th Grade Sunday School class. They have had a significant positive influence in my life.
Consider was the prophet says:
Haggai 1:6-7 “You have planted much but harvested little. You eat but never have enough to be satisfied. You drink but never have enough to become drunk. You put on clothes but never have enough to get warm. The wage earner puts his wages into a bag with a hole in it. The LORD of Hosts says this: Think carefully about your ways.”
Does that describe how we feel sometimes? We plant and plant but harvest little. We put our wages in a "bag" but it seems like the bag has a hole in it. Wow, that just sounds like real life to me!
Why does all this happen to us financially? Consider another prophets words:
Malachi 3:9-11 “You are suffering under a curse, yet you—the whole nation—are still robbing Me. Bring the full 10 percent tithe into the storehouse so that there may be food in My house. Test Me in this way, says the LORD of Hosts. See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out a blessing for you without measure. I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not ruin the produce of your ground, and your vine in your field will not be barren, says the LORD of Hosts.” (For a complete study on Malachi, see: "Malachi: Finding Hope in the Midst of Adversity.)
These are sobering thoughts. We don't like to think about robbing God, yet many of us have done exactly that when we have failed to honor God with our tithes.
The scripture is clear that if we do not tithe to the storehouse (the local church) then we cannot be blessed by God in our finances. If our financial situation has been not as prosperous as we had hoped, we should consider our commitment to tithing. Once we begin to tithe faithfully, then we can watch the miracles that God does in our lives.
It is important that our commitment to tithing does not come from a heart that wants to gain something in return, but from a heart that simply wants to walk in obedience to the Lord. God looks on our hearts and knows our true motives. Even though receiving back from God may not be our motive, God has said that He will indeed bless us for giving. What a great God we serve.
We may think that we cannot afford to tithe, but we need to read those verses over again. They indicate that we cannot afford NOT to tithe. God protects us from financial harm when we tithe with a right heart attitude. God keeps the devourer away. When we fail to tithe, then we suffer the devastating effects of real life without the blessing of God to protect us.
When thinking about tithing, it is important to remember that the church’s expenses continue whether we happen to be present on a particular Sunday or not. Even if our schedule keeps us away for a couple of weeks, the church's electric bill still has to be paid. The pastor's salary still has to be paid. The benevolence programs for the poor and the outreach programs to the community are an ongoing need, even if we happen to miss church from time to time. Learning to tithe is also about learning to be faithful. God cannot bless unfaithfulness. We must learn to tithe consistently. The reality is that if we want the church to be there for us when we need it, we must be faithful to tithe even when we are not there.
Statistics tell us that senior adults are the most likely to tithe and many have done so for most of their adult lives. Statistics also tell us that only 1% of young adults under the age of 25 tithe. If we do not turn this trend around, many churches will not exist when young adults need them. Let each of us examine our own hearts and lives on this issue and respond in obedience to the Lord.