SPOKEN PRAYER: Out loud, pray for God to speak to you through your reading. Praise God for giving us His word. Ask the Spirit to help you read with faith, and to live out what you hear from God through the passage.
Honoring God with 10% or 100%
by Pastor Dave Mann
This passage is often used to encourage people to tithe their income (to give 10%). Others counter the use of Malachi 3 in this way with Christians because it comes from the Old Testament. “Jesus never emphasized tithing,” some say, “He preferred to highlight compassion.” Yet Jesus actually did emphasize justice, mercy, and compassion, all the while saying that we should not neglect tithing (Matthew 23:23). And round and round it goes.
Let me share how tithing set me free from the Law and led me to grace. When I first started earning my own income, I knew about tithing and I tried to give 10%, but I attempted to give it several weeks after I had my paycheck in my bank account. My, my, my! How difficult it was to pry that offering out of my grip! It was as though those dollars had grasped me. That money had me in its clutches. What I did give was not given as first fruits, and it was not a joyful thing to do at all. (See Proverbs 3:9 and 2 Corinthians 9:7) When I didn’t manage to give a full tithe, I was filled with guilt. When I did manage to give 10%, I was proud of myself. Take your pick – guilt or pride. Neither one is part of the walk of faith. Sigh!
Finally, I decided to give 10% as soon as I received the paycheck, before it even became a deposit. It went to the Lord before I knew what the month would hold for me. It was a gift of faith, that no matter what the coming month held, I would trust the Lord to see me through it. I discovered that this was the way I could give with joy, without pride, and without resentment.
I came to understand that the giving of a tithe was not just for the 10%, but it was also about dedicating the remaining 90% to use in God-honoring ways. So tithing has become much more than one-tenth of income; it is now the gateway into offering up the entire 100%.
The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. O Lord, you own it all! By your grace, allow you people to honor you with our first fruits and to give to you cheerfully. May we worship you with glad hearts! Amen.