"As soon as the order went out, the Israelites generously gave the first fruits of their grain, new wine, oil and honey and all that the fields produced. They brought a great amount, a tithe of everything."
"...Since the people began to bring their contributions to the temple of the Lord we have had enough to eat and plenty to spare, because the Lord has blessed His people, and this great amount is left over."
When your pastor gets up and says he's speaking about generosity or about giving, what do you do? Roll your eyes? Mutter, 'here we go again?' Or maybe fold your arms and settle in for a bit of a nap? Sadly, those are not unusual reactions to a message on giving. But in my estimation, the problem is not that pastor's talk too much about money. The problem is that they have to do it at all.
The solution to financing the work of the kingdom of God is so simple it's ridiculous. All God's people giving a minimum of 10% of their increase or income would radically change the impact of the gospel and the church in our world, just like it did in Hezekiah's day when they re-instituted the service of the temple.
And what was the key? Simple obedience. The bringing of the first fruits - a tithe (or tenth) of everything. Their obedience resulted in so much resource that there were literally PILES of extra resources that allowed them to store against the future and also distribute to many, many others who were in need.
I'm not a pastor any longer, so I don't have the same pressure of having to resource the local church. Thankfully, even when I was, God was faithful to meet our needs and while we taught what Jesus and the Bible says about money and about generosity, we never had to beg and plead. The frustrating part was always the 'what if' conversations we would have. What if every committed follower of Jesus would put this tithing and generosity principle into practice? How much could we do if this happened?
I'll tell you something, even though I'm no longer a pastor of a church, as a Jesus follower, I am just as invested in this message as ever. Why? Because God commands it. That's first priority. We should do it because it's right! The secondary result is that when we obey what God commands, there He also commands blessing. And not just for you but for the work of the kingdom as well!
But if only to be pragmatic, think about this. If everyone simply did what God asked, the impact would be absolutely mind blowing. Current statistics show that around 20% of Christians faithfully and fully tithe to the local church. The rest are tippers. They give a little here and a little there or more as they feel moved by a specific need.
If everyone simply did their part by giving the minimum 10%, there would quite literally be PILES of money left over. Money that could be saved ahead for emergencies and plenty more to support world missions and to bless other ministries like the one I lead.
This is God's way. And it's a good way. It will work if we just do it. So do it. Give your tithe to your local church. And if you can be generous beyond that, do that too. Paul in the New Testament talks about being generous - not just doing the bare minimum (2 Cor. 9:6-15). This is what my wife and I have committed to do, sometimes when it wasn't as easy as it is now. We have done it when it was a sacrifice and a bit of a faith stretch—when we honestly thought we couldn't afford it. I want you to know we have never regretted being faithful with our giving for a moment. God has always provided and even blessed us in so many ways that we have been amazed. And if you are faithful, He will be faithful to you in the very same way.
"Lord, thank you for providing all that you have given us. All we have is yours. You've created all that we see, including us. You give us the breath and the strength and the ingenuity to work and make an income and all that You ask in return is that we bring the first fruits of our increase, a tithe, for Your work. Lord help us to obey." Amen