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Money TalkMay 22, 2023
A father gave his little girl two dollars and said, “You can do anything you want with one of the dollars, but the other dollar belongs to God.”
With joy she ran to the candy store. On the way she tripped, and one dollar fell into the storm drain. She got up and said, “Well Lord, there goes Your dollar.”
The greatest surprise of Mary’s life was receiving a dollar on her fourth birthday. She carried the bill about the house and was seen sitting on the stairs admiring it. “What are you going to do with your dollar?” her mother asked. “Take it to Sunday School,” said Mary promptly. Her mother asked if she wanted to show the dollar to her teacher?" Mary shook her head. “No,” she said. “I’m going to give it to God. He’ll be as surprised as I am to get something besides pennies.”
I teach that tithing, the giving away of 10% of one’s income is a spiritual discipline. A spiritual discipline is anything we do that draws us closer to God. The Bible says that tithing is the minimum an obedient Christian should give back to God (Leviticus 27:30, Malachi 3:10, and Luke 21:1-4 just to name a few).
So, if tithing draws us closer to God then there should be some significant signs that a tither’s faith is strengthened. Here is what I have found through the years. See if any of these sound true to you. I have never known a generous person to complain about how much money it takes to run a church. I have never known a family who tithed for any length of time who quit. I have never known a generous family that was not generally happy, but I have met many miserly people who were generally unhappy. It seems to me that most people who feel we talk too much about money, never really want to talk about money at all. Generous people enjoy talking about money, and the significant ways God can use our money to change the lives of others.
Here are some general insights that I have about giving your money away. First, it isn’t your money, everything you have is given to you by God, and He lets you keep 90%. Tithing is really not about giving money away at all, it is about trust. Do we really trust God to provide for all our needs as He promises throughout the Bible (e.g. Malachi 3:10)? A tithe is a Biblical command, not a suggestion because otherwise money becomes an idol. God hates idols. The woman with the two copper coins gives away 100% of all that she has (Mark 12:44). That is a sacrificial gift. Have you ever given away a sacrificial gift?
The day the church treasurer resigned the church asked the local grain elevator manager to take the position. He agreed under two conditions: 1) That no treasurer’s report would be given for the first year, 2) That no questions be asked about finances during that year. The people were surprised but finally agreed since most of them did business with him and he was a trusted man.
At the end of the year he gave his report: The church indebtedness of $228,000 has been paid. The minister’s salary had been increased by 8%. The denominational gifts had been overpaid by 200%. There were no outstanding bills. There was a cash balance of $11,252!
Immediately the shocked congregation asked, “How did you do it? Where did the money come from?”
He quietly answered: “Most of you bring your grain to my elevator. Throughout the year I simply withheld ten percent on your behalf, and gave it to the church in your name. You didn’t even miss it!” “Do you see what we could do for the Lord if we were all willing to give at least the tithe to God, who really owns it?” So, the new treasurer had made his point.
Do you like to talk about giving your money away? What is the most money you have ever given away at one time? What are your greatest idols that make you afraid to give God back 10%? Do you trust God to take care of all your needs?
Here is a challenge that will change your life. Try tithing for one month and test God as He asks you to do in Malachi 3:10, “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.’” (To find out more about Al Earley or read previous articles see, www.lagrangepres.org).