My wife and I have been married for a little over 3 years now. We have a very healthy and handsome son who is 9 months old, cutting teeth, and ON THE MOVE! We are fortunate enough to have loving family that have supplied us with a very cost efficient house to start our family in, and we have bills and debt just like most everyone else.
Every two weeks, we both receive paychecks from our employers and every two weeks, we decide which bills need to be paid immediately and which ones will have to wait.
Through all of this deciding, affording, and stressing, the incredulous thought continually creeps up…
“we can’t afford to tithe this month.”
Admittedly, there have been many periods where we either haven’t tithed or we’ve given less than 10% in fear that we wouldn’t be able to pay necessary bills or even afford enough food or gasoline to make it to next pay period.
Being the hedonistic race of control freaks we are, we start to justify our disobedience to God’s word…
“well, most everyone else is tithing, so the church will go on without my two hundred bucks this month.”
“I help out with children’s ministry and I continually buy games and markers and other supplies and sacrifice my personal time…. That will be my tithe this month.”
“I don’t even know where my money is going when I tithe anyway! I’ll pray about it and tithe next time.”
“that sermon wasn’t very on point today…im not paying for that.”
This list could go on and on, but I will stop there.
All things considered, those few excuses listed are exactly that, excuses. Marriage simply brings even more excuses and fears to the table though…Paul was right when he said of those who married, “you now have to be focused on things of this world…”
Before I was married, tithing was never an issue. There were even times I completely emptied my wallet into the offering plate because I felt God calling me to do just that and trust Him. However, now married, a Father, and striving to provide for my family, emptying my wallet into the plate almost feels like signing a certificate of doom. Images come across my mind like dropping my money into the eagerly awaiting mouth of the sand-pit creature, from Star Wars VI: Return of The Jedi, while Sith Lords (collection agencies) impatiently await a payment or else taste the wrath of Darth RJM Aquisitions. My wife on the other hand see’s visions of Purses, shoes, vacations, and all of the other fun things we could buy and do with our “hard earned money” that WE have worked so hard for. To just turn around and give away a big portion (10%) seems ridiculous.
Part of belonging to a body of believers though is supporting that church. God set this model up for a reason and it goes much further than 10%.
Two kinds of giving are taught consistently throughout Scripture: giving to the government (always compulsory), and giving to God (always voluntary).
New Testament believers are never commanded to tithe 10%. Whoa….wait….what??!?!? Yeah, look it up.
Matthew 22:15-22 and Romans 13:1-7 tell us about the only required giving in the church age, which is the paying of taxes to the government. Interesting fact though, most Americans presently pay between 20 and 30 percent of our income to the government–a figure very similar to the requirement under the theocracy of Israel in the old testament.
There is a GUIDELINE for giving to God and His work though….
“Now this I say, he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully. Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.”
There’s an old story of a king who went into his village to greet his subjects. Wandered through the streets and as he was doing that he came across a beggar sitting by the roadside. The beggar eagerly held up his little alms bowl, sure that the king would put in something of value for him. Instead the king looked down at him and made a most unique statement. He asked the beggar if he would please give him something?
Taken aback the beggar fished around and found three little grains of rice and dropped them into the king’s hand. Well as the legend goes, at the end of the day when the beggar poured out what he had received, he found to his astonishment at the bottom of his bowl three grains of solid gold and he wished he had given the king everything.
The world will tell you that if you want prosperity, hold on to everything, hoard it, accumulate it, save it, invest it. That’s how to increase your riches and guarantee your future prosperity. God’s plan for prosperity, on the other hand, calls for you to give your money away. That’s right. Sow greatly and you will reap greatly. Sow little and you will reap little. I don’t merely mean in monetary gain either. Remember the end of 2 corinthians 9:6 there…” for God LOVES a cheerful giver.”
The first thing that comes to you when you give generously is love from God. I cannot imagine a more precious promise than that…to be the special object of God’s love for my giving to come in the sphere of a special and unique love from God. I can’t think of anything more wonderful than that…all the riches of this world, all the achievements of this world, all the prestige, all the accomplishments cumulatively put together in one package would not mean nearly as much as some special affection from God Himself.
Allow me to sum everything up…whenever we think “I can’t afford to give…” the reality is, you cannot afford NOT to give. Everything we have is from God, so really, how much of HIS money are we willing to keep? Will not God take care of His children?
We recall matthew 10:29-31…29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.[a] 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
GOD WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU!! GO FIGURE!
We who bear the name “Christian,” need to live like it, and show it first and foremost, by loving God’s blood bought bride the church.
Live. Love. Change the world.