“The purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your lives” (Deuteronomy 14:23 TLB).
First, Proverbs 3:9-10 gives the promise about tithing: “Honor the Lord by giving him the first part of all your income, and he will fill your barns with wheat and barley and overflow your wine vats with the finest wines” (TLB). God says that if you honor him with the first part of your income, he will bless you financially.
Kay and I decided over 40 years ago that if we’re going to be in debt to anybody, we’re not going to be in debt to God. God gets paid first, right off the top. If I make 10 bucks, the first dollar goes back to him. If I make a hundred bucks, the first 10 bucks go back to him. It all comes from God in the first place, and I want his blessing on the rest of it.
Why does God tell us to tithe? Deuteronomy 14:23 says, “The purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your lives” (TLB). God doesn’t need your money, but he wants what it represents: your heart. He wants you to trust him.
Where should you tithe? Do you tithe to United Way? Or do you tithe to your brother who’s been out of work for three years? No. That’s charity. Tithing is an act of worship. It goes to God.
Malachi 3:10 says, “‘Bring to the storehouse a full tenth of what you earn . . . Test me in this,’ says the Lord All-Powerful. ‘I will open the windows of heaven for you and pour out all the blessings you need’” (NCV). The storehouse is the temple or the place where you worship God.
When are you supposed to tithe? You do it on the day you worship. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 16:2, “On every Lord’s Day each of you should put aside something from what you have earned during the week, and use it for this offering. The amount depends on how much the Lord has helped you earn” (TLB). When you give to God on the first day of the week, the first part of your day, and the first part of your money, you’re declaring, “You’re really number one in my life.”
Notice that the verse says to “put aside.” You’ve got to plan this! Tithing should not be an impulsive thing. You’ve got to plan for it so that you are honoring God’s plan and purpose for tithing. Then you can watch how God blesses and uses you and honors his promise in your life.
THANKFULNESS OPENS THE DOOR to My Presence. Though I am always with you, I have gone to great measures to preserve your freedom of choice. I have placed a door between you and Me, and I have empowered you to open or close that door. There are many ways to open it, but a grateful attitude is one of the most effective. Thankfulness is built on a substructure of trust. When thankful words stick in your throat, you need to
check up on your foundation of trust. When thankfulness flows freely from your heart and lips, let your gratitude draw you closer to Me. I want you to learn the art of giving thanks in all circumstances. See how many times you can thank Me daily; this will awaken your awareness to a multitude of blessings. It will also cushion the impact of trials when they come against you. Practice My Presence by practicing the discipline of thankfulness.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
PSALM 100 : 4
Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 THESSALONIANS 5 : 18
Wise People Look Ahead
Many people in life start out well but they end up poorly because they don’t plan for the pitfalls. But the Bible says the wise man looks ahead.
We all face pitfalls as we make plans for our future, such as cultural distractions, voices of doubt, tempting shortcuts and discouraging delays. Just take a look at Noah. He had pitfalls after God told him to build the Ark. But he overcame them. And you can too.
Now, this doesn’t mean God will give you the goal of building an ark, but I pray he’ll give you a BIG goal for your next ten years.
The Bible says we’re wise to look ahead and make plans. By doing that, we’ll not only be prepared to spot the pitfalls when they come into our lives, we’ll also be prepared to apply the antidote to the pitfalls of life. As the Bible says, only the fool fails to look ahead.
Ask God to help you establish goals for the next decade of your life. Then you’ll be ready to learn how to handle the pitfalls that potentially could keep you from getting where God wants you to go.