Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Prove The Tithe

In the month of August we will be placing the emphasis on an often overlooked and neglected Christian discipline. The concept of Tithing. The “tithe” means the “tenth”. It refers to the first 10 percent of our crops – our income – or as the Bible says, “Our increase”. The concept is that the tithe belongs to God. It is His, and it should be returned to Him. Those who withhold the tithe are literally “robbing God”! (Mal. 3:8)

Some people (usually those who do not practice tithing) are quick to say that tithing is a requirement of the Mosaic Law and therefore does not apply to us in the age of Grace. It is true that Tithing was required under Jewish law, however, a study of the subject shows that tithing was a grace practiced by believers in both Old and New Testaments. An outline I have used on the subject goes like this:

Abraham Commenced It – (Gen. 14:20)
Jacob Continued It – (Gen 28:22)
Moses Codified It – (Lev. 27:30-31)
Malachi Commanded It – (Mal. 3:10)
Jesus Commended It – (Matt. 23:23)
Paul Consecrated It – (1 Cor. 16:2)

The fact that tithing is expected from believers is not debatable. It is a Biblical concept and is an act of Grace, Love, Honor, and Obedience to the Father. Many of our members practice this discipline. Some do not. Some have said that a former pastor suggested “If you can’t give 10%, then start with a smaller percentage”. I would respectfully disagree with that advice. God says we rob him by withholding the tithe from Him. Tithing is simply and act of love and grace that every Christian should practice. 10% is the same for everybody, rich or poor. It is an equal standard for all. There was a time many years ago, when Linda and I felt that we couldn’t afford the 10%. We learned quickly that we could NOT afford NOT to give back to God that which is His.

The fact that the Bible teaches tithing is a no brainer. In Malachi 3:9 God reminds His people that they and their nation were cursed for robbing God. But I want to go a little farther and remind each of us that the Bible tells us there are unsearchable blessings in store for those who do give God what is His. Look at Malachi 3:10-12 and see the challenge and the promise that God lays out for those of us who will practice this grace:

“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this," Says the LORD of hosts, "If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. "And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field," Says the LORD of hosts; "And all nations will call you blessed, For you will be a delightful land," Says the LORD of hosts.”

Notice the challenge, “Try me now in this…”. This is the only reference I find in the Bible where God challenges US to put HIM to the test. Do you want to enjoy the fullness of your walk with God? I would suggest two simple concepts. Be filled with the Spirit, and Prove the Tithe. If every member of the church practiced tithing, the job of our Budget and Finance Committee would be much easier. Our obligations would be easily met. We would not need have any “Ketchup (catch up) Sundays”. Our youth group would not have to take on endless fundraisers to pay their way to camps and mission trips. As our church giving increased, our proportionate giving to missions would also increase.

Will you be willing to “Prove the Tithe”? I challenge each member of Westmoreland Baptist Church to do just that in the month of August. Give God back what is His. Give Him what is right – not what is “left”. I promise you, on the basis of the Word of God, that you will be able to live better on that 90% of your income than you do on the 100%. You can’t out give God! You will be blessed. Start preparing now for “Prove the Tithe Month”.

(PS. You’ll also keep that “robbery” thing off your spiritual rap sheet!)

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