Today we continue our series, “Progress On Purpose.” I told you that God wants us to walk in “NEW LEVELS IN 2021!” But if we are going to do so, we must be intentional about our progress. With that in mind, as we lay the foundation for the year, I told you that I would discuss “Leveling Up” in five areas:
We have covered the first one thus far. As we get into the second, leveling up financially, I will break this down into the following five topics:
1. Soul Prosperity & the Answer to Poverty
2. Tithes and Offerings
3. Sowing into Ministry
4. Giving to the Poor
5. The Purpose of Prosperity
Today we will cover the second one. Let’s get into it.
So what does this mean for you today? I will break this up into two parts: 1) The tithe and 2) Offerings.
Part 1: The Tithe
1. Tithing is about honoring God.
First of all, I will say that to me, after having studied the Bible for over 25 solid years, it is my conviction that tithing is not actually part of your “giving” per se. Tithing is simply honoring God in the area of your finances. After you tithe, and after you bring your money in covenant with God, then whatever you sow above and beyond the tithe is what I consider to be giving.
2. Tithing involves God in your finances.
Most believers have areas of their lives that are not fully submitted to God. Some people don’t involve God in their work. Others leave God out of their business. Some don’t welcome God into their decision-making process. Others leave God out of their marriage. Whatever the case, if you have an area of your life where you have not actively invited God IN, then He will remain OUT. God will not force Himself upon you. God’s involvement in your life, in whatever area, must be an act of your free will. If God ever forced you to do something, then you would not be doing it out of your free will, and it would therefore NOT be an act of submission. Understanding that point, I can tell you that many believers leave God out of their finances.
I know many good people, with good hearts and good intentions, who ask me to pray for them about a financial situation they find themselves in. They want God to bless them financially. They want God to “come through” for them. But when I ask them if they are tithers, they go silent. They don’t like the question because it is putting a spotlight on them and their decisions. Whether they like the question or not, God has set up the earth to function on a system of sowing and reaping, cause and effect, and the free will of humans. In this system, our decisions and actions matter. God will allow whatever we allow. God will permit whatever we permit. If we don’t get God involved in our finances, He won’t get involved.
3. Tithing is about giving God FIRST PLACE.
(Proverbs 3:8,9 ERV)
9 Honor the Lord with your wealth and the first part of your harvest.
10 Then your barns will be full of grain, and your barrels will be overflowing with wine.
— Tithing is not just about giving 10% of whatever comes into your hands, but it is about giving God the FIRST 10%.
— You give God the FIRST! You give God the BEST! Because you are doing it to HONOR HIM!
4. Quick testimony.
When I was Born-Again, I came to God after making a series of poor decisions financially. As a result, I was a new Christian, but I was living paycheck to paycheck, and I was barely making enough to pay my bills. I wanted to tithe, but I actually did not make enough money, as a Staff Sergeant in the US Army, to pay the bills that I had and to tithe. If I tithed, I was going to have to get behind on my bills. So I went to my Pastor at the time, Richard B. Peoples Sr. I love this man. He taught me so much. I sat in his office and cried because I told him that I could not tithe. He loved me enough to tell me the truth. He said, “Son, you say that you cannot afford to tithe. I tell you that you cannot afford NOT TO!”
After much prayer, I decided to get a second job working at Blockbuster video. I worked a second job, so that I could have enough to honor God and still pay my bills. I did this long enough to get to the point where I could drop the second job.
All these years later, I have never ONCE stopped tithing; never ONCE skipped a paycheck. I take this seriously, and God has honored my commitment to honor Him. Isabella and I are truly blessed financially. We honor God with the FIRST 10%, and we give generously way beyond that, by the grace of God.
Tithing is important! Please put your money in covenant with God.
5. Everything you have came from God anyway!
(1 Chronicles 29:14 ERV)
All these things didn’t come from me and my people. All these things come from you. We are only giving back to you things that came from you.
In 1 Chronicles 29, King David collected the resources required to build God’s temple. The Lord had already told him that he would bring the resources together, and his son, Solomon, would oversee the building project. While David was looking at everything the people gave as an offering to the Lord for the building project, he saw gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, precious stones in many colors, marble, and many other offerings. David was overwhelmed with the magnitude of the offering. But the king also knew that God Himself had blessed the people to be able to give. This caused David to say to the Lord, “All these things didn’t come from me and my people. All these things come from you. We are only giving back to you things that came from you.” This is the essence of our giving. God blesses us richly and we then get to participate in the blessing of giving back to God from the things He freely gave to us.
5. Abraham brought a tithe.
Abraham was a blessed man. The Lord’s promised blessing was on Abraham. Abraham’s journey with the Lord began in Genesis 12, and by chapter 13, the Lord had already made Abraham rich in cattle, silver, and gold. In chapter 14, the Lord blessed Abraham to experience a great victory. As a result of the victory, Abraham had access to many spoils. So Abraham brought one-tenth (a tithe) of the spoils to Melchizedek. Melchizedek was both the king of Salem and a priest of the Most-High God. Hebrews 7 teaches us that Melchizedek was a man without a father or mother, and he was a perpetual priest, like Jesus Himself.
Although the Blessing of the Lord was already on Abraham, when Abraham brought the tithe, Melchizedek blessed him. Melchizedek received the tithe, and as a priest of the Most-High God, He released The Blessing over Abraham.
In the Old Testament, the Levitical Priests received the tithe and released The Blessing. Under the new Covenant, the writer of Hebrews teaches us that Jesus is a perpetual priest after the order of Melchizedek. Now, Jesus Himself receives our tithes as New Covenant believers. When we bring the tithe today, we bring it into the church, we present it before God, and we release the tithe to Jesus. Jesus, as our High Priest forever, receives the tithe and releases The Blessing.
6. Tithing today.
— The practice of tithing and giving offerings is documented in scripture both before and after the Old Covenant of The Law. It is, therefore NOT limited to The Law. As New Covenant believers, we give tithes and offerings as part of our spiritual covenant with the Father.
— Under the Old Covenant, people were cursed unless they did everything just right, remembered every detail, and did not leave out any steps in the process of following the letter of The Law. But thankfully, today, we are under grace, and Jesus’ blood delivers us from any curse (Galatians 3:13). We are blessed to give as we are led of the Holy Spirit. Not tithing will not cause God to place us under the curse.
— The concept of giving and tithing is not based on money itself; it is about trust. When we give, it is no longer just giving money—we are authenticating our trust in God, and we are then in a position to experience God’s best in every area of our lives.
I thought I was going to get to offerings today, but I have already shared enough. We will stop here.
Declaration of Faith:
Father, You have blessed me richly. Everything I have came from You. Giving back is not something I’ve got to do; it is something I GET to do! I am honored to be able to give back to You from what You have first given to me. So, I honor You with the first tenth of ALL my increase. Beyond that, I am led of Your Spirit to give financial offerings and I do so with a cheerful heart. I don’t give because I am afraid of being cursed. I don’t give because I am obligated to give. I give because I love You, and I am thankful to be able to sow into Your Kingdom. My giving authenticates my trust. My giving proves to You that I can be trusted to fund Your Kingdom projects. Therefore, Father, You are free to give to me in abundance. The more I receive, the more I give, all for Your glory! Living this way, I LEVEL UP in 2021, and I know GREATER IS COMING FOR ME! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is Today’s Word. Apply it and prosper!