It’s interesting how different words make you feel. We like words like generosity, sharing, and giving. They make us feel warm and good inside, especially in relation to us. But when we hear the word “tithe” we get ants in our pants, our palms start to sweat, and we find a lump growing in our throat. Especially in relation to us. Why is that? Is tithing just a thing of the past? Maybe it’s just a relic of Christianity’s origins, good for then but not intended for public consumption. Or maybe there’s something more to it. Let’s take a closer look at tithing and grace giving.
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes,” says the Lord of hosts. “All the nations will call you blessed, for you shall be a delightful land,” says the Lord of hosts. Malachi 3:10-12 (NASB)
What do we know about the tithe?
Tithing is a way of life.
Tithing was interwoven deep in the foundation of Israel’s way of life. It was not legalism, but liberation. In the tithe, we acknowledge everything we have is from the Lord. We are posturing our life and everything in it at His feet.
Your tithe is the firstfruits of your labor.
We give our tithe as the firstfruits of all God has allowed us to earn. It isn’t an afterthought or the leftovers at the end of the month, but an expression of faith in God before anything and everything else. It isn’t a tax or a membership fee. Rather, it’s an act of stewardship whereby we thank the Lord for the 90% by giving Him back the 10%.
Tithe means 10 percent.
The definition of the word “tithe” is a tenth portion. In the Old Testament, it was the first tenth of the products of the land, whether plant or animal. Today we no longer measure wealth by livestock or produce, so we give a tenth of our earnings back to the Lord. It is the foundational discipline to being faithful with my finances.
God invites us to test Him.
There is no other place in Scripture where God invites us to test Him. In fact, He expressly forbids us to put Him to the test everywhere but here. Here He says, “just do it and watch Me.” He wants to pour Heaven’s blessing out over us. He wants the world to see how He blesses His people.
Tithing is Basic Training in God’s economy.
Tithing is not only God’s invitation to blessing, it is His way of training us for His economy. The economy of generosity. The habit of tithing trains our hearts to be generous givers. It keeps us postured before God, acknowledging Him as Lord and Master. And it opens our hearts just as He opens the Heavens and pours His blessing over us, extravagantly.
Exploring Grace Giving
If everything we have is God’s, where does giving end?
Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you. Deuteronomy 16:17 (NASB)
And from the New Testament:
Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; 2 Corinthians 9:7-8 (NASB)
Life and more life.
If tithing is a way of life, Grace giving is His abundant life spilling over out of us. Here there is only life and more life, grace and more grace. We give because He is good.
Beyond the firstfruits.
With the tithe, we express our trust in God with our firstfruits. Grace giving is above and beyond our firstfruits. In it we stretch our spiritual muscles and trust God with more and more of our earnings. We move beyond the voluntary discipline of tithing to giving freely.
Giving in response to His Grace.
We have tasted and we have seen the Lord is good. He has given us all His best in His Son and His Spirit. He has given us His Word and His Life. We give because He first gave to us. We cannot contain the grace He gives us, so we cannot help but give more.
Grace giving is walking in faith.
When we move beyond giving only our tithe, we express increasing faith in the Lord. We are trusting Him not only with the first 10% but more and more of the remaining 90% as well. We know the reality is it is all His from the beginning anyway, and we loosen our grip on what’s already not ours, in faith.
Out of the generous overflow of our hearts.
As we grow in grace and He grows His generous heart in us, we give abundantly. He pours out His extravagant blessing in our lives and opens our hearts to give and live generously. We have graduated out of Basic Training and into His overflowing life.
Stakeholders in God’s Economy
The dividends of grace giving and generous living are without end. He is just waiting to open the windows of Heaven and pour His blessings over us. He longs to see our hearts thriving in His economy of generosity. So, should a New Testament Christian tithe? Well, it’s the beginning of all His best in your life, and it doesn’t end there. There is so much more. You tell me.
Join us Sunday morning as we continue to discover what it means to be Faithful in the Little Things, the first part in our #orbcFIT series. Contact Us to learn more about tithing and grace giving or for service times and location.