One of the hardest message a pastor is tasked with giving is the message on giving. I don't like talking about giving at our church. I don't like urging people to give. But giving is clearly a concept that runs through the Scriptures. And if we don't talk about, we miss an opportunity to learn and discover the joy it brings.
And I'm not simply talking about giving of time or giving to worthy charities (which you should do). I'm talking about giving consistently, faithfully, cheerfully to your local church. I'm talking about the word we hate to use: tithe. Yes, we know we are not under the law and we don't have to tithe. Yes, we know 10% is not a legalistic number. Yes, we understand that tithing won't get you any closer to Heaven than giving nothing.
Yet for a Christian, redeemed, rescued, sanctified, and called--tithing is important. Here are three compelling reasons why:
1) Tithing reflects a minimum level of sacrifice. Giving was required under the Old Testament law, but that's not the first time it was introduced in the Scriptures. Way before Moses, Abraham tithed a portion of his war spoils to Melchizidek, King of Salem (Genesis 14:16). So giving was seen, even in the earliest days of God's revelation, as a practice of faithful followers of God. In the NT, we are called to give our lives as a "living sacrifice" (Romans 12:1). This means we no longer offer, as the children of Israel did, a blood sacrifice for our sins. Jesus is the perfect and final sacrifice which satisfies God's wrath against sin. Instead, we offer ourselves, our bodies, as the sacrifices. We offer our lives. Giving of our money is one very demonstrative way we do this. And so when we look at a 10% monthly gift, we are essentially subscribing to the "bare minimum" that was required in the OT. What I typically tell people is to find a percentage that works for them and work their way up. We at least want to be at the minimum, but because we've been saved by God's grace, we ought to push past that as we can and be people of generosity toward God.
2) Tithing reflects a consistent commitment to God's local work. There are often opportunities to give generous gifts, both in special projects at your church or to charities or Christian organizations you support. But giving faithfully on a consistent basis to your local church is a profound statement. You are saying that you are "all in" with that local expression of Christ's body. You are committed to that local body, through thick and thin. You are saying, "I'm with this local church. I'm standing by them." IF you only give when prompted or when you feel good or when there is a special fundraising drive, you're not really committed. You're saying you'll be there when you feel like it, when you're emotional itch has been scratched. You are communicating, by your sporadic, non-consistent giving patterns, that you are not interested in being as committed to the Lord's work locally as Christ is to you. Real sacrifice, real obedience, real commitment involves long-term, consistent, faithful giving. And, on a more pragmatic note: your church needs regular, consistent givers to fund the Lord's work. Sure, you shouldn't give only because your church needs money on a regular basis. You should give from grace, out of pure joy in your Savior. But that should be part of your calculus.
3) A life of consistent, sacrificial giving results in spiritual blessings. I can't say with any biblical authority that you'll be rich if you give faithfully and consistently. I've known some of the most faithful givers in the world who endured financial ruin. So there is no one-to-one correlation. And you shouldn't give to get anyways. We should give because we've already gotten Christ, Who is enough. But, I will say that you will never look back at a life of consistent tithing and wish you hadn't committed to this practice. You'll never say on your deathbed, "I should have given less to my local, bible-believing church." You never will. Angela and I have been faithful givers since we've gotten married. We're certainly not rich, but we've seen God provide our needs over and over again.
The most important blessing of faithful, consistent giving is spiritual. There is a joy in giving God your money. There is a wonderful sense of release and trust. Giving sacrificially is a form of worship.
Summary: Don't miss out on the joy of regular, sacrificial, consistent giving to your local church. It's a sacrificial act of worship you won't regret.
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About Daniel Darling
Daniel Darling is the Senior Pastor of Gages Lake Bible Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and is the author of several books, including his latest, iFaith. His work has been featured in evangelical publications such as Relevant Magazine, Focus on the Family, Marriage Partnership, Pray!, Relevant, In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley. He has guest-posted on leading blogs such as Michael Hyatt, The Gospel Coalition, OnFaith (Washington Post), and others. He has been profiled by The Chicago Tribune. Daniel is a contributing writer to Zondervan’s Couples Devotional Bible. Publisher’s Weekly called his writing style “substantive and punchy.” Dan is a contributing writer to Christian Today‘s online magazine, Kyria as well as Lifeway’s men’s devotional, Stand Firm. He also maintains a blog at patheos.com, entitled, The Friday Five, where he interviews leading evangelicals. Dan’s columns appear weekly at Crosswalk.com and monthly for the local Lake County Journals. Dan has been interviewed on TV and radio outlets across the country, including Moody Broadcasting Network, Harvest Television, The Sandy Rios Show, American Family Radio, the Salem Radio Network, and a host of drive time radio stations across the country. Daniel has a bachelor’s degree in pastoral ministry from Dayspring Bible College. He traveled extensively to India and the Middle East. He and his wife, Angela, have three daughters and a son and reside in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.
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