Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tithes and Offerings

By Hayley Boud

Will a man rob God?
Yet you have robbed Me.
But you say, ‘where have we robbed You?'
In tithes and offerings

Malachi 3:8

When I read this verse I was surprised at the wording. “Rob from God”. Is that even possible? How can we steal from God since He sees everything. If Michelle is watching me, I won’t steal from her, ‘cos she is watching. She will catch me. So how can we steal from God while He is watching? Because we forget that He is watching us.

Usually we spend our time forgetting about God all together. How many times a day do you think about God? I often only think about Him when I need something or when things are going wrong. I might remember Him when I’m driving and it looks like I’m gonna be late, “oh God, help me to get there on time”. And when I arrive late, I might forget to say thank you for getting me there safely, instead I complain that I arrived late.

Because we forget God is watching, we can easily fall into sin. We won’t sin if we remember God is watching. We won’t fall into the temptation if we remember God is right there with us, looking at us. Most of the time, temptations are a good way for God to test us, to see how we will react. When we remember that it’s a test and God is watching, this can help us not to fall into the temptation.

Next time someone offends you and you feel like getting angry, remember it’s a test from God. Next time you feel like giving up, remember it’s a test from God. Next time someone disappoints you, it’s a test from God. Next time you feel like complaining, or you feel impatient, or you feel discouraged, remember it’s a test from God, and don’t fall into that trap. Don’t complain, don’t judge, don’t talk rudely or react badly, don’t become angry, don’t eat too much or sleep too much or watch too much tv. Remember, God is watching everything we are doing and when we remember that, we won’t sin.

The second reason why I thought it is impossible to steal from God is because I wondered, who would have the courage to steal from someone who can kill you and not only kill you physically but He is the one who decides if you go to heaven or hell. I wouldn’t steal from the mafia? Would you? I would be too scared to steal from the Mongrel Mob or Black Power but yet some of us aren’t scared to steal from GOD!

The reason why we can easily steal from God is because we forget that He is God. He is the one who created you and He is the one who can do what He likes with you. It’s best to keep in His good books. I wouldn’t make enemies with powerful people. How much more powerful is God than any human? If we remembered how powerful He is, we might stop ourselves before we sin.

Because we forget God is watching and we forget how powerful He is, this is how we steal from Him. We steal in our tithes and offerings. What are does tithes mean?

Tithe means 10%. God has given us 100% and when we became Christians we decided to give Him our lives 100% but because God knew it’s not possible to give 100%, He asks us to give 10%. That is pretty good of Him. Only one tenth. If I were God I would probably ask for at least half of everything. We could share 50:50. But God says to only give Him 10%.

So when we receive our salary, or any money for that matter, we must remember to put aside 10% for God straight away. We must know that 10% doesn’t belong to us, it’s not ours. We sometimes think that is not fair ‘cos we worked for it, but it is a sign that we are giving to God to show Him how grateful we are for what He has given us. He gave us that money in the first place and now we give back only 10% to show Him how grateful we are. It’s a way of telling God that we appreciate Him for giving us the job, the talent, the intelligence, the education etc that enabled us to earn the money. Many people don’t have the chance to work and in many countries people don’t get money at all, so we have to remember that and not forget where the money came from.

Some people believe tithes is an Old Testament message and not for us today. Many try to say we no longer live in the Old Testament but this is not true because God is the beginning and the end, He is the same yesterday, today and forever. We must know that tithe still exists today. Hebrews 7:5,8-10, even those who receive the tithes must pay tithes and we know that Melchizedek didn’t have a mother or a father and we know that He is the living God, the God without generation; meaning that tithing also doesn’t have a generation, it means that it didn’t just belong to the generation in the past but carries on today. Also, Jesus said that He didn’t come to destroy the law but to fulfil it (Mathew 5:17)

We must not only give 10% of our money, we must give 10% of everything that we have. Lev 27:30 talks about the produce of the earth and we know that we are the product of God taking dirt from the earth and creating human beings. Therefore, we must give 10% of our body which is the temple of the Holy Spirit. The fruit is also mentioned in here meaning we must give 10% of the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22). If we have been given the fruit of joy, then give 10% of your joy to others. If we have love, then give 10% of love to others.

If you have a voice, then give 10% of that voice to God. We can use our voices to sing praises to God, to pray to God, and to share the Word of God with others. When you have physical rest, do you have 10% spiritual rest?

Often we say, “God I give my life to you completely” but do we really give 100% of our lives to God because if we are not able to give 10%, how can we give our whole life? It’s very difficult to give 100% because we need to sleep, we need to work, we need money for ourselves. I’m pretty sure we couldn’t give God 100% ‘cos we would never eat, we’d just keep giving the food away. We would eventually die.

During our 24 hours per day, we must know that 2.4 hours doesn’t belong to us. We must give that time to God and find a way to do it, whether it is reading the Word of God, going to church, going to Bible Study, praying, worshipping, sharing the Bible with others. We must find a way to spend 2 and a half hours every day for God. If we don’t, we are stealing from God. Do we really want to steal from God?!

One very practical way to make sure we give God His 10% is to keep a journal and write down every day what you did for God. If you find you are not giving 2.4 hours then find a way. Write down in your journal how you will manage it. Sunday and Wednesdays are covered with church and bible study. What about Monday? Perhaps you could write down, ½ hour for prayer in the morning, ½ hour bible study at night, ½ hour talking with my work colleagues about God, ½ hour reading a bible story to my children before bed, ½ hour singing to God. This is just a suggestion but if we write down how we will use our time for God, then we will be sure to do it.

What is offering?

This is different to tithes. This is what we decide in our hearts we would like to give to God. This is to offer something to God which is above the 10%. We don’t have the right to divide our tithes in two and then say a portion of the tithe is offering. That is to mock God. He knows how much our tithe is. He can count better than you and me.

Give your tithe and then decide from your heart how much of your time and money and everything else you have, would you like to offer to God.

Mal 1:8, when you offer something to God and you have sin in you, know that it is a lame and sick offering and God will never be pleased with it. Therefore, remember Mat 5:23-24 and if there is a problem make sure to fix it before giving your offering. If you want to pray for someone, that will be a lame prayer if you have sin in you or you have problems with others. Fix the problem first and then give your offering.

A good question many have is, “where to give my tithes and offerings?” This is between you and God but if you don’t have a strong conviction where to give the money, then give it to your church because they will use it to help the poor, the orphan, the widower, and for programs that spread the gospel. Sometimes God might tell us where to take the tithing and when He does, we just obey and we must not judge others. If I see the tithe bag being passed around and Hayley isn’t putting money in, we must be careful not to judge. We don’t know where God told Hayley to take her tithe.

So in conclusion, tithes and offerings are still for today and we must take them seriously because we are dealing with the One who can destroy our soul. Make sure to give to God what belongs to Him so He won’t accuse you of stealing from Him. This would be a very grave accusation on judgement day because the Word of God says that thieves will not enter the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

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