“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this says the Lord Almighty and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” Malachi 3:10
As a church we obey the biblical command to tithe, so 10% of all offerings that we receive in we give out not only in response to that which God tells us to do, but we see the tithe as seeds for the growth of the kingdom of God in other areas. Hopefully everyone in Bethel was aware of the fact that if we receive tithes biblically we would also tithe out biblically. If you were not aware of this I hope you feel particularly pleased that your own giving is not only supporting the work of this church but is also having life-changing effects the world over.
In the book of Acts, Jesus speaks about the disciples being his witnesses in “Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” This can be seen as seeds that we, the people of God, sow into peoples lives becoming like a stone dropped into a pond creating the ever-increasing circles effect. As individuals that make up the church that meets at Bethel, we have daily opportunities to impact people’s lives on a local level by the things we do and say (Jerusalem). Sometimes we get the opportunities to spread the Word farther afield (Judea and Samaria) but rarely do we get the opportunities to individually go to the ends of the earth for God. Through the tithes that we send to people or organisations locally, within the UK or abroad, we are fulfilling Jesus’ words to be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and the ends of the earth.
Tithing is not God’s way of getting his people to give, but it’s God’s way of opening up a channel through which he can bless the giver. It is true that you can’t out-give God, and as a giving God it is his desire to continuously pour out his blessings on his people. Giving 10% of our income back to God is a way of us constantly reminding ourselves that all we have has been provided by the Father and focuses us on the realisation that our job as Christian people is to give away the goodness of God and so to reap the blessings that he puts into our lives.
The way we give is an expression of the depth of gratitude we have towards the Father who has given us his son Jesus to be our saviour. When God spoke through the prophet Malachi he said that our tithe did two jobs at the same time
- Allowed God to open the windows of blessing to us
- Allowed God to ‘rebuke the devourer’ who seeks to destroy our lives
When we give to God we are putting in motion an unending circle of blessing and protection because we cannot out-give God. He sees our obedience and love towards him in our tithe and in response he blesses. As we are more and more aware of God’s blessing in our lives it prompts us to give more in gratitude, and in response God blesses. The biblical law of sowing and reaping comes into effect and that law is started or prohibited by our initial willingness to obey God and tithe.
The writer of the UCB notes, Bob Gass, quotes ‘Tithing isn’t the church’s way of raising its budget, its God’s way of raising His children.’
May the ever increasing presence and power of the Holy Spirit of God in our lives help us – the called out children of God – to love him, worship him, obey him and live for him.