As Christians, there are a lot of things we can struggle with when it comes to our faith. Some of us have a hard time believing we are justified by faith, so we work hard in serving the Lord, perhaps believing the works of our hands will add to our righteousness. Others might look in the mirror and find it hard to believe that God could love them. Many still, may find themselves caught up in their circumstances thinking today is the day that God will not provide. Indeed, our faith is often tested the most by our financial state. How then, should we look at an issue like tithes and offerings? Wasn’t tithing something from the Old Testament used to feed the priests who had no other jobs? I’m going to review some Scripture on tithes and offerings today and see if it’s applicable to us today.

Malachi 3:10 is the verse to look at if you’re wondering about tithing. Pastors and preachers the world over will turn to this verse, and the promises within, as an encouragement to tithe. Unlike some other verses about tithing, this is very straightforward. At the time, the people weren’t trusting the Lord so they were withholding their tithes and offerings. Therefore, God tells them, “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 NIV). While all of the promises of God are incredible this one stands out because it’s the one place in the entire Bible where God tells us to test Him.

Let’s think about this for a moment. God, the creator of everything, is telling us to do something so He can prove who He is. Even though Deuteronomy 6:16 tells us, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test” (NIV), He’s telling us to test Him in giving and see how many blessings He’ll give to us.

When we study the Bible, it’s not good practice to take one verse and build an entire theological argument around it. Since we’re talking about Malachi 3:10, and the issue of tithes and offerings, let’s take a look at some other verses and see what they have to say about giving.

In Luke, Jesus is talking about judging, condemning, and forgiving other people.

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”

Luke 6:37 (NIV)

After Jesus says this, He also says, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38 NIV). This is another verse I’d say that is popular when it comes to tithes and offerings. However, how do tithes and offerings fit within the context of judging, condemning, and forgiving other people? Jesus is telling His disciples that they ought to be known for their generosity and not for the critical type of attitude found in other people like the religious rulers of the time.

We can be generous with a lot more than money, and Jesus talks about this too, in Matthew.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill, and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy, and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.

Matthew 23:23 (NIV)

We can see here that the condition of our hearts matters more to God than what we do with the money we have. However, how we spend the money we have can often reflect the condition of our hearts. These religious rulers thought they were right with God because they gave their tithes and offerings to Him. However, they withheld love from their hearts only giving money because the Law told them they needed to give.

The Apostle Paul tells the Corinthians to, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (2 Corinthians 9:6 NIV). Furthermore, Paul adds that “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7 NIV). Sometimes we might not get as clear a picture of what the Bible says because there are a lot of metaphors around planting and harvesting and most people don’t do this anymore. When you plant a bunch of seeds you’ll have more plants than if you plant fewer seeds. While this is a practical and natural mechanic, we see the blessing of God on the practice of giving, because He loves someone who cheerfully gives.

One element I’ve not yet touched upon is the notion we have that our possessions, our money, and everything else that we think of as “ours” really belong to God. Scripture tells us, “The silver is mine and the gold is mine” Indeed, “every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills” all belong to God (Haggai 2:8, Psalm 50:10 NIV). Some of us, when we were children, were given money to buy gifts for other people. Others might follow a similar practice with their own children. Can you imagine being given one hundred dollars, or giving out one hundred dollars, to buy gifts and only having ten dollars of gifts purchased? God is far more gracious with us. He gives us everything we need, and then some, and we quibble over giving 10% of that back in tithes and shudder about giving more in offerings.

When I first became a Christian, the idea of tithing was foreign to me. However, so were a lot of other notions like not trying to save my life but giving it up for Christ. Over the years, I have found a lot of blessing from the giving of tithes and offerings, because the issue of giving isn’t about money. It’s about the heart, and my heart is thankful for whatever the Lord has given me.

Do you know God? God knows you and He loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, right now, and He wants you to know Him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, be freed from death, and live eternally with Him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.