Posts Tagged ‘Tithing


Partnering With God Through Giving

The apostle Paul let the Philippians know that their gifts supported his ministry and he was grateful for them. Their gifts were more than just a support of his work. They were a sacrifice that pleased God.

Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 18 I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. – Philippians 4:17-18 (NIV)

When we give consistently, generously and sacrificially to the work of the Lord, God is pleased. The work of spreading the Gospel continues and lives are changed because of the generosity of God’s people. Our tithes and offerings that we give are a way of partnering with God to change the world with the love of Jesus. This is why giving is so important. It shows that we are grateful and that we trust God. It also shows our desire to partner with God to change lives for His glory.

Does The Church Only Want Your Money?

The apostle Paul told the Philippians that he rejoiced over their concern for him. What he was referring to was the financial gifts of support that they sent to him. They had sent one of their own people to bring him financial and spiritual support. This is what he wrote:

I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. – Philippians 4:10 (NIV)

When it comes to supporting the work of the Kingdom of God, we need to be consistent in our giving. Christians need to support their local church so that local churches can support missionaries. The local church can only do so much when it comes to ministry without the financial support of its people. Some will accuse the church of only being concerned with money and in some cases that is true. But by and large, most local churches want to use the funds that are given in order to increase the scope of ministry – both home and abroad. We need to be generous, consistent and sacrificial givers to the work of Jesus so that the church can accomplish her mission of making disciples of all nations.

Sharing In God’s Grace

When you give to the work of God’s Kingdom, it makes a real difference in the lives of people. The apostle Paul had received a gift from the Philippians and was overwhelmed by their generosity. He praised them and thanked them in his letter to them. He wrote:

It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. 8 God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. – Philippians 1:7-8 (NIV)

He said that they “share in God’s grace with me.” When we give our offerings to the Lord, we are sharing in the grace of God. Giving is a partnership between God and His people. We’re not just paying bills or salaries. We’re partnering with God to show His love to the world. The next time you give your offering, remember that your gifts are changing lives for the glory of God.

21st Century Idolatry

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

16 If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray and God will give him life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that he should pray about that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.

18 We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him. 19 We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. 20 We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true—even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

21 Dear children, keep yourselves from idols. – 1 John 5:13-21 (NIV)

Verse 21 ends this book with an abrupt and simple command.  “Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.”  We tend to think of idol worship as an activity of primitive cultures.  We think of idols of metal or stone or wood.  The people of John’s day were required to worship the emperor of Rome and had little idols of him.  They were required to burn incense in homage to the emperor to prove their loyalty to the state.  We tend to think that we are so beyond idolatry, but I disagree.  We do have idols in the 21st century.  Think of the things that we worship in our day and age:
  • Money (we even call it the “almighty dollar!”)
  • Fame and celebrity
  • Entertainment (billions spent on movies)
  • Leisure
  • Food
  • Pleasure
  • Toys and gadgets (guilty!)
  • Work
  • Family
  • Sports (guilty again!)

The list could go on and on and on.  An idol is anything that gets in the way of your relationship with God.  I once heard that a great way to discover what you worship is to check two things: your calendar and your checkbook.  What do you spend your time doing and on what do you spend your money?  I’m not saying that work and family and food are bad.  It is when they take God’s place that they become idols.  We say that we’re too busy to pray or go to worship every week and that we can’t afford to tithe.  Our lives are filled with an incredible amount of clutter!  Our time is cluttered and so are our homes.  Take some time today to inventory your life.  Is it time to make some new priorities?  Is it time to de-clutter a little bit?  Can you clear out 15 minutes from your schedule to read your Bible and pray today?  Can you free up some of your resources to give a tithe or offering that expresses your thanksgiving and gratitude to God this weekend?  May we do away with the idolatry in our lives and give our true worship to Jesus.



