Abiding in Joy

Speaking of our life in Christ, and His purposes on earth

Archive for the month “January, 2014”

How would things change if all believers were to tithe?

Last week I began a series of posts on the subject of giving.  It is surprising how quick some Christians throw up excuses for not giving, especially for not tithing.  One excuse I occasionally hear is that the Church really doesn’t need everyone to tithe. ” God may lead some people to tithe (usually those richer than ourselves), but it is really not necessary for all of us.  Churches are doing fine without more money.  And a lot of churches are probably not spending it properly anyway.”  Those making such excuses are missing the purpose of giving.  It is not that God needs our money. It is not for His benefit that we give.  The benefit goes to us!  Giving, especially tithing, teaches us trust in God.  It teaches us that God is really the owner of all that we have, and that we are His stewards.  It helps to loosen the grip that our money and possessions have on us. The intangible benefits are difficult to describe to those who have not embraced a life of giving.  But even if the Church doesn’t need more money, and even if we assume that not all of it is being spent as we would like to see it spent, we should still give back to the Lord.  And, as the Scriptures tell us so clearly, God promises to take care of all our needs and to bless us abundantly as a result.

But let’s talk about how tithing does help the Church.  I recently read an article in Relevant Magazine that asked this question:  What would happen if all believers were to tithe?  This is not a totally unrealistic possibility if we really believe all that His Word says about His blessing being upon those who are faithful in giving.  According to the study reported in this article, it is estimated that if all believers tithed, then there would be an additional $165 billion  each year for churches to use and distribute for the sake of the Kingdom.  The results would be amazing!

According to this study……

      >$25 billion could relieve global hunger, starvation, and death from preventable diseases in five years.

      >$12 billion could eliminate illiteracy in five years.

      >$15 billion could solve the world’s water and sanitation issues, specifically at places where 1 billion people live on less than $1 a day.

      >$1 billion could fully fund all overseas mission work.

       >$100 to $110 billion would still be left over for additional ministry expansion!

These figures do not include the offerings beyond the tithe (because many tithers begin to give more after seeing how God showers grace on them).  These figures do not calculate how God’s blessing would cause many to prosper, and therefore, have more to give.   And these figures also don’t include all the new Christians coming into the Kingdom as a result of the Church doing what it is supposed to be doing!

It has always been God’s plan that His people would be the ones who would bless the world.  Sadly, we have left this responsibility to the governments and humanitarian organizations of the world.  Usually this has not been successful.  In some cases, it has been disastrous.   Corruption and selfishness usually contaminate the best of intentions of governments and secular organizations.  What if the Church were to begin being faithful in the area of giving?  God, who promises to multiply what we give, would be glorified around the world!  

Where does it start?  It starts with ordinary people, most of whom don’t have a lot to give, beginning to step out in faith.  They believe God’s Word is true for all of us….all of the time!

The Joy of Giving

I am in the process of writing a Bible study guide called, “The Joy of Giving”. For the next several weeks, I plan to post some thoughts and conclusions from this study on the topic of Biblical giving. I realize that giving is not taught that much in churches today, and I also know that it is increasingly becoming a taboo topic. We all have heard people talk with disgust about a certain church or pastor talking too much about money. Some say that is one of the biggest problems of the Church. There certainly has been much abuse in the area of solicitation of money. However, I could argue that not talking about giving (that comes from the right heart) is one of the biggest problems facing the Church today.

We all know that many churches are financially struggling today due to a decrease in giving. It has also been reported that the Church in America is giving about half of what it did 20 years ago to foreign missions. I know that we have just gone through the Great Recession. But there was greater faithfulness to giving on the part of the Church during the Great Depression than there is today. The reality is that a careful study of giving in the Scriptures shows that the overall spiritual health of God’s people is directly tied to their financial generosity. That is why we can no longer ignore teaching on the topic.

God promises to bless those who give. We live in a world where “taking” is much more popular that “giving”. People flock to books and seminars that tell us how we can get more out of this world. Most of the developed countries of the world today are embracing an “entitlement” society where everyone is trying to get as much as they can out of their governments. There is a spirit of “taking” today that will eventually destroy us. This same spirit is creeping into the Church. Churches find themselves competing against one another trying to present the best package of programs to draw people. People are more concerned about what they “get” from church than they are about what they are giving. Jesus said it clearly, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

Note just a few things that happen as a result of giving:

The windows of heaven will open and be poured out upon us with blessings that overflow. Malachi 3:10

Our barns will be filled with plenty. Proverbs 3:11

Blessing will pour into our laps. Luke 6:38

Grace will abound to us, so that we will have abundance for every good deed.
II Corinthians 9:8

Our seed for sowing will be multiplied. II Corinthians 9:10

The harvest of our righteousness will be increased. II Corinthians 9:10

We will be enriched in everything. II Corinthians 9:11

What Christian would not want to be blessed in such ways as just described? And these are just a few phrases mentioned. A more careful study of these and other passages reveal even more clearly that we have been called to be a people with God’s heart to give in every situation, to be generous with our time, with our resources, and with our money. How can we not speak up for this very important truth in God’s Word? Not doing so will only continue to allow the Church to drift away from the power and fruitfulness that God intends.

One reason giving is so important is that it is at the heart of the Gospel message. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. The disciples of Jesus were called and taught how to give, to serve, and to bless others. I believe that financial giving, especially in sacrificial ways, often becomes a gateway for God to work deeper inside of us and to transform us to be the selfless servants He desires to use in the world today.

I encourage everyone to begin to study afresh what His Word has to say about the benefits of Biblical giving. It doesn’t take experienced Bible scholars to understand these passages. God has made them very clear. And I encourage pastors and teachers not to shrink back from speaking boldly about these truths!

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