Enjoy this strongly Biblical & practical approach to giving back to God a portion of His blessings to us presented by Economics Professor, Fred Ruppel:
I am an economics professor and a “numbers” person. “Numbers” may not be a spiritual gift, but it is a gift, indeed! When we were taking a “newcomers class” about two years ago, I told the group and our pastor that I was a “numbers” person. About six months later he asked me to consider being church Treasurer. At that point I reminded him of my “numbers” comment. His response to me was one I will remember forever. He said, “Fred, it’s not about your numbers; it’s about your heart.”
That’s my bottom line today: Giving is not about numbers; it’s about your heart.
So, today’s topic is “giving”. In particular, I will talk more about tithing than anything else.
Why do people have difficulties with giving/tithing? I see four or five reasons:
1. Insecurity; Lack of faith; Failure to believe
2. Covetousness: “I want…”
3. Personal control: Unwillingness to acknowledge a higher authority.
4. They see it as their money, not God’s
5. History / Traditions around them
1. Supporting God’s work: Missionary work, outreach, ministries
Acts 4:32 – 35, “…Not one of them claimed that anything of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. …brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet”
2. Providing for church workers: Pastor, staff and office
1 Corinthians 9:14, “ … those who proclaim the Gospel should live from the Gospel.”
Galatians 6:6, “…let him who is taught in the word share … with him who teaches.”
3. To support the needy
Romans 15:26, “…Macedonia and Achaia to make a contribution for the poor at Jerusalem.”
1 Corinthians16:1-3, “Now concerning the collection for the saints,… On the first day of the week, let each one of you save, … that no collections be made when I come. I will send whoever you approve with letters to carry your gracious gift to Jerusalem.”
James 1:27, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
Acts 11:27-30, “…Agabus stood up, and indicated … that there should be a great famine all over the world, … As any of the disciples had plenty, each determined to send relief to the brothers who lived in Judea…”
The TITHE as the standard; more on that later
Jesus had nothing “good” to say about tithing…
1. Luke 11:42, “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb…”
2. Matthew 23:23,“…and have left undone … justice, mercy, and faith.”
3. Luke 18:12, The Pharisee and Publican: “I fast twice a week. I give tithes of all that I get.”
Alternatives to tithing
1. Rich young ruler (Luke 18:18-23) “Go and sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
2. Widow’s mite (Luke 21:1-4) “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all the others; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”
3. First fruits (Exodus 23:19) “The first of the first fruits of your land you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God.”
(Nehemiah 10:35-38) “And we made ordinances to bring the first fruits of our ground, and the first fruits of all fruit of all trees; …also the firstborn of our sons, and of our cattle, … and the firstlings of our herds and of our flocks, to bring to the house of our God, unto the priests that minister in the house of our God; and that we should bring the first fruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage.
Tithing began before the Law was given at Mt. Sinai
1. Genesis 14:20, Melchizedek; Read Hebrews 7:1-9
2. Genesis 28:20-22, “Jacob said, “If God be with me, …I will surely give the tenth to You.’”
Tithing in the Law
3. Leviticus 27:30-32, “”And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s. It is holy unto the Lord… And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, of whatsoever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to the Lord”
4. Numbers 18:21,26 “Behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel as an inheritance in return for the work which they perform, the work of the tabernacle of meeting.” … “Speak thus to the Levites and say to them, ‘When you take from the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them as your inheritance, then you shall offer up a heave offering of it to the Lord, a tenth of the tithe’”.
5. Deuteronomy 14:22-29, “You shall surely tithe all the increase of your seed … year by year. … the tithe of your grain, of your new wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and of your flock; that you may learn to fear Yahweh your God always. …The Levite who is within your gates, you shall not forsake him; for he has no portion nor inheritance with you. …you shall bring forth all the tithe of your increase in the same year, and shall lay it up within your gates; and the Levite, because he has no portion nor inheritance with you, and the foreigner living among you, and the fatherless, and the widow, who are within your gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that Yahweh your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.
6. Deuteronomy 26:12-13, “When you have made an end of tithing all the tithe of your increase in the third year, which is the year of tithing, then you shall give it to the Levite, to the foreigner, to the fatherless, and to the widow, that they may eat within your gates, and be filled. You shall say before Yahweh your God, ‘I have put away the holy things out of my house, and also have given them to the Levite, and to the foreigner, to the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all your commandment which you have commanded me’”.
7. Malachi 3:8-10, “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with the curse; for you rob me, even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try me now in this,” says the Lord of Hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough for you to receive it.”
Tithes and Offerings – The tithe is the standard; Offerings are over and above
Kid cartoon: “How come we give 15-20% to the waiter/waitress and only 10% to God?”
1. Tithe out of your gross income: wages, interest, inheritance
2. Tithe to your church (gifts and offerings)
3. Be regular, according to your paycheck (weekly, monthly)
Moving twords the tithe
1. Where are you now (% giving)?
2. Move incrementally toward 10%.
The Bottom Line:
Luke 6:38, “Give and it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.
IICorinthians 9:6-7, “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”
Malachi 3:10, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try me now in this,” says the Lord of Hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough for you to receive it.”