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Dec3WedDecember 3, 2014
As we return to the heart of worship, tithing is an area that puts most at risk as to whether God is listening or not. This is the big test as to whether you are willing and obedient. It also shows whether you will wait on God. If you trust God you will tithe, it is that simple. I dare say that most are robbing God with their trust and their hearts are far from him. God told Moses Numbers 20:12 “you did not trust in me enough to honour me as holy.” If we are truly to return to the heart of worship, we must tithe. Tithing is another part of worship. I have heard people say I do not have enough to tithe. What they should be saying is they do not have enough faith / trust to tithe. They do not have enough because they do not believe Gods word. There are others who have been faithful in their tithe but have never tested God. Tithing is a heart indicator. Many people ask gross or net. The answer is neither; as behind that question is how much can I keep. Do what you feel honouring to God. If you want to tithe at least 10% on net do it, if gross do it. That is between you and God. Test God sometime and move from Net to Gross. If you have tithed 10% all your life, change it in faith. 1 Corinthians 16:2 “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.”
Many people tithe out of their abundance. Jesus has something to say about this. Luke 21 (The Widow’s Offering) “As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3 “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4 All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” Wow talk about faith and trust. The question has always been how much do we tithe. I just gave you the answer. The rich were tithing probably 10%. The widow tithed 100%. I am sure we can agree on the point Jesus was making. Luke 12 “22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? 27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” 32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” We need to return to the heart of worship because we live in a church culture that is “you of little faith”. Jesus also said, “However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth? Luke 18:8 Is it any wonder that tithing is not where it should be? Tithing is much more than financial as it covers every area of your life. God said he would take care of you, so do you trust him to do that.
Tithing is not fundraising. Malachi is our guide but not for building a building. Many leaders tell their people they are robbing God if they do not give to the building fund. As we talked about earlier, if we give willingly in obedience we will have more than enough for whatever the plan God has for us. (Exodus 35,36) Notice it is God’s plan not man’s plan. Statistically tithing is appalling. So therefore the state of the church is pathetic. This means that most people who call themselves Christians do not understand the magnitude of tithing nor do they trust the Maker of heaven and earth. I came across an article while looking for stats. “Tithers make up only 10-25 % of a normal congregation. Only 5 % of the U.S. tithes, with 80 % of Americans only giving 2 % of their income. Christians are only giving at 2.5% per capita, while during the Great Depression they gave at a 3.3.” I believe the church would never have money issues if everyone tithed. The writer also said, “what would happen if believers were to increase their giving to a minimum of, let's say, 10 %’. There would be an additional $165 billion for churches to use and distribute. I don’t know where that stat came from but it easily makes sense. The writer also said of which I agree, “The truth is: Giving is a heart issue, not a money issue.” If we were to add up how much we spend on ourselves, that too is appalling. Another article I saw said, “that last year, Americans spent $10.7 trillion shopping.” This is not hard to believe as “The National Retail Federation (NRF) forecasts total Halloween spending—including candy, costumes, and decorations—to come in at $7.4 billion this year, $350 million just on pet Halloween costumes.” We could spend all day on our narcissism but the heart of the matter is we are narcissists who happen to attend church. In order for us to return to the heart of worship, we must confess our narcissism and return to honouring our God with our tithe. I agree with your thought. Many churches do not have God’s word at the centre and are basically manmade. If you are at a church that is not honouring to God you may want to rethink that. Remember a church is only a group of people who honour God with their trust. It is not the building. Too many leaders think they have arrived once they have built something with bricks and mortar. Many churches are misusing the tithe and using it for themselves and their plans. I agree, but in the end they will be accountable for every dime wasted. Malachi 3 (Breaking Covenant by Withholding Tithes) 6 “I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. 7 Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty. “But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’ 8 “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty. 12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty.”
I think it would be fair to say based on tithing percentages that North America is withholding their tithe thus we are under a curse. We must turn from our wicked ways of tithing to ourselves, thus making ourselves gods. Just in case you missed it, the beginning point for tithing is 10% not 0%. If you read over Acts 4, 5, you will see how serious the tithe is. Look at how the church was supposed to run. Acts 4:32 “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need. Now read Acts 5:1-16 “3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit. You have not lied just to human beings but to God.” When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died.” It is not about the money, it is about the heart.
Prayer: Please forgive me for not trusting in You enough to honour You as Holy. Are you willing to test God in this? “Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” Just a footnote. This verse does not just mean financial as it speaks to the heart of worship, with our tithing and singing as a part of it. God wants wholehearted worship. God is looking at our hearts.