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The Open Door

 

In a few short weeks we will enter the fourth quarter of the year. Generally, among our churches, the last quarter of the year is the strongest quarter financially.

The time of year reminds us that we should check our faithfulness in giving throughout the year and be certain that we are meeting our commitment to tithe.

 

“Wait a minute! Did you say commitment to tithe?”

 

Yes, I did. If you are a Christian and if you believe the Bible is the Word of God, and is true, then you will know that you have a mandate from Scripture to tithe of your income to the Lord’s work.

Further, you know that the tithe is not to be scattered to the four winds, but is to be brought to the storehouse, the church.

 

“Where do you get that from?”

 

Malachi 3:10 says, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

 

“I get that about the storehouse, but what does that mean after that ‘prove me now herewith’ part?”

 

What that means is that it is impossible for you to out give God. God requires our faithfulness, but at the same time He promises that as we are faithful to Him, we will not experience loss.

God promises to open up the windows of heaven and pour out on the faithful blessings so great that they will not be able to receive them. What a great promise. Don’t miss the “prove me” challenge. In other words, you have to step out on faith and tithe before you can experience the heavenly outpouring of blessing that is promised.

 

“Well, actually, it’s not so easy to give the tithe. That can be a lot of money.”

 

Think of it this way – if God has commanded you to tithe, can you afford not to be obedient? Further, is it such a hard thing to do when you stop and realize that everything you have has come from God and all He asks for is one-tenth in return. He allows you to keep nine-tenths.

 

“I understand that, but you don’t understand the obligations that I have. After I pay my bills there is nothing left.”

 

I do understand that. We live in days of over indulgence and over commitment. Most of us would be wise to simplify our finances by freeing up more of our income so we can do what we should do for the Lord. A few years ago there was an emphasis among Southern Baptists called “Planned Growth in Giving.” The theme of this emphasis was that we are all to tithe, but if you are not tithing at the present time you can make a start in that direction. Perhaps at first you commit to 2 percent or 5 percent, or more, understanding that you are developing a plan to get to 10 percent as quickly as you are able.

 

“Isn’t the concept of tithing Old Testament? We live in the New Covenant days and so we are not required to tithe.”

 

Actually, in Matthew 23:23, Jesus refers to the tithe and commends the tithe. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” Further, you realize that Jesus stated that He had come not to destroy the law but to fulfill it. My impression of the text is that we should tithe, but simply obeying the letter of the law is not enough. We are to go beyond the law as we practice Christian judgment, mercy, and faith. Clearly, we need more of these qualities in our lives today.

Someone wisely said that we are not really giving until we go beyond the tithe. To tithe is to return to God that which He requires. Anything beyond that becomes a gift to the Lord.

 

“In the Bible it says that God owns all the gold and the cattle on a thousand hills. That being the case, He really doesn’t need my money. I need it worse that He does.”

 

It’s true that everything is God’s. Every person who has ever lived has come into the world with nothing and will leave with nothing. We are merely stewards of God’s possessions while we are here. God does not need our money, but we need to be obedient.

Think about it. The mandate of Scripture is clear. You can argue about the tithe all of your life, but the truth of the matter is that God has commanded that we return a tenth of what we receive to Him. By the way, in all the years of my ministry, I never had a person complain about my messages on tithing or argue about tithing who was a tither.