Bible Background: In the Old Testament the Israelites were commanded to give 10% of whatever income they generated to God. This income was used to run the temple and support the ministry of the priests and Levites (Deut 14:22-29). In the New Testament a 10% tithe is not commanded but proportional and generous giving is encouraged (2 Cor 9:6-8). In Luke 21:1-4 Jesus singles out a widow for giving a small but generous donation of all she had to live on rather than the wealthy who were giving large gifts out of their abundance. It’s not about the dollar value, but the generosity and attitude of the giving.
Getting Personal: If you looked at all the money you have spent over the last 3 months you would quickly see what your values and temptations are. Whatever our hearts treasure is where our money goes (Matt 6:21). The temptation for all of us is to look to something other than God for our security. This could be anything from bank accounts to food to shoes to housing. God is after our hearts and our trust. Because our money follows our hearts, if we give God our hearts, the money naturally follows. It is so easy for our hearts to grasp onto money that giving it away becomes an essential discipline to release our hold on money. When we give money away we are saying to God “I trust you to take care of my needs.” (Matt 6:25-34)
God Math: we all (hopefully) know that 1+1=2. However with God 1+God= infinity. When Michelle and I first started out in marriage we had bills to pay and not a lot of money coming in. After dipping into savings we figured we would have just enough to cover our expenses for the year. However, at the end of the year there was money left in our accounts that logically should not have been there. We still cannot explain it. That’s God math. We see God math over and over in the Bible. Jesus multiplies one lunch into 5000 lunches (Matt 14:13-21). God multiplies one day’s bread into bread for many days (I Kings 17:7-16). Gideon and 300 soldiers defeat an army of tens of thousands (Judges 7). When we give generously to the kingdom of God, we release that money or resource into God’s hands to multiply it. There are two challenges here. You must let go of your finances and you must give something to see God math at work. The biggest thing I find when I tithe is that it releases my temptation to greedily hold onto what I have. Literally everything I have has been given to me by God. Who am I to greedily hold on? A preacher at Crossroads years ago said “I’d rather have 90% that is blessed by God than 100% that isn’t."
If you feel God calling you to be generous, just like the old Nike slogan goes “Just do it.” God will not let you down. He will supply what is needed. By giving generously you are investing in people’s lives. The body of Christ functions together. When you give generously to the kingdom of God, you are making an investment in eternal things (R.C. Sproul). When you give to God, God math takes over. Try it out. It’s not always easy but in the long run you won’t be disappointed.
Until next week,