Monday, December 2, 2019

Giving like it's not yours ... because it's not.

I've heard said that the tithe represents the ultimate "heart test" for the believer. When things are tight (or when we perceive things are tight - as "tight" is a matter of perspective when you take a step back), giving 10% seems a tall task. I mean, there are bills to pay, kids to support, and ends never seem to exactly meet. Sometimes there is far too much month at the end of the money.

But thinking of the tithe as just another "budget item" comes from a complete misunderstanding of who provides our time, our talent and our treasure in the first place. And it reflects a gap in understanding of the concept of "first fruits". I'll explain:

Let's say I hand you five $20 bills and say, "Would you mind holding this for me?" Aside from looking at me strangely, you'd assume you were just holding that $100 for a short period of time and would expect to hand it back to me once I returned. Following so far? But, what if I came back and said, "Hey, tell you what ... why don't you keep four of those $20 bills and just give me one $20 bill back?" You return 20% and get to keep 80%. Pretty good deal, eh? I mean, it was never yours in the first place, right?

This is how we are to view EVERYTHING we have: our money, sure, but also our talents and our time. That's because - in actuality - it is time, talent and treasure handed to us personally by God who says, "Would you mind holding this for a minute?" It's ALL His ... not just some of it. And when we really believe this to be true, it's only logical to not only give God some of it back, but to give THE BEST of it back. This BEST is called our "first fruits".

This is worship.

This is acknowledgement of our blessings - knowing from whence they come and then showing it.

This is only right.

And God does not ask for much. He asks for 10% ... to begin, at least. But those who have taken that step of faith have seen God bless that act of obedience. And this stirs them on to more obedience. Many who have been on this path of obedience have converted to what they call a "reverse tithe": they give 90% back and only keep 10%. "How is that possible?", you say. The answer is simple: With God, all things are possible. With faith and trust in Him, you can move mountains.

And it gets better. With every additional step of obedience past 10% ... with every act of giving past 10%, God doubly blesses your life. This is not "prosperity gospel" I'm preaching here. This is reality - an unbeatable return on our investment of our time, talents and treasure that comes in the form of the same: time, talents and -often times - treasure. Now? Sure, in this life, but more importantly in the life to come.

Where are you on this? Do you have faith that moves mountains? His Word does not return void, and He is faithful to deliver on His promises. Do you believe Him?

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