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Tithing

Malachi 3:8-12

8 “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.

“But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’

“In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me.

10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.

11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty. 12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty.

This is a very powerful scripture. I can vouch that every word is true because I have tested God on it.

Let's look at this scripture in detail.


Robbing God

God tells us that by not tithing, we are robbing Him (verse 8).

To “rob” means to steal. We could only steal something if it doesn't belong to us. So to rob God is to steal what belongs to Him.

Robbery vs Burglary

Why did God use the word “rob” and not “burgle” (burglary)?

Robbery is stealing done in front of the person being robbed. Burglary is stealing done without the person knowing (e.g. at night when the person is asleep, or when a house is left empty whilst the person is on holiday).

So when we rob God, we are stealing what belongs to Him right in front of His eyes because He sees everything.


God generosity - Floodgates

God says if we tithe (i.e. we give back what is really HIS anyway), He will open the floodgates of heaven to pour out so much blessing that there will not be enough room to store it (verse 10).

What happens when we stand in front of a floodgate which is then opened?

    • We would be drenched by the flood water that flows;

    • We may have to swim in it, or else we drown.

God uses “floodgate” to express the size of gate that is holding back the (equally enormous) blessings which He wants to unleash on us when we tithe. When He does, we will swim or drown in His blessings.

Not only that, there is more than just one floodgate. God referred to "floodgates" in the plural! So we will be swimming and drowning in His blessings multiple times over. What a picture!

Motive of the Tithing Heart- "TEST ME"

But is it right to tithe with the motive of obtaining floodgates' worth of blessings?

The answer is surprisingly "Yes" (at least at the initial stage of tithing).

But why?

It is because God says "Test Me in this" (verse 10).

It’s the only place in the Bible where God says "Test me". All the other places in the Bible often read Do not test the Lord your God (Deuteronomy 6:16, Matthew 4:7, Luke 4:12, for examples).

Since God has given us the permission to test Him - to see if He would not open the floodgates of heaven to pour so much blessing that we would not have enough room to store it - then we can expect to receive these blessings He speaks of when we tithe. God never says anything He doesn't mean.


How much is tithe?

The origin of tithing can be found in the story of Abraham (Genesis 14 & 15). After winning the battle against Lot’s enemies to rescue Lot, Abraham gave a tenth of everything in gratitude to God for helping him win his battle. So tithing is 10% of our increase.

Abraham’s story is amazing. After Abraham tithed, God made a covenant with him – promised him a child, land, and that Abraham’s name would become great. Even to this day, the average person on the street, believers and non-believers alike would have heard of Abraham!

How much should we give?

God says bring the “WHOLE” tithe (verse 10). This means we should give the whole 10%. Anything more is offering; anything less, we would still be robbing God.

The tithe belongs to God, it is not ours. So when we "give" tithe, we are actually not giving, we are "returning" to God what belongs to Him.


How should we give?

God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7). We should give with a cheerful heart.

Initially, we can give with a testing heart as we test God. But when God passes that test, He would have done so in such a way that our hearts are touched deeply, changing our motive to tithe – no longer do we tithe with a testing heart, but we tithe with a loving heart instead. In other words, we no longer care whether or not God will bless us through our tithing, we want to tithe anyway! We love Him so much, we wouldn’t want to do differently.

When we tithe with a reluctant heart, it is detestable to God. It is as loathsome as if we give someone an ice cream on a dirty dustbin lid. There is nothing wrong with the ice cream, but the way it is given (on a dustbin lid) makes it detestable and unacceptable.

The heart with which we give our tithes matters to God deeply. After all, why should we be reluctant to return to God what belongs to Him? It is His, it is not ours. Moreover, this is God's heart: if we return what belongs to Him, we get so much blessing that there won't be enough room to store it all! What an illogical logic that only a truly generous God could muster! Think about it! So why would anyone want to tithe with reluctance? It would make no sense!

Should we tithe to a church who is misusing the money?

Even though our tithing money is given to a church (per se), tithing is between us and God, not between us and the church. It is based on our relationship with God. If there is corruption in the church, someone will have to account for that to God one day, and it is their relationship with God that is at stake.

Beware that by worrying about how the church will use the money, the reluctance to tithe may start to creep into our hearts, thus rendering our tithing detestable to God.


Should we be giving tithes when we can’t afford to?

Too many bills to pay, too many mouths to feed, etc.

This is a Catch 22 situation: we don’t tithe because we can’t afford to; we can’t afford to because we don’t tithe. We need to break this circle – by starting to tithe!

If we wait until our circumstances get better before we tithe, we will never get there. There will always be something that will hamper us – remember we have an enemy who is working hard against us and God. Put God first.

Be inspired by the woman who gave her last 2 coins (Mark 12:41-44, Luke 21:1-4). Not only did she give out of poverty, but she gave all she had - that means - not 10%, but 100%! God’s heart will melt to see us give out of our poverty.

