Pastor’s Ponderings, January 2020

“How Much Do I Give God?”

What each family gives should be a personal response to what God has done in your own life.  Ask yourself: “What has God done for me?”  Some will limit the answer to material gains that came unexpectedly and you didn’t work to earn.  But the reality is that everything you have is a gift from God, including all your possessions, family and even your very life.  Even the skills and intellect that have allowed you to earn a living are God given gifts.  So how much do you give back to Him?  Let us look to God’s Word for answers.

From the beginning God has indicated that we are to give Him the “first fruits” from what He has given us.  In other words, God did not intend we only give whatever we have left over after buying all we need or want.  We are to give Him our first and best rather than from our last and least.  The amount we give has also been set by God.  In Genesis 14:18-20, when Melchizedek, “priest of God Most High” blessed Abram (Abraham), in response, “Abram gave him a tenth of everything.”  Again in Genesis 28:22, when Jacob realized that He stood in the Presence of God, he responded telling God: “all that you give me I will give you a tenth.”  And in Leviticus 27:30-33, God commands: “A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord.  If a man redeems any of his tithe, he must add a fifth of the value to it.  The entire tithe of the herd and flock—every tenth animal that passes under the shepherd’s rod—will be holy to the Lord.  He must not pick out the good from the bad or make any substitution.  If he does make a substitution, both the animal and its substitute become holy and cannot be redeemed.”  What God is saying here is that a tenth of everything we have belongs to Him and we are not to substitute our scraps for our best.

You might be thinking to yourself that it would be impossible to give God a tenth of your income, but remember what Jesus told His disciples in Mark 10:27, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”  God wants us to give Him our tithes because He wants to reward us for our gifts.  Malachi 3:10 states: “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.”  When we limit what we give to God, we limit what God can give to us.  In Luke 6:38 Jesus tells us: “Give, and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  And the Apostle Paul would reiterate, saying, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.  Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)

Perhaps you are thinking that all of this sounds great but it doesn’t really work in the real world.  We sometimes believe this because we can’t see how God could actually do this in our lives.  When we think this way, we are imposing our own limitations on God, forgetting that with God all things are possible.  Let me bear witness that you can trust in God’s promises.  When I lost my first wife I didn’t know how my daughter and I were going to make it.  We had always been dependent on two incomes, we had no savings, and now we not only needed to survive on my income alone, but my daughter was ready to go to college.  Logic would dictate that I hang on to everything I had and hope that it was enough to get us through, but I didn’t.  I needed God and His blessings more than ever, so I put my trust in Him and gave more generously than I ever had.  He responded blessing us beyond measure.  Soon we were able to pay off everything we owed with enough left over to put Christy through college.  God even turned my “mourning into dancing” (Psalm 30:11), sending Mary Kay into my life.  I cannot even begin to tell you how many ways God has blessed our lives, but I can tell you what I have learned—the more generously you give to God, the more bountiful the blessings He will pour forth into your life.  He will indeed, “open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.”

As we enter a new year I challenge you to take a step toward tithing, and see if God doesn’t bless you with more than you give.  You will soon learn that you can truly trust in God’s Word and you will certainly be blessed.

Your fellow servant in Christ,

Pastor Harold