Kim is a woman in our church.
Like many people in our church, Kim is blessed with an overabundance of word useage per day. Get her in a conversation, and you'll have a hard time getting a word in edgewise, but you'll find that with Kim, you don't really mind.
Kim is a mother and grandmother.
Kim is a wife.
Kim is a former drug addict who celebrated 9 months sober last week.
Kim has a husband who is serving a prison sentence for drug possession.
Kim lives in a trailer that needs some fixing up.
Kim serves as a coordinator in one of the child care departments in our church.
Kim has the same income now that she did last year at this time, yet she has more money to work with. This is because since she committed her life to Jesus, Kim has been tithing.
See Kim tithe. Tithe, Kim, tithe.
I'd like to talk about tithing for a moment. Those of you in the know already know what I'm about to tell you, but for those that aren't, here's what I want to say: if you're serving God and you're not tithing, you are effectively blocking the full potential of God to move in your life. Seriously, you have no idea how much you are keeping God at bay by not allowing Him the decency of taking care of you.
You see, tithing is a principle that says that our money is given to us by God. We have the resources we do becuase God has allowed us to be successful in work, to earn what we have, and the freedom to spend that money how we see fit. But the Bible does have some very specific things to say about how we handle our money, and I have to say that it all comes back to stewardship.
Look up the definition of the word "steward", and you'll find several definitions that all give the description of a steward being someone that is a manager, someone in charge of something that belongs to someone else. That means that the money coming into my home, even though it comes in the forms of paychecks that I earn by working at different jobs, isn't actually my money or my wife's. That money is God's. And I have a responsibility to care for what is God's in a proper manner. Now, Proverbs tells us that a fool and his money are parted from each other soon, but other passages throughout the Bible all indicate that we should be watchful and careful of what God has entrusted to us.
Malachi 3:10 nails it on the head with specifics (NCV): "Bring to the storehouse a full tenth of what you earn so there will be food in my house. Test me in this," says the Lord All-Powerful, "I will open the windows of heaven for you and pour out all the blessings you need."
Back in the time the Bible was written, the church was also a storehouse for food, so that whenever a believer was in need, the church would help provide food for him and his family. It was the central point of the God-fearing community, so it was to everyone's benefit that the church would be able to help provide for those in need. Now in this day and age, people have moved far away from the church being the center of the community, but the church is still there for those in need, so those who attend bringing the tithe into their local church is still a vital part of being faithful.
I know what you're thinking. "If I give 10% fo my income, that only leaves me with 90% left. I'm barely making it as it is, so I don't see how tithing would work. The math doesn't support it." You know, that's why it's called faith. You have to trust that God's not going to leave you hanging out to dry if you follow through on something he's asked you to do. Many people often say that they'll start tithing when they get more money -- that bonus will come in, or they'll get the raise or the better job, or their home business will start doing a higher volume. Well, you know how it's often said that God's ways are not our ways? This is one of those times that takes effect. God's way when it comes to tithing is to tithe first, and then He will make sure you have what you need. The 90% of your gross income that's left after you've tithed will go farther than you ever thought possible.
However, it does require a couple things on your part.
One, you have to give cheerfully. You need to tithe not out of duty or obligation, but because you trust God and you're willing to give him control over this area of your life. And honestly, if you truly love God, the idea of tithing shouldn't be that difficult to swallow. So wrap your head and heart around the idea first.
Two, you need to give of the first fruits of your labor (Proverbs 3:9), which means that you need to be able to give that tenth of your income FIRST, before anything else gets paid. Do you have bills? Mortgages? Car loans? Utilities? We all do. And yet, God is asking you to TRUST HIM with your money by giving that tithe up first, and watch what he does with the other 90 percent.
I'll tell you, without going into a whole lot of detail (it would take up a ton of your time), that most of the great breakthrough stories I've heard of people finding God's favor through their willingness to tithe has happened when they gave the full tithe first, even when they wouldn't have enough money after paying it to cover a bill, or to buy groceries. And in each instance, they had to give the tithe first, and then God worked their circumstances so that He was able to provide them with what they needed, usually in abundance.
