“Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops. Then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.” Proverbs 3:9-10 (NIV)
We’ve all heard the word “tithe,” but what does it mean? Tithing means a tenth. From Abraham on down, people would take the first 10 percent of their income and give it back to God. Why?
- We tithe out of gratitude for the past. “God, I realize that everything I’ve achieved up to this point, anything I have, all belongs to you anyway. I want to give 10 percent back to you as an act of gratefulness.”
- We tithe to keep our priorities right in the present. Deuteronomy 14:23 says, “The purpose of tithing is to teach you to put God first” (TLB). It’s a reminder that God is really first in my life, and it helps me set my priorities.
- We tithe as a statement of faith for the future. When I write out the check or give the money, I’m saying, “God, you’ve taken care of me in the past, so I trust you and I’m giving this to you as a demonstration of my faith that you will provide in the future.”
We like to honor God with our leftovers. We say, “I’ll pay all my bills, and once I’ve got everything paid and if I have anything left over, I’ll give God a little tip.”
In Malachi 3:10, God gives us a challenge: “‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the Lord, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it” (NIV).
God is saying, “I dare you to put me first in every area of your life — including your finances — and see if I don’t bless you.”
What is the cost if we don’t do this?
Learn More About a Biblical Approach to Your Budget
Your finances are important to God. Saddleback Resources offers Managing Our Finances God’s Way, a seven-week, video-based study for small groups or individuals that will inspire you to live debt-free and/or manage finances in a way that enables you to respond to God’s calling on your life.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors. © Copyright 2011 Rick Warren.