I am going to take some time, right now, to discuss a very controversial topic. It has become controversial, but it really shouldn’t be. I am going to discuss tithing, or the practice of taking ten percent of everything you make and giving it away, first, before you do anything else with your money. I am not talking about generosity in general; I am talking about tithing in particular. Tithing is not “generosity.” Tithing is required. There is an entire principle based on generosity. For now, let’s discuss taking the first ten percent of everything you make and giving it away. I can see those of you who know about tithing with your eyes glazing over, but stick with me now. Those of you who haven’t heard about tithing are going to get a very important lesson. It will have a direct impact on your future financial prosperity.
Tithing is a Christian principle. Christians are taught to “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops, then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.”cxx It is something that everyone needs to do in order to get yourself on track with your money and finances. Let’s look at some facts about tithing. You will quickly see, that although it is beneficial, it is not commonly practiced:
- Only six percent of people who claim to be Christian actually tithe.
- In the average church, seventeen percent of church attendees say they tithe, but only three percent actually do.
- Forty percent of people will give nothing to their church this year.
- Twenty percent of those who attend church contribute seventy-five percent of the resources.
- Ninety-one percent of people who attend church make more money than they ever have in their life.cxxi
With numbers like these, it’s no wonder so many people’s financial lives are such a mess. Why are these numbers so bad? Why don’t people tithe? I have uncovered four of the main reasons that people don’t tithe:
Ignorance: They just don’t know about it, or they aren’t sure if it “works.”
Fear: They are fearful that if they give away that ten percent, they won’t have enough to live on.
Greed: They just want more of everything and are unwilling to give it up.
Uncertainty: They just don’t think their small amount will make a difference, or have an impact.
So, what happens when you tithe? How can I confidently stand behind the promise that the Bible makes about tithing? “‘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 you will not have room enough for it.’”cxxii
You will gain freedom! Without realizing it, many of us have become slaves of our possessions. Tithing will release you from that burden and you will be able to put what you own in its proper prospective.
You will be able to take chances. When you fully grasp the power of tithing, you will begin to realize that you can trust the outcome. “Remember this – you can’t serve God and money, but you can serve God with money.”cxxiii
You will start on the road towards living a truly generous life. There is an entire Principle of Generosity, but this is where it begins. Tithing is learning to take that first step towards generosity.
Following rules will become easier. If you can get yourself to part with money, then the other principles and rules outlined in this program, will become much easier to follow.
You will develop discipline that will spread into all areas of your life. Developing the consistent behavior of tithing will help you in saving more money and taking the other actions necessary to bring success into your life.
You will become a better steward of everything in your life. You will see that you have been entrusted with resources. It is your responsibility to use those resources correctly. As you improve, you will be trusted with even more.
You will begin to experience financial abundance in your life. By tithing on a consistent basis, you are teaching your brain that there is more than enough. When you continue to tithe at higher and higher levels of income, your brain begins to recognize that there really is no shortage and you begin to receive more.
I know that many people need more in their lives; I also know that many people want more in their lives. The answer is in tithing. Learn to tithe and you will have more. “Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”cxxiv In other words, learn to tithe and you will have more. Just take this one action and make it a habit, then it will become effortless.
Avoid worrying about if your tithe is enough. It is what is happening in the heart and mind that matters most. Some people believe that God only blesses those who give the most. This is entirely wrong thinking. It’s not about having a lot of money that makes the difference. If you read the story about the widow’s offering,cxxv you will clearly see that attitude and willingness are much more important than amount. You do not have to be the one who gives the most or work the hardest to get His attention. Just learn to tithe with the right attitude.
The right attitude consists of being cheerful and not giving reluctantly, but because it is the right thing to do.cxxvi Make sure that when you give, you are not worrying about what you will get in return. Tithe with no thought of compensation. You should not be expecting to get anything back. So, tithe with a good attitude and tithe with your heart.
Before I end this section on tithing, I would like to mention a few more things. First, do not listen to advice about
tithing from someone who doesn’t believe in tithing. “Listen carefully to what I am saying and be wary of the shrewd advice that tells you how to get ahead in the world on your own. Giving, not getting, is the way.”cxxvii You don’t have to “claw” your way to the top and you don’t have to “look out for number one.” You just have to tithe.
Lastly, you may have “tried” tithing in the past and it didn’t “work.” Maybe you did it for two weeks; maybe even a year. Tithing is not something you do for a little while. It is a lifetime commitment. You must tithe when everything is going great; you also must tithe, even when it looks like you can’t afford to. You will be richly blessed.
Michael at R2W