Summary: God promises to provide when you give to Him.
Giving to God
The Building Blocks of Financial Freedom – Part 1
I want to start a new series today about “Financial Freedom.” I will spend this week and next week on the positive and negative sides of finances. Today I want to talk about giving to God. Next week, I want to talk to you about how to get out of debt. So, you can look at today as preventive medicine before you get the financial flu, and next week is the medicine you need to take to overcome the financial flu that is called debt.
I will honest with you today and tell you that I am going to talk to you about money. I want to teach you about a concept that some of you may not have heard. I want to talk to you about giving to God. Money is the most difficult thing for people to give to God. Christians even have problems giving to God. We see that right here in this passage. You have a group of people who believed in God, yet they had turned away from God. God addresses them and calls for them to come back to Him. The indicator in these verses that proves that these people had turned away from God was that they had stopped giving to God.
GOD SAYS: You have broken your relationship with Me. You have not followed what I have asked you to do. God calls out and says – Come back to Me.
Perhaps you are one of the people that God is saying this to. Perhaps you have heard about God, but you don’t follow Him. God is saying to you today – Come back to me.
Then God uses very dramatic language when He speaks to His people. The people ask: How can we return to You? God replies with a question: Will a man rob God? Can someone rob God?
It sounds like a strange question especially coming from God. Can someone actually rob God of His money? Well, yes we can. God says this. He goes on to explain how this is done. The people ask: How have we robbed you? God says: You stopped giving to me. You stopped giving of your tithes and offerings to me.
God says that an indicator of your relationship to Him is the way you deal with money. You can give without love, but you can’t love without giving.
There are “Giving Christians” - they obey God
There are “Taking Christians” - they ask God
There are “Stealing Christians” - they rob God
Let us stop for a minute and explain the differences between a tithe and an offering. A tithe simply means ten percent. God gives you a 100% and He asks 10% back. He wants you to live on 90% of what He gives you. The ten percent is just a reminder. It reminds me that everything I have is dependent upon God, not me. I don’t make the money, God makes the money. I just do the work. God gives me the money. The money does not come from my employer, does not come from my parents, does not come from the government. The money comes from God. He only asks for ten percent back.
Objection: I don’t have to pay.
You may say – that comes from the law of Moses. So we live in the age of grace. I don’t have to do what the law requires. Well, actually it comes from Abraham, and that is before the law (Genesis 14:20).
Since as a Christian, we live under grace and not the law, the tithe should be the minimum that we give. Ten percent should be the starting line, not the finishing line. It should be the floor, not the ceiling of your giving. It should be the beginning and not the end.
Objection: I don’t know how to pay.
You may ask – do I give from my Net Income or my Gross Income? I would say that since the government has already taken your taxes, you are left with money that is essentially net income. As a result, the minimum should be 10% of your net income. Now, as God teaches you, you may be convicted to give more. You receive €1000, you give €100.
Objection: I don’t know where to pay.
You may ask – there are so many good places to put the ten percent, where does it go. It goes in the storehouse. The storehouse is where God was ministering or serving to the people. In essence God is saying this: If you are receiving from God here in this church. If what the pastor says encourages you, if what the children’s workers do helps your children, if the worship team prompts you to worship and fellowship with God here, then this is your storehouse. Your church home is where you should give your tithe. Your ten percent should go to the local church. If you are a member of this church, then you are required to give your ten percent here. If you are a friend or someone who likes to worship with us, and you receive spiritual benefit, then God says you should give it here.