Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A wise investment

How much money should I give God?

If you are like me, you always want to make sure that the way that you are living your life as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is pleasing to God. So when it comes to the subject of giving money to the Lord, what does the bible have to say about this? 

Well, like every subject in the scriptures, we must "rightly divide the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15) in order to know for sure what God desires today. As we know, the way that God dealt with the nation of Israel in time past, and the way that he will deal with that nation in the future ages to come, is quite different than how he deals with mankind today. In time past, God dealt with the nation of Israel under the law of Moses, and in that law, he instituted a system of giving that would fund the running of that nation. The system that God used was a system known as "tithes and offerings."

In Leviticus 27:30-34, God tells Israel that the first 10%, or "tithe," of their increase in the promised land belongs to him. The increase of their fields, of the trees, and of the flocks, belonged to the Lord.

He also adds in Numbers18:20-32, that the 10% or "tithe" that Israel would give to Him, were to be given to his priest, the tribe of Levi, because they had no inheritance in the promised land, like all of the other 11 tribes did.

So in essence, the "tithes" were to come from the fruit of the ground, and of the flocks of the other 11 tribes of Israel, and given to the tribe of Levi as a sort of income tax that was used to run the nation. It was not money!!!

After all was said and done, these tithes of Israel added up to about 33% of the total fruit of the land and flocks that the farmers and shepherds of Israel produced. Add to that God's instruction that anyone in Israel could give a "freewill offering" if they chose to (Leviticus 22), and the nation of Israel was well able to run successfully as God had intended. So it was as the nation of Israel obeyed God's Law and gave these tithes and offerings to the Levitical priesthood, that God would supernaturally bless them and take care of them.

That is why we see the Lord rebuking Israel in Malachi 3:8-10, saying that the whole nation had robbed God of tithes and offerings, and did not bring the meat (food) to His house (the temple).

Malachi 3:8-10
Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.  Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat [food]  in mine house [Temple], 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.

It was this disobedience of Israel that brought the curse of God on their land. It was only after they began again to obey and bring these tithes and offerings to the temple that God would bless them again, and make their crops and flocks abundant again.

But all of that was God's program in time past to his then-favored nation Israel, and not instructions for us today. Today, with the change in God's program (Acts 9), God has new instructions on how his people, the body of Christ, should give to him.

Acts 9:15
But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he [Paul] is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:

Today, God instructs the church, the body of Christ thru the 13 letters of the Apostle Paul. God gave Paul a message of "grace," and not Law like he did to Moses for Israel.

Romans 6:14
For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

And because we are not under the law, but under grace, tithing is not a requirement for us today.

God, thru Paul does instruct us on how to give today. God says that anyone can give to a church that preaches Christ as Paul preached him—i.e., according to the revelation of the mystery [Romans 16:25]—by giving as God has prospered that person. That person is to give as he/she purposes in their heart, not grudgingly, or of necessity, but cheerfully (happy to do it as thanks to God for his grace).

2 Corinthians 9:6-8
But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly [against their will], or of necessity [just to get something back from God or because the preacher said so]: for God loveth a cheerful giver [happy to do it as thanks to God for His grace]. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

Earlier in 2 Corinthians, God says that how a person gives to support a ministry that preaches his grace message, proves the sincerity of their love for the Lord.

2 Corinthians 8:8
I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.

In other words, they put their money where their heart is!

Moreover, the Lord commands those that are taught his word "rightly divided" to give financially to those that teach them the word, rightly divided.

1 Corinthians 9:14
Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel [Paul’s gospel not the gospel of the kingdom] should live of the gospel.

Galatians 6:6
Let him that is taught in the word communicate [give] unto him that teacheth in all good things.

1 Timothy 5:17-18
Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.  For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.

So today in the dispensation of the grace of God, God provides for his ministry by using the gracious financial gifts of his saints.

We are not under a tithing system of giving like Israel was because Israel was under the law of God.  But today, we give money to God by supporting a grace ministry where the word of God is taught "rightly divided" and the message of grace is fully proclaimed. Today, our giving is by grace and not by law. We give whatever we decide based on our thankfulness to the Lord for his wonderful grace. Amen. 

Hopefully this helps!


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