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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Tithing Part 2 The First and the Best

Last time we spoke about the tithe.  This time, we will continue with this discussion.  We once heard a Christian say that she was going to send part of her tithe to help a particular animal.  Whereas this is a very worthwhile cause, this is wrong-minded.

Our tithe goes to the storehouse. That is the local church, period.  There are so many worthwhile organizations out there that we could never support them all.

Countless books on personal budgeting speak of working towards being able to give.  If by giving they mean giving above and beyond the tithe, they are spot on.  However, if they mean we do all these other things they list before we pay the tithe, they are simply wrong.

It is not just important that we tithe. It is also important that we tithe with a happy heart.  When Abel gave his offering to God, he gave with a happy heart.  He gave of the very best he had.  In ancient times, the fat of an animal was considered to be one of the very best parts.

Let’s face it, fat tastes good.  That is why we love it.  It is too bad it is bad for us.  But when the fat of an animal is mentioned along with tithes, offering, sacrifices, etc., it is meant to signify that the really best part is given.

The Bible does not spell out why God liked Abel’s gift but was not happy with Cain’s gift.  However, it is most likely that since the Bible points out that Abel gave of the firstlings and the fat thereof, Abel gave the first and the best.  It appears that Cain really did not try to give the best or the first.  He made a half-hearted effort at giving.  Most likely Cain was giving just enough to get by.  His heart was not in the giving.

And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.
And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?
If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
Genesis 4:3-7 KJV
This is David speaking now; years ago I felt God’s conviction to give.  However, since we have been under a tight budget most of our married life, it was very scary to give the first tenth knowing there was not enough money to pay all the bills, even if we didn’t give the tithe.

I would give it and then worry about how we were going to get by.  And, most of the time, we did not.  Finally, Suzanne and I discussed this and prayed about it and we decided that it wasn’t that God was not holding up His end of the bargain, it was that we, (really me, David) was giving and not really leaving it up to God.

When we give and let God handle the details, somehow He works it out for us.  Somehow, there is an unexpected check.  Maybe the power bill is lower for some reason.  Maybe we get a rebate we did not even know we had coming. 

We discovered that God truly is in control.  He is very rarely early, but NEVER late. We must give with the understanding that God is very much like Uncle Milton from the story we shared with you.  He does not need our money to do His work.  But, it is ALL His money.  We only take care of it for Him.

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