Ever had one of those moments where something hits you and suddenly a lot of things make sense? Some people may call it an Epiphany, while to some it may be a life changing moment, and yet to others maybe it’s just an “Aha!” moment. Well I had one of those last night. It was about something that has been bothering me for quite some time, but after last night it doesn’t. So what is this grand revelation?
God doesn’t want our money. He wants our trust!
With some of the money issues we’ve been having on and off for what seems like for ever, I have struggled with the tithe at time. Most of the time it’s because some bill wasn’t going to get paid, and if we paid our tithes then even more stuff wouldn’t get paid. So, what did I do? I tried to figure out how to make it all work. I tried to find a way to get everything paid, and ended up not just pushing the tithe to the side, but pushing God to the side. I basically kept saying, “God, I can make this work.” Of course there is one huge problem with that way of thinking… it assumes that I can actually make it work.
“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 there will not be room enough to store it.” – Malachi 3:10
Almost every time a preacher talks about tithing I’ve heard this verse quoted. Doesn’t it make you think that if you pay your tithes God will give you something back? That’s how it’s always sounded to me, but I no longer believe that God sees it that way. When read in context, this verse is actually talking to the Israelites who were not providing enough food and money (tithes) for the priests in the temple. This is why the tithe was put in place, so that the priests would have food and the temple would have money for needs. Over time though, it seems to have become the “Christian Membership Fee.” Every month we pay it either because we think we have to, or because we think we’ll get something out of it. That isn’t right though, because even though we may be “giving money back to God,” we’re doing it for ourselves. This brings me right back to my revelation.
I don’t think God wants our money. I certainly know he doesn’t need our money. He’s God, he doesn’t need anything. If He wanted a certain church to build a new building, and there was no other way to get the money, He would have the IRS write them a check. He’s God, He can do that. Of course churches technically do still operate off people’s giving, but if God wants to grow a church, he’ll do it regardless of whether we give. So that being the case, why should we still tithe?
We should tithe because in giving part of our money “Back to God,” we are showing that we trust Him to take care of the things we can’t. Instead of telling God we can make it work, we’re looking Him in the face and saying that we realize there’s no way we can do it without Him, and we are letting him direct how we spend our money. When we budget, we spend our money on what we want to spend it on. When we let God budget, we spend it on what He wants us to spend it on. Don’t you think if God wants you to put your money toward something he will make it possible? Probably so, but only if you trust that he will.
Two more things. There’s a story from the movie “Facing the Giants” that a preacher who prays over the school daily tells the football coach. It’s about two farmers who kept praying for rain so that their crops would grow. One just sat at home and prayed, while the other prayed, and then went out and prepared his fields. Which one actually trusted God, and which one do you think God blessed? When we tithe, we show that we trust God to handle our finances, just as the farmer trusted God to water his field.
Lastly, remember this verse from Matthew:
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” – Matthew 6:26
When in times of need, God will provide. He loves us so much, which he showed by coming to earth as a human, and dying for our sins. There are so many other verses in the bible about how God will take care of his children, and about how much he wants to bless us, so why do we worry? Why do we place our faith and trust in ourselves instead of in the God who waits eagerly to pour out his blessings on us? He doesn’t want our money… He wants us.