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Where's the Dough, Joe!
By NiteOwlDave
Question: Does the Bible suggest we tithe? You Betcha!
Consider Proverbs 3:9:
"Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the first-fruits of all your increase."
This admonition comes on the heels of the charge in verse 6 which states,
"In everything you do, put God first..."
These are not SUGGESTIONS; they are ORDERS.
So how much is the "first part"?
Well, the Old Testament saint of this book took that commandment literally.
In fact, the Scriptures instructed him to make specific offerings and gifts to the Lord, starting with the tithe—10% of all he owned.
If you add up all the offerings the Old Testament saint was instructed to give to God's work, it was nearly 30% of his income!
The Book of Numbers points out that Levites, who were ministers or priests to the other eleven tribes of Israel, were to be supported by the tithes of God's people.
Numbers 18:21 states, "...I have given the children of Levi all the tithes in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacles of the congregation."
Deuteronomy 14:23 begins, "Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year..."
The early church was ever constantly mindful of the needs of those in other lands and often sent offerings to the first church in Jerusalem.
One might suggest that since the above text is from the Old Testament, in times of the Law, and since we live today in the period of Grace, that this tithe legalism is not applicable.
There is New Testament Biblical evidence to suggest otherwise.
In Acts 4:32, the Apostle Luke records,
"All the believers were of one heart and mind, and no one felt that what he owned was his own; everyone was sharing."
Verse 37 speaks of a Levite who
"Sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles for distribution to those in need."
In Romans 15:27, the Apostle Paul notes that the Christian believers in Macedonia and Achaia sent an offering to the Christian church in Jerusalem.
"Because the news about Christ came to these Gentiles from the church in Jerusalem... they felt that the least they could do in return is to give some material aid."
Given the above Godly words about giving, here are some shocking statistics to check out:
1. More money is spent on chewing gum or dog food in the United States than is given to foreign missions.
2. Americans on average give less than 1.7% of their gross income to church or charitable causes.
Of course, giving by Christians would be much higher than that, right? Wrong!
According to Atlanta-based financial planner Ronald Blue's sources, the average Christian gives approximately 2%!
Clearly, something is amiss!
There are two major misconceptions about giving.
First, giving is not a return to God of His slice: Rather it's a recognition of His ownership of all we have.
We should give not because He needs the money, but because we recognize our responsibility to honor and obey Him.
Second, giving isn't a cause of spiritual growth, it's a consequence of spiritual growth.
Giving breaks money's power over people, because when we give we voluntarily lose control of it.
If we cannot give it up, we don't own it, it owns us!