In my opinion, a humble one, every Christian should, actually must, experience the miracle of tithing early in our walk with Jesus. If you have not experienced this miracle, its time you do, really. You may be thinking… I can’t tithe, I’m unemployed, or my salary does not even cover my normal living expenses, how can I tithe? Please please please don’t worry, continue reading. If you have already experienced this miracle of God, then read on and make a point of sharing your tithe testimony with someone who does NOT tithe, even with a non believer, yes, prepare to be surprised.
The word tithe is from an old testament order, however it is based on an enduring principle of God – to give, which we see displayed in the NT gloriously. In both old and new testaments, people didn’t just give 10 percent…they gave a lot more when you add it all up. How does it work then? Simply, you give one tenth of your produce. That’s the total before tax divided by 10, (you keep 9 parts and you hand over 1 part to God). By the way, in addition to giving a tenth, OT people also had to give variety of freewill offerings, but we’ll talk about blessings from freewill giving another time. Today however, for most of us, our produce is our salary.
Traditionally tithing is taught as “you, giving to the work of the church”. That’s ok, but it is helpful to understand it differently, so you can experience the miracle of tithing. Now, let’s see tithing as “giving in faith” to God. You may think there’s no difference, in fact there is, its huge. As a child, I remember my mum saying that children should give their first salary to her parents, to show appreciation, and trust that the parents would give it back in love and admiration. Well I couldn’t stop laughing….why give my own salary, that I worked hard for, to my parents, just for them to give it back??? When I earn my first pay packet, I struggled in my thoughts about handing it over. I don’t think I did. At the time, I couldn’t see, to be honest, I didn’t want to see, what my parents did to make sure I could have a career and earn a good salary. My money was my money!! But thank God I learned.
Back to giving as an act of faith. According to apostle Paul, faith is the belief in an outcome, in the absence of any evidence, that the thing we hope for can be achieved. Therefore when you give a tenth in the faith that God will look after you and your family, you have no “evidence” this will happen, just your belief or faith. This is more challenging for people whose net salary before tithing doesn’t cover even household expenses. This is the miracle waiting to happen in your life. Keep these words in mind, seek 1st the kingdom of heaven and all these things will be added… Encourage yourself to take the chance (its not really a chance, its a promise), as God himself says, test me!
Trust me, I know how difficult it is to give up money earmarked for other things, but I guarantee you, just be obedient and you will not believe what will happen to you every month.
A fear to tithe in full to God, may be a manifestation of a greater problem. A common problem really. A problem in planning our finances. In my early walk, I never included the tithe amount in my expenses calculations. So I was always looking to give the extra, after expenses. But there was never any extra. Now, my tithe is the first standing order from my account!! Recently, a close friend lost his job and was having the expected financial issues, I gave him the recipe for success – tithing. He said in a blunt voice, my income doesn’t even cover my expenses, don’t you understand. I replied, I do and repeated the simple solution. Many months passed, then I noticed my friend was smiling all the time. He’s still unemployed, his expenses are still more than his income, but he’s smiling. He told me the story, his son asked him, dad how are you coping with these bills…his reply was simple…put God first and don’t be afraid to tithe. By the way, my friend isn’t a committed believer.
Here’s how you solve the bigger financial challenge. If you have not set “faith goals” for your family, this is the first task. A few years ago John Star explained faith goals brilliantly. See if the CD is still available. A faith goal is something you choose to trust in God to accomplish in your family. It could be a small or big thing – a house, salvation for someone, good grades, a job with salary to cover all expenses (inc tithe), anything. The key is that you decide to trust God to provide your desires. In 2007 my family’ faith goals included our son securing grades for a university place and a new house. By the end of 2008 we achieved every item on our list. The cynical minded would say, many families who don’t believe achieve the same things. There’s a big difference. When I put a problem to God, I no longer have to worry about it!! Without God, we have to rely on our own initiatives, ingenuity, cunning, wouldn’t you prefer to just simply allow God?
Now, calculate how much money you need to manage the family finances per month. Don’t leave out anything. Include your tithe in the total. This must have been what Jabez did. To ask for an enlarged territory, he must have understood his current holding to the detail.
So, you have your faith goals and you’ve calculated your income requirements, a big question for you now. Ponder before answering… If you were “the best” at your job in the organisation where you are now, would you earn the increased income you require? If you were the “very best” at your job in your industry sector, would you earn your income needs. We sometimes forget, God has called us to be the best at what we do, by doing our best unto HIM. So through the holy spirit be relentless and restless at being the best in your work and you will see how miraculously GOD will be true to HIS own promise and add all these things onto you. Now being the best is different from working hard. Being the best is about high skill levels and serious competence.