“So I thought it necessary to urge the brethren that they would go on ahead to you and arrange beforehand your previously promised bountiful gift, so that the same would be ready as a bountiful gift and not affected by covetousness…. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart…” 2 Corinthians 9:5, 7a NASB
Purposeful, thoughtful, and prayerful… does that describe your giving?
When Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, times were tough. Jerusalem was experiencing a time of famine and Paul was preparing the believers in Corinth for a special offering to help out. But Paul didn’t want this offering to be a casual, whatever spare change happens to be on hand, kind of afterthought. No, Paul wanted them to give purposefully, taking the time to think, plan, and pray about their contribution.
There’s nothing wrong with the impulse-driven, emotional giving, but as a whole, we are going to be more generous and more faithful, through purposeful, planned, and prayerful giving. So, to help us out, God gives us a starting point: the tithe.
A tithe is 10% of what we earn. The first question I’m inevitably asked is – before or after taxes? I often chuckle, because our taxes are just another bill. Like groceries, utilities, or a mortgage, our taxes are just the expense of life and living in our country. So, the tithe is 10% of what we earn.
Abraham set the example of this kind of giving (Genesis 14:20) when he offered a tithe in appreciation of God’s blessings in his life. This is the example we as believers are to follow – but it’s only the first step. It’s the starting point of faithful giving. Why?
- Tithing acknowledges God’s ownership of all we have. We’re simply managers of God’s financial resources, which are entrusted to us.
- Tithing is an act of TRUST that God will meet our needs.
- Jesus spoke on the importance of the heart behind tithing (Matthew 23:23).
The tithe is the starting line in living and giving generously. It’s about planning and praying and being intentional, not just in how we live day to day, but in how we use ALL the financial resources that God has entrusted to us. How will you be more faithful and purposeful with your giving in 2019?