JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “What is tithing, and what does the Bible say about it?”
Tithing is introduced in the Old Testament where the Israelites were instructed to bring ten percent of their income to the Lord in offerings.
In Malachi 3, the LORD compared failure to bring the whole tithe into the storehouse as an act of robbing Him. Jesus confirmed the value of tithing in Matthew 23, verse 23, but noted that there were more important matters of the law such as justice, mercy, and faithfulness. Jesus rebuked the teachers of the law for neglecting these more important matters of the law.
This is a good focus for us today, not to neglect the practice of tithing, but also to remember that there is more to following Christ than giving our ten percent.
The emphasis in the New Testament goes beyond numbers to the condition of the heart. Second Corinthians 9:7 says, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
In this way, our tithes and generous gifts for the sake of God’s kingdom become fragrant offerings to God in the Year of Exploration.
JOHN SHIRK – The importance of sharing with others.
This was a common practice of the early church when it formed. Acts 2 talks about the believers selling their possessions and goods, and giving to anyone as he had need. The generosity of these early believers was effective, because Acts 4:34 says that “there were no needy persons among them.”
Hebrews 13:16 encourages us to continue looking for opportunities to share our resources with others. “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”
While we do not have the resources to take care of everybody’s needs, we can do something for someone. Meeting the practical needs through the sharing of our resources is one significant way of expressing God’s love to someone else.
The importance of sharing with others is a lesson of faith worth remembering.
JOHN SHIRK – From Second Corinthians 9:11.
“You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”
One of the outcomes of a life filled with thanksgiving is generosity. Our hearts are made tender toward people in need. St. Augustine once said, “Find out how much God has given you and take from it what you need; the remainder will be needed by others.”
This thought challenges us not to be wasteful with what we have been given, but to consider how we might use what we have wisely, including life’s extras. Material things are not for hoarding, but for personal enjoyment and generous giving. We find this principle in First Timothy 6, where Paul told Timothy to command the rich in this present world to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. And then, he told Timothy to command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.
Generosity is a vital sign of a changed life in the Year of Transformation.