by Julia Bruce
Think about your emotions and motives this past Sunday as the offering plate was passed at church. How did you feel about placing your tithing envelope in the plate? Or maybe you passed it on to the next person without giving anything. What about when your pastor preaches a series on stewardship? Do you stay home on those Sundays? What about when the church leadership team wants to start a building campaign or they ask for additional funds to send to missionaries?
It is not uncommon for people to get very “touchy” when the subject of money comes up. It can be easier to give when there is plenty of income left after expenses, but for some it doesn’t matter how much is in the bank, they really don’t want to give it to the church. They might give it, but its for the wrong reason. Instead of being a cheerful giver, giving becomes obligatory. What about when you’re living paycheck to paycheck? Sometimes we want to give, but the money just isn’t there and if we do give it, there isn’t enough for groceries or the light bill. Instead of being a cheerful giver, giving is more of a burden.
For some people, they have never really been taught the principal of tithing and don’t understand that God tells us to tithe. Or maybe they know it, but choose not to. If you fall in this category, then I’d like to point you to Malachi 3:8-10. In these verses, God accuses the Israelites of robbing Him. But they didn’t see how they were guilty and asked, “How do we rob You?” God’s reply was, “By not making the payments of the tenth and the contributions.” So choosing not to tithe is not only a sin, but it is also robbing God. (click to tweet)
Maybe you want to tithe, but you just don’t have 10% available to give, but you give what you can. Maybe it’s only $5 or even just $1 – but if the giving flows from a heart of love for God and His Church, then our giving becomes an act of worship – and that is why God loves a cheerful giver. (Click to tweet) If you find yourself struggling with the ability to tithe, remember the story found in Mark 12:41-44:
“Sitting across from the temple treasury, He watched how the crowd dropped money into the treasury. Many rich people were putting in large sums. And a poor widow came and dropped in two tiny coins worth very little. Summoning His disciples, He said to them, “I assure you: This poor widow has put in more than all those giving to the temple treasury. For they all gave out of their surplus, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she possessed—all she had to live on.”
It really doesn’t matter how much you give. It can be all you have or 1% of what you have. God knows the motive behind your giving. You can be the biggest tither in the church, but if your motive isn’t right, you’re tithe does not please God. You can tithe out of duty and grumble about it and your tithe would be about as accepted by God as Cain’s was in the book of Genesis. If you attempt to hold your tithe “hostage” to get the church leadership to do things the way you want, God doesn’t honor your tithe either. Instead as soon as the money is placed in the offering plate, we need to release any feelings of ownership and realize that it was God’s in the first place. We need to not have a mindset that we gave to the church — but that we gave back to God out of the provisions He has blessed us with. Rather than tithing out of a sense of duty or obligation we need to envision how every dollar we give goes to the ministry that God has called the church to fulfill, which includes saving the lost, ministering to those who are hurting, sending the good news of the gospel around the world, feeding the hungry, and so much more. The mission of the church is huge so as we give we should ask God to take the money we give and multiply it just like the five loaves and two fish. The boy who gave his lunch didn’t give money, but he gave everything he had and Jesus blessed it and fed more than 5000 people. He can do the same with the tithe that we give.
If tithing does not bring you joy, you need a different point of view of what the tithe is. It is basically giving God 10% of your earnings through your local church. However, it is also more than that. God, who is entirely self-sufficient, does not require our money to sustain Him in any way. Acts 17:25, Psalm 50:10-12, and Romans 11:35 tell us that He is not “served by men’s hands, as though he needed anything.” God does not need out money. Instead, it is about trusting God to meet our needs and worshiping Him as we joyfully give back to Him out of what He has provided.
We can be cheerful givers when we trust God and believe that he will supply all of our needs (Philippians 4:19). Tithing should be an expression of a heart that trusts Him with providing for our finances and needs – even when the numbers don’t add up. All of us experience ups and downs with our finances, but we can trust God to provide for our every need. Because we trust Him, we give to Him first – before we pay the bills, buy the groceries and give the kids an allowance.
When can be cheerful givers when our giving becomes an act of worship. When we reflect on what Christ has done for us on the cross, our giving should be a natural response to His gracious gift of salvation and be an expression of our love and devotion for Him as we willingly and joyful give back to Him from what He has blessed us with as we give him praise and thanksgiving for what He has provided. When we see tithing from this point of view we can all be cheerful givers.
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Julia is CEO of Wellspring Christian Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people and couples develop a passionate relationship with God. A public speaker, conference trainer, event planner, and blog writer, Julia is a two-time graduate from Grand Canyon University with a bachelor in Psychology and a masters in Professional Counseling. Saved as a child and raised in church and in a Christian home and private Christian School as a Pastor’s kid, Julia has taught Sunday school, led music, played the piano, served as Children’s Director, and engaged her gifts in many other areas of church life. Previously employed with the Florida Baptist Convention, Julia organized events and led conferences for church ministry assistants.
Julia enjoys sharing her journey as a growing Christian with others looking for a deeper connection with God. Through Bible study and her own life experiences, God has given Julia a passion to help couples understand God’s design for marriage while they learn to place God first in their marriage, cultivate meaningful relationships, build intimacy, and address the tougher issues that come in every marriage so that they can experience a marriage that honors and glorifies God. Julia also loves mentoring, teaching, and working with women to help them learn to live as Godly women.
With her history and experience growing up in both small and large churches, Julia enjoys bringing top level quality events to churches of all sizes. Her father largely pastored small churches and therefore she understands that these vital parts of the believing community need to be good stewards of the resources God provides them with. This knowledge inspires her passion for being available with a fresh perspective for those who want to provide their congregations with meaningful spiritual growth opportunities.