Summary: Looking at tithing from an aspect of Worship, Holiness, Obedience, Love and Evangelism
The WHOLE Tithe
I know what you're thinking. He sure talks a lot about this whole money, offering and tithing thing. He must just be another of those money-hungry, hands-always-out preachers. My response to that is -YES! I do believe it's necessary to teach on God's Word regarding the issues of money and giving. I recently heard a pastor comment that the reason he didn't mention tithes and offerings was because he didn't want to offend HIS people. I realize that in this day and age many people are very suspicious of giving to organizations as well as churches. And therefore, many pastors have become more and more timid when it comes to preaching and teaching Biblical principles concerning giving. But my response to their fear is this; So you'd rather offend God than YOUR "people?
You know, the Bible addresses the topic of money more than any other topic. In fact, most Christians are shocked to hear that 2/3 of the parables that Christ used in teaching deal specifically with finances. And the reason for this is simple: He chose a topic with which everyone could relate. In His parables Christ was describing a SPIRITUAL kingdom that is actually more real than this material kingdom. But in order to identify with worldly people He had to use a worldly example: money!
But Christ never said that money or material things were problems. Instead, He often taught that they were the symptoms of underlying problems. This morning, we're going to take a look in the Scriptures concerning the issue of money, and more specifically what the Bible says about tithes and offerings. But before we do that, I think it necessary to first point out that God doesn¡¦t need your money. God isn¡¦t a beggar and therefore I don¡¦t have to beg for Him. God says in Psalm 50, ¡§The world is mine, and all that is in it.¡¨
ILLUSTRATION: McDonald¡¦s French Fry Story - Joshua (my 2 yr old son) said, MINE, concerning HIS french fries. What he didn't realize was that if it weren't for me, he wouldn't have had ANY french fries at all. And the fact was, that although I could buy a whole truckload of fries, I wanted Joshua to learn to share what was given to him.
And so it is with God; Although he owns the world and all that is in it, He wants us to learn to be grateful and share what He has given us for His glory!
If you have your Bibles, please turn with me to the first book in the Bible, the book of Genesis. As we look at this brief passage in the life of Jacob in Genesis 28, please realize that at this point in time, God has NOT commanded that His people tithe.
GENESIS 28:20-22 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 21so that I return safely to my father¡¦s house, then the LORD„T will be my God 22and„T 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.¡¨
In essence, Jacob was saying, because God protects and provides for me I will set up an altar, which we recognize as a place of worship and sacrifice, and return unto God one-tenth what was given to Jacob. Point 1: Tithing is an act of WORSHIP
As I stated, Jacob wasn¡¦t motivated by commandment, law or decree. He was motivated by THANFULNESS and gratitude for what God was doing in His life. When we give our tithe, we are literally saying, THANKS GOD ¡V Thanks for taking care of my everyday needs of food, water and shelter!
Point 2: Tithing is an act of HOLINESS
And just as tithing is an act of WORSHIP, it also is a HOLY act. Leviticus 27:30 is the first scripture where we actually see the ¡§tithe¡¨ terminology. ¡¥A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD. And the word tithe literally means ¡§one-tenth.¡¨
But, isn¡¦t that awesome to know. The fact that when we give our tithe to God, it is received as being HOLY ¡V as consecrated and sacred. No one knows me better than myself. I know there is very little, if anything about John Parker that is Holy. And yet God not only receives my tithe, but He calls it HOLY ¡V a HOLY ACT!
I¡¦ve had many people ask me about ¡§how¡¨ to tithe. How often or when do I tithe? Do I tithe off the gross or off the net of my paycheck. Do I tithe when I receive a gift or an income tax return? Etc¡K