Three, your heart needs to be in the right place, namely a place of complete trust in God. I honestly believe that most Christians that aren't tithing cheerfully or from their first fruits are missing out on the greatness of God moving in their lives because they haven't come to the point of being able to trust God for everything they need. One of the names of God is Jehovah Jireh - "The Lord has provided" - and we often forget that. We look at our ability to earn money and we think our financial net worth hinges on that alone, but one thing I've found out is that you simply cannot out-give God. So try this. If you want to tithe but you're not comfortable with 10 percent, try giving 5 percent. Give it cheerfully, and give it first -- set that amount aside and don't touch it -- and once you're more comfortable, increase that percentage until you're at the 10 percent mark.
Folks, it comes down to a heart condition. God knows your heart and your intentions, and he'll honor you in that. Once you hit 10 percent or more, then you'll really see his blessings flow in a big way.
Four, remember that you have nothing to lose, because this is the only command God gives us and also tells us that we can test him in it. Re-read Malachi 3:10; God specifically says, "Try me." I don't know about you, but I think that's significant. God knew from the very start that our souls and emotions would be tied up in our financial self-worth, and if you doubt that, just start a conversation about the state of the economy, the stock market, the real estate market, or the U.S. government's so-called "bailout" program, and see how people react. Why do you think God chose this specific area of obedience for us to test Him?
My wife and I are now at the point where we're tithing at 11 percent, but we're now at the point where we're giving it of our first fruits. My wife has been in charge of the finances for a few years, but there have been times where we've floated the tithe from week to week because we knew that we weren't going to have the money to cover certain expenses. We weren't trusting God completely. Well, we found out through several accounts from different people that when you put God first and give him what is rightfully his anyway before you earmark your funds for other things, he will do some great and unexpected things for you.
Here's an example. I had officiated a wedding vow renewal in January, and it was my first time doing so. When the event was over and I was getting ready to go, Cindy, the bride, approached me and asked me how much I owed her. I had to take off from my DJ job to do this ceremony, so that was about $130 of income I wasn't going to get, but I'd never talked with her about charging her for officiating. I didn't feel right about taking money for something I'd never done before, and I told her that I just felt like I was cutting my teeth that night, so I wasn't going to ask for any money. She insisted, but I told her that if they hit a huge jackpot (they were going to Vegas for their 2nd honeymood), to set some aside for me. Otherwise, I wasn't going to accept anything.
A few weeks ago, my wife was in church (I was working elsewhere in the building), and she had 2 tithe checks written out, and she was seriously thinking about holding one of them until the following week, but she decided to put both of them into the offering when the buckets came by. After the 2nd morning service, Cindy, the bride who'd asked me to officiate, called down to me from the balcony. "Catch," she said, and dropped an envelope down to me. I picked it up and asked her what it was for. "Just a gift for you to say thanks," she replied, and I thanked her. After she left, I opened the envelope and found a check for $75.00 inside. My wife asked me what it was, and I told her.
"Huh," she said.
"What?" I replied.
"That's the exact amount of one of the tithe checks I put in this morning," she said, "and I almost didn't put it in."
This type of thing has been hapening more and more, and our pastor decided he would initiate a 3-month tithing challenge. He's asking people to sign up for this challenge who haven't been tithing, and at the end of the 90 days, if they haven't seen God working great things in their lives as a result of them tithing faithfully, Pastor Daren will gladly refund every penny that they have given. It's literally a no-lose scenario.
I think that our church is going to see a lot of people get in on this who think they won't have anything to lose, but still don't have the right heart condition and are doing this for the wrong reasons. On the other hand, I know we're going to see people experience a great breakthrough in their lives because they are doing this with the right motivation -- and that is that they love God and want to please him.
In the end, that's what everything comes down to.
Kim can tell you this first hand. I'm editing an interview I shot with Kim, and when it's done, I'll upload it to my YouTube channel so you all can see it. But trust me, this tithing thing works, as long as your heart is in it.
There Is No Box.