Psalm 50:12 says, “If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is Mine, and all it contains.” This answers the question: does God need our giving or tithing? So why does He command us to give? One reason, as with all His commands, it is for our good and for His glory.
Tithing in the Old Testament was a command in which the people were required to give a small percentage to God and keep a large percentage for themselves. In light of new covenant teaching it is easy to see that giving God a tithe is not what He is asking and expecting from us. Will we ever come into a life of freedom, joy and fellowship if we live a life of tithing our money, time, love…?
We know that God is the most cheerful, gracious and generous giver (2 Cor 9:7, Romans 8:32, James 1:5) and we saw that perfectly manifested throughout the life of Jesus. Is there any hope for us who continue to be confronted by our selfish attitudes and choices? Yes! 2 Corinthians 9:8 promises “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;”
What are some of the “good deeds” our Father has planned for us:
- Giving genuine unfeigned love toward others. 1 Peter 5:14
- Giving out of our poverty. Luke 21:1-4
- Giving to the small needs of our brothers and sisters. Matthew 10:40-42
- Giving, expecting nothing in return. Luke 6:31-36
What a challenge and opportunity all of these examples of giving are. May we have the persistent faith to receive the promise of 2 Corinthians 9:8 in our lives and see our stinginess and selfishness removed and replaced with the cheerful, gracious and generous giving nature of our Father!
Please read 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 where Paul is encouraging the people in Corinth through the example of “the churches of Macedonia.” (8:1) Who were these people and why did Paul use them as an example?
Deep in the heart of these poor, afflicted brothers was a divine desire to give out of their poverty. They “begged Paul with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints.” (8:4) Usually, it’s the preacher begging the church to give, here it is the church begging for the opportunity to give.
“…they first gave themselves to the LORD..” (8:5) Remember the rich young ruler who went away sad when Jesus asked him to give. (Mark 10:22) Not so with these cheerful givers who didn’t have to grit their teeth to give but did so because they had first given, not tithed themselves to the Lord.
Our giving is “acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.” (8:12) and our giving “is not for the ease of others and for our affliction.” (8:13) Here is a great picture of a family giving and receiving, receiving and giving so that the need of the moment is met through mutual generosity.
What was the result of this giving? “For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God.” (9:12)
Many times our family has experienced the cheerful, gracious, generous giving from our brothers and sisters. Sometimes it is a hot meal unexpectedly delivered to our front door. As we gather around the table, in those times, what has filled our hearts is an overflowing of many thanksgivings to God for His lovingkindness and for our brothers and sisters. If we obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit and give in the little circumstances we experience “the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:35