Saturday, May 30, 2015

Devotion: Offering Time

A lot of discussion in the body of Christ on this topic of “tithing” has left many questions as to what should and should not be done.  Webster defines “tithe” as “one tenth of the annual produce of one’s annual income, paid as a tax or contribution to support a church or its clergy; a tenth part.”  Tithing is the practice of giving ten percent of one’s increase to the Lord.

“Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine” (Proverbs 3:9).

We are to give honor to God with our substance or our very wealth and possessions as well as with the firstfruits of our increase.  As you read further the rest of this verse, you see that those who obeyed this command had an increase; they had their barns were filled with plenty and their presses burst with new wine.  While we do not trade in the same commodities or the same ways as they did in those days, the basic principle stills applies to us today.  Tithing is the process of giving the first-fruits of the increase that you receive.

“Will a man rob God?  Surely not!  And yet you have robbed me.  What do you mean?  When did we ever rob you?  You have robbed me of the tithes and offerings due me.  And so the awesome curse of God is cursing you, for your whole nation has been robbing me.  Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so that there will be food enough in my Temple; if you do, I will open up the windows of heaven for you and pour out a blessing so great you won’t have room enough to take it in!  Try it!  Let me prove it to you” (Malachi 3:8-10 TLB)!

In order to rob someone of something would mean that the something that was taken must already have belonged to the person it is taken from.  No one can be robbed of something that doesn’t belong to him or her.  Therefore, these tithes and offerings that are spoken of here must already belong to God.  In addition, we see that basic principle being applied here, even though we again do not trade in the same commodities or the same ways as they did in those days.

This basic principle we are talking about is the principle of “seedtime and harvest or sowing and reaping” that principle which God established that says, “For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).  We know that this principle applies to the words we speak as well as the things we do, where our words and actions are like seeds being planted in the ground that produces a crop from which we reap a harvest, be it good or be it bad, depending on what we have sown.

“But remember this—if you give little, you will get little.  A farmer who plants just a few seeds will get only a small crop, but if he plants much, he will reap much.  Everyone must make up his own mind as to how much he should give.  Don’t force anyone to give more than he really wants to, for cheerful givers are the ones God prizes.  God is able to make it up to you by giving you everything you need and more so that there will not only be enough for your own needs but plenty left over to give joyfully to others.  It is as the Scriptures say: “The godly man gives generously to the poor.  His good deeds will be an honor to him forever” (II Corinthians 9:6-9 TLB).

There are those that believe that if they give away their money they won’t have anything left for themselves.  They have no faith in the scriptures, fearing that if they give away their money, they will not have enough to survive.  They struggle to make sense of what they see and what they think they know, believing that they have to take matters into their own hands.  Reality says that it is a major undertaking to make it through life with the money that they have and they can’t believe that they are expected to give some away and are required to live on less.  Jesus validates this principle in the following scripture.

“Give, and it will be given to 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” (Luke 6:38 NKJV).

Jesus assures us that we can count on the principle of “sowing and reaping.”  This principle works, and it works the same way for everyone.  Give and you will receive.  Not only will you have enough for yourself, but the more you give, the more you'll be given.

“It is possible to give away and become richer!  It is also possible to hold on too tightly and lose everything.  Yes, the liberal man shall be rich!  By watering others, he waters himself” (Proverbs 11:24-25 TLB).

The more you sow into the kingdom of God the more you will reap from his kingdom.  Many don’t believe in the principle, but just because you don’t know about or believe in a thing has no bearing on how the thing works.  Many have problems with giving away their money and with tithing.  They find all kind of excuses why they should not give their hard-earned money away.  To them it makes no sense to give away what they consider theirs.  Look at this way: We go out to eat and afterwards will give a total stranger (a waiter/waitress whose only job is to serve us our food), a fifteen (15) to twenty (20) percent tip because we don’t want them to think bad of us or it’s the politically correct thing to do, but we won’t give God the 10 percent that he is due.  He has never raised his rates.  They have remained the same since the beginning.  And to beat it all, when we are in trouble, we do not call the name of that stranger (waiter/waitress) to help us, we will call on the Lord.  Now that is something to ponder.

We pray that our inspirational message will be a blessing to you as well as informative.  If blessed by this message, please share so that others may be blessed as well.  Amen.

Enjoy your blessings. - KW

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