Most Christians understand that failing to tithe is robbing God, for the Bible specifically states that the tithe belongs to the Lord (Lev. 27:30). When we fail to tithe we are keeping for ourselves what rightfully belongs to God. It’s that simple. Consequently, our finances are cursed with a curse. We end up cheating ourselves (Mal. 3:9).
I believe most Christians get that. Whether they tithe or not, they know in their heart of hearts that failing to tithe is wrong. It’s the other part of the verse many believers miss. The Bible says that the withholding of our offerings is also an act of robbery.
It might help at this point to distinguish between tithes and offerings. The Lord’s tithe is the 10% of our income that we return to God. Of course, 100% of our income belongs to Him. The paying of tithes (the word means 10%) acknowledges the ownership of God over everything.
Some argue that tithing is part of the Old Testament Law and therefore no long applicable to New Testament believers. I have a few things to say about that. Those who dismiss Malachi 3:8-10 as no longer applicable forget what comes just before it in 3:6, “I am the LORD, I do not change.” God’s principle of tithing has not changed because it was given by the Lord who was very careful to remind us He does not change. What part of “do not change” do we fail to understand?
Second, tithing predates the Old Testament Law by several hundred years (Genesis 14:20; 28:22). Third, Jesus approved of the practice of tithing in the New Testament (Matthew 23:23). And fourth, we who are under grace should not do less than those who were under the law. If anything, we who have been saved by the atoning blood of Jesus Christ should do more.
Unlike the tithe which is a set percentage given to support the local church (the storehouse Mal. 3:10), offerings can be any amount and are free to be designated by the giver as directed by the Lord (2 Cor. 9:7). For that reason, the Bible calls them freewill offerings. Note: it’s the LORD’s TITHE and MY OFFERINGS. The one is God’s and I return it. The other is mine and I give it.
I have been captivated for the last few weeks by this verse, “And none shall appear before Me empty-handed” (Exodus 34:20). The challenge for me is to always come to church prepared to give in the offering. That doesn’t mean I spread out the tithe and give a little at a time. No, the tithe is given first and in full. The challenge is that every time the offering is received I will worship the Lord by giving. I will not appear before God empty-handed.
I’m not asking you take the “ice-bucket challenge,” or to accept some other crazy dare. I am asking you to take the giving challenge. Actually, I am just passing along the challenge given by God Himself in Malachi 3:10, “‘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.’”
Do you believe God meant what He said? Then join me in accepting the giving challenge.
Pastor Todd Weston