A Remarkable Gift

How do you make Jesus take notice of your offerings?  Give from the heart and not from your wallet.  Give with an attitude of gratitude and not begrudgingly.  Give with joy and not out of obligation.  It’s not the size of the gift, but the love for God and your trust in Him that counts the most.
The poor widow woman had no one to take care of her.  She had nothing to live on and no one to provide for her.  Yet she in her poverty gave a gift that made Jesus take notice.  The wealthy people giving their gifts would have been very noticeable.  The sounds of large metal coins striking the metal boxes into which people put their offerings would have clang-clanged loudly.  The two small copper coins would have barely made a sound.  Yet Jesus remarked on her gift and not any of the others.  Why?  Because she gave all that she had to live on.  Why would she do such a thing?  Perhaps she trusted in God to provide more than in her money.  Maybe she had such a deep faith that she knew God would take care of her.
Sometimes we try to bargain with God.  “If I give this offering, then You have to take care of me!”  Our attitude should be, “Since You have provided for me, I gratefully and joyfully give this offering, Lord!”  God has provided in so many ways.  But, we put Him last instead of first.  Too often God gets the leftovers instead of the firstfruits.  He provided the job.  He provided the energy.  He provided the paycheck.  He provided the home.  He provided the car.  He provided the clothing. It all comes from Him.  Let us be cheerful and joyful as we give Him the first and best fruits of our labors.  After all, God loves a cheerful giver and takes notice when we give faithfully.
Luke 21:1-4 (NIV)
As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury.He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”



Too Many Offerings

In Exodus 36, there was a problem in the building of the Tabernacle.

Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: “No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” And so the people were restrained from bringing more, because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work. -Exodus 36:6-7 (NIV)

WHAT AN AWESOME PROBLEM!  The people gave TOO MUCH in the way of offerings to build it!  Whoever heard of such a thing?!?  How could this happen?  We live in a world where many churches struggle to keep their doors open and way back in Moses’ day, they had to turn offerings away!  WOW!
So why did the people give so much?  I think that there are a few reasons.
One, I think that there was a real love for God and a desire to worship Him.  They had no place to go and praise the Lord and this was their opportunity to build such a place.
Two, I think that there was a big vision.  It was a God-sized vision that the people could visualize and fulfill.
Three, I think that they were challenged to do something great.  In our churches today, we don’t challenge people to do great things.  We are too content to keep the doors open and the buildings warm in the winter.  If we can pay a preacher and a few staff members, we’re doing fine.  We need God-sized challenges and a God-sized vision to do something amazing for His glory!
Fourth, I think that the people were grateful for what God had done for them.  They had seen first-hand how God had rescued them and provided for them.  We need to remember how God has done the same for us.  He rescued us through His Son, Jesus and He provides for our every need through His love and grace.
I heard a great story recently about a church that heard of a great need and rose to the occasion.  There were about 300 sold-out followers of Jesus meeting (out of a HUGE church of 5-6,000) with their pastor.  Hechallenged them to do something incredible.  This was right after the devastating earthquake in Haiti.  They had heard that one of their missions was going to have to close their doors unless they were able to raise $500,000.  So this pastor challenged these 300 or so people to pull out their checkbooks, wallets and debit cards and give.  It was a God-sized vision that seems impossible.  But for God, nothing is impossible.  I asked the man telling the story, “What happened?”  He said, with a completely serious look on his face, “We raised the $500,000 that night.”  He said that they did it because that’s what fully-surrendered followers of Jesus do.  We make sacrifices for the benefit of God’s Kingdom.  We give generously to those in need for the cause of Christ. What are you giving so that others will hear the Good News of Jesus?  Remember, nothing is impossible for God.  And nothing is more important than reaching the world for Christ for the glory of God.  Nothing.

Exodus 36

New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)

36 So Bezalel, Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work just as the Lord has commanded.”

Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord had given ability and who was willing to come and do the work. They received from Moses all the offerings the Israelites had brought to carry out the work of constructing the sanctuary. And the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning. So all the skilled craftsmen who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left their work and said to Moses, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done.”

Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: “No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” And so the people were restrained from bringing more, because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work.

The Tabernacle

All the skilled men among the workmen made the tabernacle with ten curtains of finely twisted linen and blue, purple and scarlet yarn, with cherubim worked into them by a skilled craftsman. All the curtains were the same size—twenty-eight cubits long and four cubits wide. 10 They joined five of the curtains together and did the same with the other five. 11 Then they made loops of blue material along the edge of the end curtain in one set, and the same was done with the end curtain in the other set. 12 They also made fifty loops on one curtain and fifty loops on the end curtain of the other set, with the loops opposite each other. 13 Then they made fifty gold clasps and used them to fasten the two sets of curtains together so that the tabernacle was a unit.

14 They made curtains of goat hair for the tent over the tabernacle—eleven altogether. 15 All eleven curtains were the same size—thirty cubits long and four cubits wide. 16 They joined five of the curtains into one set and the other six into another set. 17 Then they made fifty loops along the edge of the end curtain in one set and also along the edge of the end curtain in the other set. 18 They made fifty bronze clasps to fasten the tent together as a unit. 19 Then they made for the tent a covering of ram skins dyed red, and over that a covering of hides of sea cows.

20 They made upright frames of acacia wood for the tabernacle. 21 Each frame was ten cubits long and a cubit and a half wide, 22 with two projections set parallel to each other. They made all the frames of the tabernacle in this way.23 They made twenty frames for the south side of the tabernacle 24 and made forty silver bases to go under them—two bases for each frame, one under each projection. 25 For the other side, the north side of the tabernacle, they made twenty frames 26 and forty silver bases—two under each frame. 27 They made six frames for the far end, that is, the west end of the tabernacle, 28 and two frames were made for the corners of the tabernacle at the far end. 29 At these two corners the frames were double from the bottom all the way to the top and fitted into a single ring; both were made alike. 30 So there were eight frames and sixteen silver bases—two under each frame.

31 They also made crossbars of acacia wood: five for the frames on one side of the tabernacle, 32 five for those on the other side, and five for the frames on the west, at the far end of the tabernacle. 33 They made the center crossbar so that it extended from end to end at the middle of the frames. 34 They overlaid the frames with gold and made gold rings to hold the crossbars. They also overlaid the crossbars with gold.

35 They made the curtain of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen, with cherubim worked into it by a skilled craftsman. 36 They made four posts of acacia wood for it and overlaid them with gold. They made gold hooks for them and cast their four silver bases. 37 For the entrance to the tent they made a curtain of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen—the work of an embroiderer; 38 and they made five posts with hooks for them. They overlaid the tops of the posts and their bands with gold and made their five bases of bronze.


The 3 T’s of Giving

Exodus 35 recounts how the Israelites donated to the building of the Tabernacle in the wilderness.  This was the mobile house of worship.  First, Moses shares God’s regulations for keeping the Sabbath.  Then, Moses challenges the people to give of their material goods and talents to build the Tabernacle.  These were freewill offerings of time, talent and  resources.  These were over and above their regular offerings.  I like verse 35 because it talks about how some of the people were given special gifts by God to accomplish this task for Him:

He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as craftsmen, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them master craftsmen and designers. -Exodus 35:35 (NIV)

