For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21)
I was always the first to sigh when a church leader started talking about tithing or giving. I knew it was necessary for operations, of course, but wasn’t there a way to be more subtle? To not outright ASK and make it uncomfortable? The longer their talk, the more I squirmed. I wondered how I could leave without it looking strange to everyone else.
God wants us to give. But He wants this to be a natural reflection of what is in our hearts, versus something we do because we “have to”.
There was a Rich Man mentioned in three different Gospels of the New Testament. When he asked Jesus what he must do to go to heaven, Jesus gave him a list. It included avoiding sins that we’ve all committed-lying, dishonoring our parents, etc. The Rich Man quickly said that he had avoided all of those already and what else? So Jesus gave him the finale: “get rid of all you have, give it to the poor and come follow me.” The Rich Man was upset, and he turned down the opportunity for eternal life.
His treasure was his priority. Sadly, he refused to give it up.
I’m quite sure his treasure is no longer important to him.
God also asks us to give the first ten percent of what we earn back to him via tithing. When I obey this, I remember clearly whose money it truly is. It isn’t mine. It never was. With this act of humility, I am:
- acknowledging that I wouldn’t have the money if it wasn’t for Him in the first place
- returning some to Him what is already (and always was) His
- showing my gratefulness that He provides for my needs
- helping a cause that I care about and helping people and programs continue to grow
- being obedient
If we are obedient, God provides for our needs. I’ve heard many examples of people who have not tithed and struggled with making ends meet and when they begin to tithe, God provides what they need and, on some occasions, more than what they need.
He blesses obedience.
I no longer sigh when someone at the pulpit teaches about giving. I listen with an open heart, knowing that needs are being presented. And I thank God for the reminder of one of the ways that I am to show my love to Him and to others.
If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land. -Isaiah 1:19, NIV
For I am commanding you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, statutes, and ordinances, so that you may live and increase, and the LORD your God may bless you in the land you are entering to possess. – Deuteronomy 30:16, NIV