Saturday, January 26th, 2013
Show Me The Money (Part 4)
Tithes: The Toll Booth
Then Jacob made a vow, saying, 'If God will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear, and I return to my father's house in safety, then the Lord will be my God. This stone, which I have set up as a pillar, will be God's house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.'
Genesis 28:20-22 (NAS)
Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, 'In what way have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings.
Malachi 3:8 (NKJV)
You knew this devotion was coming. Here's the back story: a friend named Donna Groff helped bring me to Christ. Sometime later she added, 'Carey, tithing is the best kept secret in the Bible.' As a new Christian, I was skeptical.
I remembered sermons about tithing from my B.C. years that made my skin crawl. They were shaming and judgmental. The churches seemed prosperous, and I thought it was just a money-grab. Looking back, I'm not sure. But either way, it doesn't matter.
I was robbing God. Tithing is a deal between Him and me. What the church does with my tithe is a deal between Him and them. They are separate accounts. If they misappropriate funds, I feel sorry for them. 'It is a fearful thing to fall into the Hands of the living God' (Hebrews 10:31).
But between Him and me: if I choose not to tithe from the money He owns, He considers it robbery. Here's the unalterable truth: whatever talent, power, position, income or possessions I enjoy come from Him. It was confirmed by Jesus, the Man, when He said: 'I can of Myself do nothing' (John 5:30).
Giving our Creator the first cut acknowledges His sovereignty. It also demonstrates our humility, appreciation and faith: faith that God will give us back more than we give Him.
Tithing is like a token on the toll bridge of life. God gives us a car, a destination and a mission. He also gives us fuel and provision. He asks for 10% off the top. The remaining 90% He leaves with us. What a great deal!
Everyone understands God doesn't need our money, but He uses it to bless others--to create a self-sustaining economy. His children can care for the poor.
But instead of paying this reasonable toll, 96% of self-professed Christians drive right by God's window--ignoring His Word that says 'Pay.'
The result? Poverty grips our world, and lives that could be full are not--including ours. 'Many are poor because they rob God' (Charles Spurgeon).
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Show Me The Money series.