I remember with crystal clarity the period in my marriage when Diane and I struggled the most with money. Oddly, it had nothing to do with raising our daughters, even though their needs were seemingly endless, like food, clothes, braces, school supplies, gas, doctor visits, etc. No, the worst financial period we experienced was prior to having children. At the time, I was convinced that in order to get out of apartment living and be able to purchase a home, we needed to make some drastic changes. I took an extra job working weekends and evenings, but knew it wasn’t going to be enough. So I made the decision to stop giving to our church until we had enough saved for a down payment. That’s when it happened! Financially, it felt like we were trying to run up a greased slide in bowling shoes. Mathematically, spending less should equal having more, right? What went wrong? Sadly, it took me a while to figure it out. I eventually learned that when I decided that we couldn’t live on 90% of my income and chose to withhold my giving from God, my discontentment had caused me to rationalize stealing from God. Malachi 3:8 describes, from God’s perspective, what I was experiencing, “Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.” As crazy as it sounds, as soon as we started giving regularly again, we not only experienced contentment, but were also able to save enough for a down payment.
Unfortunately, it seems that my idea to withhold my giving is not unique in the church. Look at these 2018 statistics from NP Source:
- Tithers (those that give 10% of their income) only make up 10-25% of a congregation.
- On average, Christians give 2.5% of their income to churches; that’s less than the 3.3% people gave during the Great Depression.
- Only 1% of families that have an annual income of $75,000 or more donated 10% of their income.
Just to be clear, giving is NOT a salvation issue. It’s by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, that we find our eternal security. However, God does have our best interest at heart; He wants what’s best for us and God’s Word tells us that generosity breeds contentment. So why give? It may seem obvious to some, but the truth is that God doesn’t need our money; it’s all His. God gives us the opportunity to manage His resources, and tithing is an act of obedience that teaches us how to be generous and content. In the verses that follow in Malachi Chapter 3:10-11, God says, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test! Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them from insects and disease.” God is asking us to test Him in our giving. If you’ve never given before, start somewhere, try 2%. If you’re ready to test God in your giving, click here to see the options available at Sunridge.