Listen: 67 Question 1

The subject of tithing or giving is largely misunderstood today.  Many of today’s so-called prosperity preachers teach that we can buy God’s favor, and get rich if we donate money to their ministries or churches.  Let’s read Luke 6:38 which says, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”  This has been used to encourage people to give.  The thought is that by giving to a particular church or ministry, you will get back much more than you gave.  This makes giving a very profitable investment.

Actually, this verse is in reference to giving to the poor.  We learn in Proverbs 28:27 that, “He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.”  This is not necessarily a promise of receiving money in return for giving money.  Acts 20:35 says, “I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  Giving to help others is an important part and privilege of the lives of believers on the Lord Jesus.  We receive joy and blessedness when we attend to those who are truly in need.

Let’s read 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, “Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.  For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.”  The Apostle Paul commended the believers from Macedonia.  Even though they were going through a time of financial strain, they still gave money to help their brethren in Corinth.  Most importantly, Paul notes that they “first gave their own selves to the Lord.”  It is too easy to give money to a church, or assembly, but not to really commit ourselves to the Lord.  These from Macedonia not only gave money, but they first committed themselves to the Lord.  What a reward awaits those who give their lives and finances over to the Lord to be used as He sees fit.

Now let’s look at 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 which speaks of us giving our money to the Lord.  It says, “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.”  The amount of giving is not specified here, but it teaches us that we are not to give grudgingly, or feel like we are being made to give.  To give to the Lord is a privilege.  Remember, the Lord doesn’t need our money; He already owns everything, but in His grace, He allows us to show our love for Him and care of others through our giving.  The amount is left up to the individual, but we do learn that if we sow sparingly, we will reap sparingly.  To sow, or give, sparingly is an indication that the heart is far from the Lord and our concern is keeping our money for ourselves, despite the needs of those around us.

So, if we give sparingly, that is an indication that we are really not in the right spiritual condition to receive the blessings of the Lord.  When we withhold our money, it shows we are consumed with our own desires and wants.  I’m reminded of the words of Jim Elliott, the Christian missionary who was killed by those he was trying to minister to in Ecuador.  He said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”  The eternal blessings we gain when we freely and cheerfully give to the Lord cannot be compared to the few dollars that we give up as an offering to the Lord.  I encourage you to pray about what the Lord would have you to give.  We read in 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”  We should give according to how the Lord has prospered us.  We cannot all afford to give the same amount.  However, the blessings of the Lord will come to those who give cheerfully according to how the Lord has blessed him financially.  However, may we be careful to give ourselves to the Lord first.  When we do that, we realize that giving is a privilege, not a get-rich-quick scheme.