As we discussed last week, our giving is just a barometer of what’s going on inside of us. If we use our money to help others, it reflects what’s going on inside. It’s not only a reflection, but our giving also impacts us as well.
I. Guiding Principles.
A. God owns it all. If you make $500 per week, how much belongs to God? $500! Everything we own belongs to Him. Psalm 24:1 states “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it”. Our lives are not our own, they belongs to God. If we think that God is the owner, this will be reflected in how we give.
B. We are stewards and managers, not owners. In the Bible, when someone was a steward, it was more than just being a manager…they were trusted and they were motivated by being dependable. Some day, stewards must give an account.
C. Our giving (returning) is to God.
II. How should I give? It’s important to discuss how to give before we discuss how much we should give.
A. Give first to God. To counter the inbred nature to give to ourselves first, we should give to God first. Proverbs 3:9 states “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops.” If we don’t give to God first, then there won’t be much left over. 1 Corinthians 16:2 reminds us to give on the first day.
B. Give a predetermined amount to God. See 2 Corinthians 9:6-11. It’s important that we decide and not give out of compulsion.
C. Give proportionally to God. Oftentimes, this is expressed as a percentage. How much we give is to some degree related to our income.
D. Give to God where you are a partner. Our main partnership is at our church. This is where we should serve, do our outreach, and give money. This does not mean that we should not give to others, but our church should be the main place. See
III. Should I tithe? A tithe means a tenth.
A. Tithing in the Old Testament.
Cain, Abel, Noah, and Abraham all made sacrifices to God. Abraham was the first to give a tithe. See Genesis 14:17 – 20. Jacob also gave a tenth. See Genesis 28: 20 – 22. Tithing was an act of worship. See Leviticus 27:30. Other verses on tithing include Numbers 18:21, Deuteronomy 14:22, and Malachi 3:7-12. When people started to drift away from God, they stopped tithing. When they came back, they started to tithe again.
B. Tithing in the New Testament.
Tithing is not talked about much in the New Testament. There are only a few brief references. In Luke 18:12, a person goes to give a tithe. In Luke 11:42, Jesus states “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God.You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.” Then, he goes on to say that it’s ok to tithe, but Jesus stresses the importance of mercy. There’s not a lot mentioned about tithing in the New Testament; therefore, some people wonder if Jesus did away with tithing. Does the law have any value for Christians anymore? We know that the law is still valuable, and to some extent, Jesus set even higher standards. The law says don’t commit adultery, but Jesus says don’t lust. The law says don’t kill, but Jesus says that we should not hate. If we look at the practices of the churches in the New Testaments, they gave out of extreme poverty and sold what they had to give to others. Some also sold themselves into slavery to feed other Christians. They were very generous. In 1 Corinthians 9:13-14, Paul mentions that preachers should earn their living from the church.
C. Tithing and the Christian.
Should a Christian tithe or not tithe? Each one should decide. There’s an overall thrust in scripture that points in the direction of tithing. We are under a system of grace now, where God wants us to give from our heart and not out of a command. God wants us to be generous. If you give to God, he will take care of you. See Luke 6:38. Philippians 4:19 states “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” It comes down to a matter of trust. Our giving reveals how much we trust God.