Tithing is about obedience, honour, and love. When we honour God, God honours us by keeping His promise to bless.

How can we tithe if we do not have a job?

We tithe with our time and our gifts. Do what we can for the church/the body of Christ, and help to advance the Kingdom of God by sharing the gospel with the lost, and showing them the love of Christ.

Whether working a paid job or not, we should tithe our time to God. Not just in terms of working for Him, but daily time alone with God is a form of tithing (a show of love) to God.


Does God need the money?

NO. God can make money fall out of the sky and make everybody rich (just as He caused manna to fall from the sky to feed the Israelites - Exodus 16). But that is not the point, it is all about being obedient to God, honoring God, and loving God. Tithing is returning what is His. It is not giving.

Obedience causes God to shower us with blessings. He longs to do this, but we have to do our part. God works under the principle of TO us and THROUGH us. He blesses us, and we bless others with the blessings that God has given us. God does not want the blessing to stop at us - or else they become stagnant, breeding in us greed and the fear of lack - which will lead to sin.

Do we tithe 10% from Gross or Net Income?

Most of us are paid on PAYE (Pay As You Earn) in which the government deduct tax due to us at source. This means that by the time we receive our salary, it would have already been taxed and so we receive NET pay.

GROSS (our original income) - TAX (for government) = NET (pay/income we receive in hand)

Many of us are confused whether to tithe 10% from GROSS income or from NET. If we are honest with ourselves, we would probably choose to tithe from NET because the tithe amount would be less (than if calculated from the GROSS income). In doing so, would we still be cheating God? Consider the following reasoning:

    • What we truly receive is GROSS income;

    • The Government gets TAX calculated from GROSS income, so why shouldn’t God get tithe from GROSS income as well? After all, God has done and will do so much more in our lives than any government ever could. Should we not love God more than the government?

    • The percentage of TAX is usually larger than 10%, taken at source. Yet, God's tithe at only 10% gets into our hand. He doesn't take tithe at source. He has done this to see if He could trust us to return it to Him.

Once I understood this, I could not continue tithing from NET. I love God too much. Tithing from GROSS is the least I could do.


Equations

So far, we have learnt that tithing is to give back to God 10% of our increase, and God had said that if we do this, He will shower us with so much blessing that we won’t have room enough to store it. Let’s look at this from a mathematical viewpoint.


MAN'S EQUATION - how man thinks (in World economy)

100% (mine) – 10% (mine) = 90% (mine)

This makes mathematical sense, but it is based on selfishness that everything is mine, mine, mine. It is also based on fear - that by giving the 10% back to God, we would only have 90% left which is less than the 100% we started with.


GOD'S EQUATION - how God thinks (in God's Kingdom economy)

100% (God’s) - 10% (God’s) > 90% (Yours, you get to keep it)

This does not make mathematical sense and looks too good to be true, but it is exactly how it works in the Kingdom of God because God is very generous. Here, the tithing is based on love and faith.

Connection to the Kingdom of God

The Kingdom of God works exactly opposite to the World.

The world live on FEAR that they won’t have enough, so they do not tithe. In doing so, they disconnect themselves from the Kingdom of God and are cursed (verse 9).

However, when we tithe in LOVE and FAITH, we connect ourselves to the Kingdom of God, allowing God to bless us abundantly, so much so that we will not have room enough to store it (verse 10). Our God is a faithful God, He will do this, He even asked us to test Him in this.

We are in the world, but should NOT be of the world. Therefore, we need to connect ourselves to the Kingdom of God, choosing blessings instead of curses.


Did Jesus do away with Tithing?

Many Christians want to believe that tithing is an Old Testament law, irrelevant to the new covenant with Jesus Christ. But they are so far from the truth. In Matthew 23:23, Jesus clearly stated that tithing should not be neglected, and emphasised the heart with which to tithe.

Matthew 23:23

23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.

END TIMES – Treasures in Heaven

What we have here on earth could all crumble tomorrow. We don’t take any of our wealth to the grave, but the good we do and say whilst on earth (including tithing and offering) we take with us. They are counted as treasures in heaven of eternal value. So we should be focusing on collecting such treasures rather than accumulating temporary wealth on earth. Just as Jesus said:

Matthew 6:19-20

Collect for yourselves treasures in heaven where moths & vermins do not destroy.

When we Tithe and give Offering with love, we are using our worldly wealth to collect treasures in heaven.


A Privilege

Finally, it is a privilege to tithe – to give back to God who already has everything (after all He created everything in the Universe). Thus, it is not a case that we have GOT to tithe, but that we GET to tithe! It is His way of letting us love Him which is indeed a privilege.


Inspirational Tithing Video

God's Pie: https://youtu.be/upmyrinWq64

My Testimonies - God's Word is TRUE!

Here is my personal journey of tithing in which I tested God and witnessed His astounding blessings upon my life:

His blessings also came in the form of crucial protection: