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The Tithe: Opening the Windows of Heaven

By Watchman | July 22, 2009

     “Will a man rob God?  Yet you have robbed Me!  But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’  In tithes and offerings.  You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation….try Me now in this, says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.”  (Malachi 3:8-10)

“So he [Elijah] arose and went to Zarephath.  And when he came to the gate of the city, indeed a widow was there gathering sticks.  And he called to her and said, ‘Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink.’  And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, ‘Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.’  So she said, ‘As the Lord your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.  And Elijah said to her, ‘Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son.  For thus says the Lord God of Israel:  The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.’  So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days.”  (1Kings:17:10-15)

“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)

     ” Oh no!!!”  comes the yell from whoever reads this.  “She’s about to ask us for money!!!  Run for it!!”   Relax, dear brothers  and sisters.  This is emphatically NOT a request to have you send money to the Watchman.  It is, however, a request that you who call yourself by His name not see this economic downturn as an excuse for not giving to the Lord that which He asks of you, but as an opportunity to show your trust in His promises and your desire to follow in the way of righteousness.

     One of the first things that happened when the recession hit the United States was that money ceased to flow into charities’ offices.  As a matter of fact, I had to cut back on some of my own donations, but I cut out those that were earmarked for social and political purposes and tried to increase my giving to the Lord’s work.  I run a small ministry which includes a food pantry and I give to various other Christian ministries (especially those that show the love of Christ to the Jewish people for whom God has given me a great love).  My cash flow has been greatly reduced and at times I have nearly panicked when I have observed the difference between my debts and my income and my nearly non-existant savings, but the Lord has cautioned me not to see my financial position as the world does.  To those who are faithful to Him, He will continue to be faithful as well.  Will He see that I keep out of financial disaster?  I don’t really know and will have to wait and see what He has in store for me.   All I am SURE of is that He tells me I must continue to give to Him at least that little tithe (ten percent) of my income which He has always asked of His people.  I think those ministries (usually on television) that tell people that if they give 10% of their income to God, God promises a ten-fold financial return on their money are greatly to be admonished.  God promises a ten-fold return of His blessings–which may not be the same thing in the least.  I do know that ever since I began tithing (many, many years ago) God always covered my tithe.  When I first determined that I needed to follow the Lord’s command to give the first fruits to Him, I made a list of things I could cut back on so that I could afford to do so.  Oddly enough, I never had to cut back on those things.  I didn’t always have extra, but I never seemed to run short because of the extra money I had given off the top to my Lord. 

     Now, believe it or not, God does not need our money.  This is THE God, Who owns all the earth and has all the resources of the universe at His disposal.  God ordained the concept of the tithe, and we follow His commandment for several reasons:

1.  God has largely chosen to work through His people.  Since the earliest times, God gave to His chosen people (first the ancient Hebrews and then the grafted in Bride of Christ) the duty to care for the poor, the widowed and orphaned, the imprisoned and the sick.  He even commanded the ancient Jews to leave the corners of their fields unreaped and whatever they dropped in the field to not be picked up so that the poor and hungry could come in and gather food.  (An aside here, I find it interesting that the poor were to come to the fields and pick the grain or corn for themselves.  Asking someone to work for what they are given has certain Biblical precedent.) Even we Christians have been too ready in these latter days to give this job to the government to implement.  While I have no objection to the government providing some much-needed assistance to those in real need, we are to bear a great part in this in order to spread and illustrate the love of Christ.  We no longer call ourselves a Christian nation, so no government agency can explain to those who receive some assistance that they really do have a heavenly Father who loves them and cares that their needs are met.  No government agency can grant the laying on of hands and prayer as a part of real nourishment and feeding, or tell the unbelieving about the wonderful gift of salvation through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

2.  We tithe in order to come under the covenant that God Himself established.  Tithing is part of the agreement made with the beloved of  God.  When we tithe, we open the way for God’s blessings to be poured out on us.  When we tithe, we show our trust in Him: our trust that whatever comes, He knows and will see to our needs; that He has a plan and purpose for our lives that will somehow or another come into being and be for our ultimate best. When we tithe, we show thankfulness for all He is and all He has done for us.  It is then that He will “open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.”  Will that blessing be a financial one?  Maybe.  Maybe it will be a double portion of love, of courage, of strength, of wisdom or righteousness. 

3.  We tithe because God tells us to and we love Him.  It is an act of love and an act of worship.  He gives us so much, and we offer Him back such a minute portion of what He already owns.  We have nothing that does not come from Him: He gives us gifts, and it is a part of His own gifts that we give to Him. 

     I fear little financial distress because the Lord has said that if I live in obedience to what He tells me to do, then He will see to my needs.  But you know what?  In times of His financial blessing I will praise Him.  In times of need, I will praise Him.  Should I lose my home and my ministry and be dependent completely upon Him for my next meal, I will praise Him and give Him thanks. He is my God and my King.  Whatever He ordains for me will ultimately come together for good because I “love the Lord” and am called “according to His purpose”! (Romans 8:28)

 

Maranatha!

Topics: A Special Word for Today, According to Scripture, Kingdom Living | No Comments »

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