Did you know that 72% of Americans say they feel stress in the area of personal finances.Did you also know that in the Bible there are 2,300 verses on money, wealth and possessions.15% of Jesus preaching was about those three topics, which is more than faith and prayer combined.This data illustrates how clearly Jesus values tithing and living generously, but we need to break down the difference between the two.Tithing is actually not an act of generosity; however, it is an important step toward living a generous life. In fact it’s not real complicated – Imagine you had 10 pieces of gold, you give one back to God. Some of us have a lot, some of us have a little, but 10% is 10% no matter how much you have. God is saying bring me the first 10%, prioritize me and my work, and watch what I do with the other 90% you live on. I will bless it.Tithing is an act of worship, obedience, and reverence to God. It’s how we show God that He is first in our lives and in our hearts. He is the owner; we are the managers of the possessions he has given us. An important point is to understand that the tithe is not just 10% of our income, but the first 10% of our income. God deserves our first and our best, not what is last and left over. By trusting, honoring, worshiping, and obeying God with the tithe, we are telling God He truly is first in our hearts. In fact, tithing is one of the only things in all of the Scriptures that God actually issues a dare to his people around. And it comes when God gives his people a warning in Malachi.
In Malachi 3:10 it says Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!
But what’s interesting is that it seems Jesus actually expanded on this in the New Testament. Jesus calls us to live filled with generosity in every area of our life.Generosity isn't just about money either, we can be generous with our time, our resources, our talents and more. Even something such as sending a card to someone that is hurting is an act of generosity. It’s all about the attitude or our heart and the mindset we act on what we’ve been given.A great example of this can be found in 2 Corinthians 8:1-5. The church of Macedonia was under extreme trials and poverty. Yet in the midst of this, they were rich in generosity! They gave as much as they were able and, in some cases, gave beyond their ability. They shared with each other and took care of each other. For them, living generous had less to do with wealth and more to do with the attitude in our heart. They gave themselves first to God and then to others.In Luke 10:25-37 the Good Samaritan cared for a man that was near death, and used his resources to help him. He nursed his wounds and paid for his lodging while he healed. He did this all for a person he didn’t even know. He showed compassion and used his resources for the benefit of another person.Living generously is not just the right thing to do, it’s the reason why we’ve been entrusted with what we have. When we honor God in this way, there may be times when he blesses us and gives us more, so we can continue to give it away and bless others.More than anything God wants a relationship with us, a relationship built on trust. When we trust God with what we have by giving and tithing to him he will continue to bless us. But we must remember, we are called to a life filled with generosity. Generosity of all we have-our time, our resources, our talents, and our finances.
For more information on this topic and what we believe as a church, hear more from this message : Trusting God with our Finances or start a Bible Reading Plan built on what Jesus teaches us about generosity.