Summary: Encouraging people to take the next step to tithing.
Task: To help God’s people make this the year of their tithe.
Title: Help for Becoming the Tither You Secretly Desire
Time: November 12, 2006
I am so very excited to be able to preach today. I get to proclaim one of the most exciting activities in the Christian life. I get the privilege to share with you something that I consider as fulfilling as anything I’ve experienced in the Christian life. In fact, I place it right up there with my conversion experience. It is quite liberating, exhilarating and fulfilling. I’m speaking about the act of tithing.
Yes. Tithing. I think it’s one of the lost joys of the Christian life. It is a wonderful experience. And yet there is a lot of resistance to it. I can say that because I used to resist it with the best of them. I resisted it well into my third year of full time ministry. I know what’s it like to budget and pay all the bills and see what was left over which was never enough to amount to a tithe. Besides, I needed a few dollars cushion in case something came up.
I know there’s resistance to tithing because of a study by the Barna Research Group in 2002 that reported that 3% of Christians tithed, which means that 97% of Christians resisted (Barna.org). The average American Christian now gives between 1.8% and 2.5% of their income to the Lord. Resistance.
And yet, in spite of that resistance I sense that a lot of Christians really want to tithe. [S] If that’s you, then I want to help you become the tither you secretly desire. And I think a good place to start is by affirming five biblical truths. The person who affirms these truths will be very close to becoming the tither they desire.
[S] Affirmation #1: Affirm what God’s tithe is and is not.
Genesis 28.20-22 reads, “Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father’s house, then the LORD will be my God and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.” [S] And Deuteronomy 14.22 reads, “Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year.” [S]
“Tithe” is literally translated as tenth. In the ancient Middle East when a nation was conquered in war, the people of the conquered nation had to give the conquering king one tenth of their possessions. Under King David and Solomon a tenth of ones income became the standard national tax for Israelites (1 Samuel 8.15-17). Israelites were also expected to give one tenth of their crops, produce and cattle, etc., to the Temple to support the Priests and the religious life of the nation.
A tithe involves giving one tenth of one’s income to the Lord. But, that’s not what every Christian has been taught. I had a conversation with someone the other day who told me they tithed. But then said, “I don’t give ten percent, but I tithe every week.” That person had been taught that tithing was about giving on a consistent basis regardless on how much it was. For example, they have been taught that if a person makes $2,000.00 a month and gives $50.00 a month faithfully to the Lord, that they were tithing. That’s a myth. A tithe for a person making $2,000.00 a month is $200.00 a month. [S] If it’s a tenth it’s a tithe. If it’s not then it ain’t.