So, you have managed to see yourself as blessed. Moreover, you now see yourself as rich, too. You went ahead and also invested your riches and multiplied them. What’s the next step? What does the Bible teach about the third step which completes the cycle?
Give. As simple as that. But give like you mean it. Not a bit here and a bit there to suit and maintain clear your own conscience.
Happily, there’s a starting point set for us already – 10%. This is what God instructed his people to give in the Old Testament and Jesus confirmed in the New. It’s important also to realize that this is not a piece of advice given to us which we can decide to follow only when we wish to. Tithe, the 10% – it’s not optional.
Before we move on to the really difficult part, however, let’s have a look at Malachi 3:10. It’s one of the many verses which by their misinterpretations a lot of people have turned into walking on a fine line, but in spite of this it remains a promise of God. He says:
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 you will not have room enough for it.
– Malachi 3:10, NIV
As He often does, when it comes to giving God also attaches a promise to his command. Twisted desires throughout time have led many to believe in giving for the sake of receiving. This, however, is a concept foreign to the Bible. This is not some ages old metaphor of what is today recognized as a vending machine. God doesn’t work on this principle. A true and honest believer knows and recognizes this.
Much more is said about tithing in the Bible but I would like to draw your attention to one of the most important passages – Leviticus 27:30. It speaks the important truth that the tithe belongs to the Lord. Yes, God could retain His bit before giving us His blessings but that’s not the point. Throughout our lives God ensures that all communication is bi-directional. By putting the ball in our hands, God ensures that our faith, trust and experience with Him grow continually. You and I are given an opportunity to exercise this. More importantly, because this bit of our possessions already belongs to God you need to see it as giving back, which is only part of the total giving. It’s not optional (withholding from God what belongs to Him is simply not what we’re called to do) and it doesn’t constitute the entire amount.
I know that for many people it’s difficult to start giving more than these basic 10%. However, I’ve found out that through taking the step of faith and trust in God the floodgates have been opened above me. When I gave 10% whatever was left was enough. Later on, when I started giving more, surprisingly, whatever was left was still enough. More than enough, actually. There is also a bonus – I learned to better distinguish what is essential from what isn’t. I see myself as one who has been put in charge of the stuff around me rather than a mere owner, a possessor who would cling to these items. It has not only given me more freedom but I have taken part in achieving what was ultimately intended for God’s blessing – that they continue to be passed onward to those who are in need of them.