offerings and charitable contributions.
“Paying tithes” is not an accurate term. This is not like paying the electric bill. Everything we have belongs to God. Tithing is simply giving back the small portion that God requires.
Some people who throw in a ten dollar bill at offering time think they are tithing. Unless they made only $100 that week, they are not tithing. I am amazed that some people give nothing to the church and yet take advantage of all of the ministries that the church offers. How do they sleep at night? The latest statistics show that is costs the average church in America about $2,000 per person attending (not families) to operate a church. It costs a lot of money to operate buildings, provide a staff, support missions, help needy families and provide other programs. Another way of looking at it is: for every person who gives nothing, someone has to kick in an additional $2,000.00. Who’s going to do that? And who really wants someone else doing that for them? The result is, churches are almost always pressed for enough money to operate effectively.
This article is not guilt motivated but I’m sure it will make some people feel guilty. The point is, God can do more with the 90% He leaves you than you can do with 100%. Do you trust God or not? Are you willing to be identified as one who steals from God? (Malachi 3:8). I guess a bigger point is: God blesses obedience.
Go ahead and take the leap. Give God the first 10% you make. I have NEVER seen a true tither in financial trouble. I have seen them need to be frugal with resources but I have NEVER seen a tither homeless.
People of Maranatha Church: fair warning – you will be hearing more about this in the near future. But I’m not going to tell you when. 🙂