Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Catechism #41

Q. What are tithes and offerings?
A. Tithes and offerings are how the body of Christ gives back to the Lord; the tithe refers to ten percent of all income, and offerings are anything over ten percent.

Does God really need my money?

That’s a perfectly logical question. After all, He is the creator of everything, and He owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10). Why would God want our measly money when He is the King of the Universe?

Deuteronomy 15 and 16, as well as Malachi 3, give us the command to tithe, but that is not limited to just the Old Testament. Luke 6:38 says, “Give, and it shall be given to you.” Romans 12:13 says, “Distribute to the needs of the saints.” Hebrews 13:16 says, “Do not forget to do good, and to share.”

Those verses are just a sampling of the command to give. The tithe was used to support the Levites (the original priests), build the Temple, take care of the widows, and eventually to pay the pastors. The tithe today does those things and more, like distributing Bibles, funding missionaries, running busses, and countless other ministries and programs. 

Aside from the command, there is also a condition. We need to give the right way—with a right heart. We give sincerely: 2 Corinthians 9:7 tells us, “God loves a cheerful giver.”  We give secretly: Jesus instructed to not let your left hand know what your right hand gives (Matthew 6:3-4). We give safely: Jesus said we are storing our treasure in heaven, where moths and rust do not corrupt, and where thieves do not break in and steal (Matthew 6:19-21).

So what’s the catch? There isn’t one. The Bible is clear that if we give the right way, we will be rewarded. Listen to what God said through the prophet Malachi:

And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.
Malachi 3:10

Luke 6:38 says when we give it will be given back to us, “good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over.” This may not be a dollar for dollar reimbursement, but in God’s economy, it will be worth it.

The Law commanded the giving of the tithe, or ten percent. That is literally the least we can do. Offerings go above and beyond ten percent. Are you being obedient to give God a tithe of your income? Perhaps you should pray and ask God if He is pleased with your giving, or if He wants you to do more.

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