Giving to the work of God’s Kingdom, whether time, talents or tithes, is a privilege.  God is the giver of all that we have.  He gives us life (time) and abilities (talents) and material blessings (tithes).  He is the One who blesses us first and then He expects us to give back to the work of His Kingdom.  It’s not a suggestion that we use these things for His work and His glory.  It’s an expectation.
Here’s the cool thing about giving back to God a small portion of what He’s already blessed us with: it’s a partnership.  God uses our gifts of time, talents and tithes to partner with us to change lives for His glory.  That’s what this whole thing is all about – life transformation.  We, whose lives have been transformed by God through His Son, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, can partner with God to bring about that same transformation in the lives of others.  So when you put that check in the offering plate, you’re partnering with God to change lives.  When you volunteer in the children’s ministry at church, you’re partnering with God to transform lives.  When you play or sing on the worship team, you’re partnering with God to touch someone’s heart that will lead them to a changed life and a changed eternal destiny!
That’s what this thing we call church is all about.  It’s not about buildings and bricks and mortar.  It’s about lives that are transformed by the power and grace of God.  It’s about how He partners with us to change the lives and hearts of people who are bound for an eternity separated from Him.  It’s about Heaven and helping people get there.  I’ve heard it said that the church is the only organization that exists for the benefit of its non-members.  That is so true!  The church is not about what makes you happy.  It’s not about your preferences.  It’s not about your comfort.  It’s about that family that walks in the door for the first time and needs to hear about Jesus.  It’s about that man or woman who needs hope because they’re at the end of their rope.  It’s about that child who will grow up to be a preacher because you taught their class and told them about Jesus.  If that doesn’t get you out of bed on a Sunday morning ready to praise God, then I don’t know what will!
How will God use your time, talents and tithes to benefit His Kingdom and those who are currently outside of it?  How will God partner with you to bring about life transformation in someone else?  If you’re ready to change the world, God is ready to use you to do it.  So let’s do it!

Exodus 35

New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)

Sabbath Regulations

35 Moses assembled the whole Israelite community and said to them, “These are the things the Lord has commanded you to do: For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the Lord. Whoever does any work on it must be put to death. Do not light a fire in any of your dwellings on the Sabbath day.”

Materials for the Tabernacle

Moses said to the whole Israelite community, “This is what the Lord has commanded:From what you have, take an offering for the Lord. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the Lord an offering of gold, silver and bronze; blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair; ram skins dyed red and hides of sea cows; acacia wood; olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece.

10 “All who are skilled among you are to come and make everything the Lord has commanded: 11 the tabernacle with its tent and its covering, clasps, frames, crossbars, posts and bases; 12 the ark with its poles and the atonement cover and the curtain that shields it; 13 the table with its poles and all its articles and the bread of the Presence;14 the lampstand that is for light with its accessories, lamps and oil for the light; 15 the altar of incense with its poles, the anointing oil and the fragrant incense; the curtain for the doorway at the entrance to the tabernacle; 16 the altar of burnt offering with its bronze grating, its poles and all its utensils; the bronze basin with its stand; 17 the curtains of the courtyard with its posts and bases, and the curtain for the entrance to the courtyard; 18 the tent pegs for the tabernacle and for the courtyard, and their ropes; 19 the woven garments worn for ministering in the sanctuary—both the sacred garments for Aaron the priest and the garments for his sons when they serve as priests.”

20 Then the whole Israelite community withdrew from Moses’ presence, 21 and everyone who was willing and whose heart moved him came and brought an offering to the Lord for the work on the Tent of Meeting, for all its service, and for the sacred garments. 22 All who were willing, men and women alike, came and brought gold jewelry of all kinds: brooches, earrings, rings and ornaments. They all presented their gold as a wave offering to the Lord.23 Everyone who had blue, purple or scarlet yarn or fine linen, or goat hair, ram skins dyed red or hides of sea cows brought them. 24 Those presenting an offering of silver or bronze brought it as an offering to the Lord, and everyone who had acacia wood for any part of the work brought it. 25 Every skilled woman spun with her hands and brought what she had spun—blue, purple or scarlet yarn or fine linen. 26 And all the women who were willing and had the skill spun the goat hair. 27 The leaders brought onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece. 28 They also brought spices and olive oil for the light and for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense. 29 All the Israelite men and women who were willing brought to the Lord freewill offerings for all the work the Lord through Moses had commanded them to do.

Bezalel and Oholiab

30 Then Moses said to the Israelites, “See, the Lord has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 31 and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts— 32 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 33 to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic craftsmanship. 34 And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others. 35 He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as craftsmen, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them master craftsmen and designers.

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