At Liberty we say, “It’s not just church… it’s life!” Our Life Track series was all about a pathway for you to get your spiritual life on track. The next step on this journey is generosity. Generosity, too, is a lifestyle. It is something we want FOR you and not FROM you. Nothing brings more joy on earth and more blessing in heaven than generosity. Last week, we talked about starter and steady givers. Today, we will look at what it means to be a scriptural giver and live a biblical lifestyle of generosity.
Both the Old and New Testaments teach proportional giving and that God cannot be second. In Exodus 13:1-2, “…the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Consecrate to Me all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and beast; it is Mine.’” This is one example showing that God owns everything. All that we have is on loan from Him. He wants the first. Cain and Abel brought offerings to God, but God accepted Abel’s and rejected Cain’s. Why? Abel brought the firstborn. Cain brought some of his crops, not the firstfruits. It is not that God won’t accept less, it is that He can’t. God can’t lie. God can’t change. And, God cannot be second. A good rule of thumb is the “First Principle.” Give God the first hour of every day (spending time in the word and in prayer), the first day of every week (attending church regularly), and the first dime of every dollar (tithing what we earn).
Some people argue that tithing is Old Testament and we are not under the law. The fact is, tithing existed before the law. 400 years before the law, Abraham gave 10% to God. Tithing was an act of love before it was an act of law. Tithing is also after the law. In Matthew 23:23, Jesus said there are four things we should not neglect: justice, faith, mercy, and tithing.
Tithe means first ten. We don’t pay our bills and then give God the leftovers. Why? It takes faith to give the first tithe. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Think of the 10-10-80 rule. Give God 10%, save 10%, and live off 80%. Too many people are living beyond their means. They give God 0%, save 0%, and live off 125%! God asks His people to be generous in proportion to what He has given. If you have nothing, you give nothing. If you have a little, you give a little. If you have a lot, you give a lot, as God has prospered you. There is no exclusion clause. No one is too rich or too poor. There is no pressure like financial pressure! Money is the number one reason for divorce. People who tithe will tell you, God just makes things last longer, go farther, and He blesses you in ways you can’t put a price on when you put Him first! The only place in Scripture we are challenged to put God to the test is over tithing. Try it!
Money lies. It gives you false promises. Many think that money makes you secure and insulates you from problems. That is simply not true. It is ok to have money, but it is not good for money to have you. Malachi 3:10-11 says, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes….’” Don’t let your money control you. Don’t believe the lies it tells. Give the first tenth to the Lord. There is great blessing when we tithe. He can make 90% go further than you can make 100% go. Had you rather have a blessed 90% or a cursed 100%?
God saw the greatest need and He is the greatest giver. I was a sinner with the greatest need. Jesus gave His life for me. When we live a biblical lifestyle of generosity by tithing, we are saying that Jesus is Lord of all. I give because I want to obey Him and please Him, out of love. It is not what I have to do, but what I get to do!