Tithes and offering….this can be a stinging subject for most people and, sadly, many Christians too. Malachi 3:6-12
I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob are not destroyed. Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from My decrees and have not kept them. Return to Me and I will return to you, says the Lord Almighty.
But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’
‘Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob Me.’
But you ask, ‘How are we robbing You?’
‘In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing Me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of Heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops and your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe, ‘ says the Lord Almighty. ‘Then all the nations will call you Blessed, for yours’ will be a delightful land,’ says the Lord Almighty.
As you read above, the Word of God makes it clear that we are required to give back a portion of everything we get to the Lord’s work. We are expected to give God a tenth of everything.
In Malachi’s day, people–Christians–weren’t giving tithes and offerings to God like they were supposed to, thus the above message to them. God directly addresses them and tells them that they are offending Him by holding back on their blessings. We are also promised that if we give a part of our things—usually money—to God, then He will make sure that our lands, crops and fields will produce in abundance and we will be restored to a rich relationship in Christ.
I make a point of it to set aside a tenth of every cent that I get to the Lord. Whether it was money that I earned or money that someone gave me as a gift, I always make sure that, at least, a 10th of it goes to the Lord’s work.
We are also told that we are robbing God by not giving Him a tenth of everything. You may wonder why God would get upset over a teentsie-weentsie bit of money when He owns the whole world. The reason is: Even though everything belongs to God anyway, He places His money and earthly possessions into our hands to take care of and to use wisely. He requires of us to give Him a tenth to show our thanks for His never-ceasing goodness.
R.G. LeTourneau was an earth-moving industrialist, making loads of money. He donated large amounts to churches, schools and other Christian organizations. Near the end of his life, he was already giving 90% of his income to the Lord’s work, while he kept only 10% for himself to live off.
Now, here’s the mistake we make: Why ask, “How much MUST I give to God?” Hoping for only a few cents to be the answer, when, in reality, we should be asking, “How much of this money should I keep for myself?’ Implying that after giving to the Lord, your needs follow secondarily.
What do you think about holding back on tithes and offerings? How much should a tithe or an offering be? Is there really a maximum limit?