It's unfortunate that giving of tithes and offerings has been so perverted by the Churches. It really should be a central part of everyone's daily walk with Jesus. Giving expresses several important spiritual principles, and I would like to share my understanding of this with you.

First, the word "tithe" of course just means tenth. So, it's not really a matter of keeping the law, it's more the spiritual principle of giving that I consider important. In what follows, you can replace "tithe" with "offering" if you wish.

Stewardship. All that is comes from God. We really don't own anything of ourselves. When we freely give, we are acting as good stewards of God's wealth. Just as importantly, this expresses the attitude that I will not touch the things of God. If He says a tenth part is reserved for Him, I must release it without hesitation. We think of the tithe as "giving" but a better way to think is that God lets me keep 90% of what is His. Think about that!

Faith. So long as we are in these mortal bodies we will need the necessities of life. Each day we need water, food, clothing and shelter. Material wealth is associated in our minds with survival and it is natural that we want to hold onto things to insure our survival. To give away things freely is to acknowledge that our provision comes from God and not from what we hold in our hands. So long as I have food to eat and a warm place to sleep today, then God has kept His promise to provide for me. Tomorrow I will trust Him again for one more day. Giving away things is then an act of faith in God's provision. What's more, it is something that you can't imitate. People can imitate all sorts of righteousness in public while being totally corrupt in private. But you can't imitate giving. Either you give or you don't.

Worship. We value things by how much we are willing to pay for them. The more valuable a thing is the more we will pay. How valuable is the word of God to you? I would say one word of true gospel is worth more than everything I own. To respond to the preaching of God's word by giving money is an expression of it's value and an act of worship of God. When seen this way, the tithe is not a burden but a limit. God says, a tenth will be enough.. Once you get the idea, you will find it's hard to stop at a tenth.

Joint Participation. We all have a commission to deliver the gospel to the world, but only some are called as evangelists. For the rest of us, we can participate in the spreading of the gospel, or caring for the homeless, or providing comfort to the sick, by contributing to those things with our gifts. By doing so we share in the reward even though we are not the direct means by which these things are accomplished.

Blessing. This is a difficult area to discuss because so many have perverted God's plan of blessing with their "prosperity gospel." Nevertheless, God's word is full of the promise of blessing in material things to those who put Him first in their lives. The paradox is that you have to forsake all first. You cannot give in order to get, as God knows what is in the heart. So, the irony is that by the time you are ready for God's blessing, you don't really care about wealth anymore! He could put a million dollars in your hands and your only thought would be "where can I best give this to promote God's Kingdom?"

One final thing. Jesus said that we should give in secret so that our Father might reward us in secret. We don't give in order to get praise from others, only to please God.

All of this is summarized in Galatians 6:6-11. Don't let the word "communicate" in the KJV fool you. Paul is talking about giving good things.


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