If you can’t give it away, it has you.
Pastor Eli kicked off a new series with the sermon “It’s Not About the Money." He encourages, challenges, and teaches us on the biblical perspective of tithing and money. Tithing is not a new concept to most. It derives from the Old Testament and existed even before the law. We see it in Genesis with Abram.
“Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.” Genesis 14:18-20 (NIV)
The tithe is one tenth of what we have given back to the Lord. It’s one of the most important ways we can show our gratitude and reverence to Him. The tithe helps us remember God. Everything you have was never yours in the first place—it’s all been freely given. It is HE that leads, sustains, and satisfies you.
“You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” Deuteronomy 8:17-18 (NIV)
Giving financially is not an action to get God’s provision, but a response to His position as provider. As we will read over and over again in the New Testament, we don’t earn anything. And we don’t deserve anything on this side of heaven. It is all freely given. We don’t tithe or give to receive—that’s completely backwards.
““No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24 (NIV)
When we trust wealth more than God, we make wealth our God.
If we look at some important pieces of scripture, we see that it’s not money itself that is evil. Money is a tool. It’s the heart of the person—God is always after our heart. If something other than God has our heart, he will always ask for it because he knows where our heart sees true fulfillment (and that’s in Him only). In Mark 10, we see Jesus do exactly that.
“As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. 'Good teacher,' he asked, 'what must I do to inherit eternal life?' 'Why do you call me good?' Jesus answered. 'No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.' 'Teacher,' he declared, 'all these I have kept since I was a boy.' Jesus looked at him and loved him. 'One thing you lack,' he said. 'Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.'” Mark 10:17-21 (NIV)
Jesus saw straight to the issue. It wasn’t the wealth; it was his heart position towards his wealth. Jesus wanted his heart. He was asking for a display of his faith.
“At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, 'How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!' The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, 'Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.'” Mark 10:22-25 (NIV)
This man did not see his blessing as an opportunity to be a blessing. He did not see that God was trying to get something to him and through him, not take away. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we get to be a light to those around us by using the blessing in our lives to be a blessing to those around us.
If we are open to the Holy Spirit promptings, we will play a part in something bigger.
“Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.” Ecclesiastes 5:19-20 (NIV)
If we continue to see tithing and giving as a hindrance, that is what it will be. To live life with our hands grasped and withholding, is slavery. All that we have received is a gift from God, and where we see freedom is in living a life of giving freely. God loves a cheerful giver. If you are simply giving because someone told you so or because you think someone is watching, it’d be better to not give at all. Remember, God is after our heart. He knows deeply what truly sets us free. What is on the other side of your giving freely?
Lives transformed, yours included.
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