Reading Scripture: Malachi 3:8-10
Verse to Memorize: Malachi 3:10
Reference: Matthew 6:21
Goal: to help believers understand that the authority of all material things belongs to God the Creator and to explain how to receive true blessings through giving whole tithes and offerings
Tithe is the indication of acknowledgement and belief that the authority of all our material possessions뾦ncluding our income뾟elongs to God the Creator. While living on the earth, we can manifest our love for God by offering up money which may be likened to our life itself. Giving a tithe is a deed of faith that shows the giver is God’s child just as keeping the Sabbath is. In other words, it is a proof that demonstrates before God he has faith. Therefore, a tithe is related to salvation.
1. The Importance of a Tithe
A tithe is ‘a tenth’. It is a tenth of our income derived from our sources of income such as our business or workplace. It is paid as a contribution to God. All creation was made by God and every industry is based on the things God created. Thus, we give a tenth of our total income as recognition that all gains are given by God though they seemed to be earned through our efforts. This is the will of God and an action that indicates recognition of God’s sovereignty over all material things.
The biggest reason that we have to give a tithe is that it is a proof saying that we believe in God the Creator. Conversely, if we do not give a tithe, it serves as an evidence of unbelief in God, so whether one gives a tithe or not can work as the standard that decides his salvation. God gives us all things, yet He asks us to give Him only a tenth in return. Nevertheless, if we do not give the tithe, it is robbing God.
Malachi 3:8-9 reads, “Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you!”
The gravest sin among many sins is the sin of not believing in God the Creator and Jesus the Savior. God sent His only begotten Son to the earth for our salvation, and Jesus showed His love by giving up His own life for us. Then, what is the way we can express our hearts to God? By giving our valuable material possessions, we can exhibit our faith in and love for God. Of course, we can do so by worshipping in services, praying, praising, and working faithfully for His kingdom, but giving offerings is an expression of our love and faith because many people cherish money such that they identify money with their life (Ref. Matthew 6:21).
If you truly believe God, the minimal evidence of your belief is to give the tithe. Some people give a tithe just to receive blessing. Some others teach people that a tithe leads to blessing though it does not affect us. But even if we are faithful in volunteering for God’s kingdom, if we do not give a tithe, we cannot be saved. In the case of a new believer who has little faith, if he does not give a tithe, he may receive salvation but it will be just a shameful salvation.
The second reason why we have to give a tithe as a child of God is that we can receive blessings through this. The God of love does not command us to give a tithe because He wants to cause difficulties for His children. God says in Malachi 3:10, “‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test 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 a blessing until it overflows.'”
It tells us that God wants even people who doubt, have a lack of faith and reluctantly give offerings thinking, ‘Is it really true?’ to believe in God the Creator, to obey, and to receive blessings from Him. The financial support of the church that comes from the offerings must be directly connected with the ministry for souls’ salvation. It covers the salary of pastors and church’s full-time workers and the expenditure for mission works, events, sanctuary maintenance, and charitable works.
2. How to Give a Whole Tithe
To give a whole tithe, first of all, we need to set aside a tenth of our total income. Let’s just suppose one’s salary is 10,000 dollars. But tax, pension, and insurance premiums are deducted from the paycheck, and a take-home pay that remains after the deductions is just 8,000 dollars. If you deem the 8,000 dollars your earnings and offer up 800 dollars as a tithe, it is not the properly calculated one. You have to consider the full 10,000 dollars as your income. Additionally, the total income includes not only your cash income but also every kind of commodities that you gain. So, you must offer up a tithe if you are treated in dining or receive gifts and presents from others.
Also, a tithe should be given separately from thanks offerings or other offerings. If you give your tithe with the title of other offerings, it means that you treat what is God’s as your own. You must consecrate your tithe above all else when you make earnings. It is the fundamental rule of giving a tithe that you earmark money for tithe “off the top” first. If you reserve a tithe immediately after you gain earnings, you can stop yourself from skipping giving a tithe.
And you should give a tithe to a church that offers you spiritual bread. The church does not refer to the church building where you attend, but it is the place where you grow up spiritually. Of course, as for other offerings such as thanks offering and offering for the construction of sanctuary, you can give them to any church where your heart is willing.
In principle, you need to give a tithe with the giver’s name. If the money is your husband’s, you have to give it with his name on it and if it is the wife’s, it should be given with her name. This is because in Heaven the land, mansion, and rewards will be given to each individual.
But if a married couple runs a business together, they can give a single tithe in both names. Children should also give a tithe because they also receive special allowances and gifts on birthdays and holidays. They also get regular allowance from which parents should teach them how to give a tithe. But when they receive money for tuition fees or school materials it is not their earnings, so they do not have to give a tithe of them.
It is better for you to give the tithe at least once a month so that you won’t forget about it but you can give the whole tithe. It is good to give the tithe whenever income is produced or to give a tithe more than once a month. If you are a farmer or you have no fixed income, it does not matter to give a tithe once every few months and once a year.
What about a housewife who does not have a regular income? She may have some money for personal spending for time set aside with friends or enjoying leisure time. The expense has no direct link to housekeeping expenses, so it is her income. Thus, she can give a tithe of it. God promises us to pour out for us a blessing until it overflows, and protect our home, businesses, and workplaces if we give a whole tithe and offerings.
Then, what is the way to giving perfect offerings to God? ‘Offerings’ relate to all offerings we offer up to God aside from tithes. God tells us that not giving offerings as well as tithes is to rob God. This is an evidence of an absence of true faith.
Some people say, “I have nothing to offer up because I am penniless.” But no matter how little it is, if you give an offering with your love and heart, it is accepted. We must give God unflawed offerings just as we give unstained and spotless presents to others.
‘Giving a blameless offering’ means that the heart of the giver and the offering itself should be blameless. If you coercively and sparingly give it, God is not able to accept it joyfully. When you have a wall of sins against God, or when you are in conflict with brothers, your offering cannot be a source of joy to Him.
Therefore, if you have committed sins or have transgressions, you have to repent first, turn away from them, break the wall of sins, and make peace with neighbors. Then, you should give offerings. Also, not only the heart but also the offering itself should be without spot or blemish. It is desirable to exchange creased, ripped, or stained currency for new and clean bills. Also, it is not right that you give money that is ‘left over’ after you have spent as you please and that you give insincerely. You should set aside offerings from the outset of receiving your pay.
In giving offerings, we need to keep in our hearts that we must give them with an unchanging heart. If you reserve some money for thanks offerings you have to give it as thanks offerings, and offerings for the construction of the sanctuary as offerings of the construction. If you give to some donations with the money you assigned as vowed offerings for construction, you have not given the vowed offerings.
Offerings should be moved to the altar and receive a pastor’s prayer with his hand on it. When the pastor prays for it during the service, he consecrates it to God, and seals it as God’s. God can then accept it and give the offering-givers complete blessing.