Saturday, January 23, 2010
Getting a Foothold on Finances ~ Part 2
In part one of this series, I discussed the why behind our finances and some godly perspectives of giving. Today I would like to discuss tithing. If you are a Christian, one of the first areas of proper handling of your finances should be tithing. The Bible lays out at least 10% of our income. Now, that should be before taxes are taken out and not on the net income. Just because our government chooses to take too much of our money every month, does not negate the fact that the Lord requires and more importantly deserves the "first fruits" of everything we bring in. The fact is, God has given us all things. Whatever finances that come in are all from His hand and provision. He only requires a minimal amount from all He has given us. Now, one thing I would like to say is that 10% should just be the starting point. If we count our giving to God down to the very penny and then feel we have "checked" the box of our "righteous acts" then we are missing the point altogether. God deserves to have us give out of gratitude and that should be with an attitude of love and cheerfulness. "God loves a cheerful giver." That means praying about areas where God would lead you to give. That means before you buy that next item that is not a necessity, asking the Lord what He might have you do with that money. In our western culture we are surrounded by affluence. Even in these hard economic times, our country is worlds apart from most of the world. We can get clean water and most of us never know what it is like to go hungry at night. Most Americans have more than one TV and more than one vehicle. We have a roof over our heads and clothes in our closets and yet, there are children around the world dying from poverty. There are a thousand ways to use our finances to advance the love of Christ. And once you give to your local church, finding ways to give to others would be a way for you to store up treasures in heaven. Some of the places we give are Voice of the Martyrs (the persecuted church), the Joshua Fund ( helping misplaced Jews and others that have lost their homes in Israel), Compassion International (adopting a child financially with a once a month gift), and there are many others. Some may say that to talk about tithing when one is in debt is a little misplaced. After all, how can one tithe when they are already financially strapped? If it is absolutely impossible to give 10% of your income now, then give what you can. But, start giving. Once you do, you will reap the benefits of an obedient heart. I am not one of these people who go for the "name it and claim it" mentality. To say that you will get wealth from tithing is just not scriptural. Remember the widow who gave all she had in the Bible? The point is not that she became rich monetarily...but that she was rich spiritually. She gave out of the abundance of her love. And yes, I do believe God will bless when we do. It may not be with an influx of money, but it will be something far greater, something that one only experiences when they are obedient to God. God does not ask us to give because He needs the money. He owns a cattle on a thousand hills! God asks us to give for our good. It causes us to be thankful. It causes us to shake off some of our selfish attitudes. It will help us to view money as a tool for the kingdom rather than a means to fulfill our wants. God's ways are always good. So, if you don't already, start giving today. And if you know you do not have a cheerful attitude in it, give anyway. Pray and ask the Lord to give you a heart transplant in the area of giving and see how He will bless!
Until next time!