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September 12, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“’Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,’ says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, ‘I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!”—Malachi 3:10 (NLT)
Tithing was one of the most indicative aspects of Israel's relationship with God. Throughout the Old Testament, including the proceeding passage from Malachi, we see God continually commanding His people to tithe. The word "tithe" literally means "a tenth," and it refers to a tenth of one's income that was to be dedicated towards the house and work of the Lord.
You may be thinking, The world is different now. We’re not Israelites under the law. Are we still commanded to tithe?
While we never see the term "tithe" directly applied to the Christian life in the New Testament, its principle of giving certainly transcends into the life of every believer (Acts 20:35). We even see the direct call to give to the Lord's house and work (1 Corinthians 9:13-14; 1 Timothy 5:17-18; Galatians 6:6; Romans 15:26-27). According to Billy Graham, today’s “passage brings out four points that we can apply to Christian giving: we should give individually, regularly, methodically, and proportionately.”
But there’s another should we must remember . . . We should give cheerfully! It’s a privilege to give back to God the first fruits from what He’s blessed us with, to show Him the honor, obedience, and trust He deserves, and to be able to participate in His work. It shouldn’t be a responsibility, but a response of love to the Lord and a deep desire in us to see His kingdom advance.
But how much do we give? The New Testament doesn’t specify. It really is between you and God. He knows your financial situation and He sees your heart. Paul says, “You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don't give reluctantly or in response to pressure” (2 Corinthians 9:7 NLT).
If you’ve never financially given before, read over Malachi 3:10–12. God is inviting you to put Him to the test. He is inviting you to receive an outpouring of provision and blessing . . . just ensure you’re giving your first fruit and not your leftovers.
Prioritize giving—make it the first thing you determine in your budget, and let everything else fall into place, because the Lord’s promise in Malachi 3 is as true today as it was then. And always remember to see it as a joy and privilege, not as an obligation that must be fulfilled. So, give cheerfully with a heart after God’s heart, knowing your generous giving is a sweet aroma to God, knowing that you’re honoring and worshiping Him, and knowing He will provide everything you need.
DIG: Read Malachi 3:10–12, Luke 21:1–4, 1 Corinthians 16, and 2 Corinthians 9.
DISCOVER: What’s your philosophy on giving? Do you know anyone who gives? How have you seen God working through their faithfulness? If you’ve never done so, ask them about God’s provision for them, about whether or not they’ve ever encountered financial hardships because of giving, and about their philosophy on giving.
DISPLAY: This week, try giving. Pray hard about it, give in accordance to what the Lord has put on your heart, and remember to do so cheerfully! See how you feel in the days that follow and whether or not you miss that money.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.