(Photo: The Rock Church)
What is the fastest way to make a Christian squirm? Talk about tithing.
Yes, I do realize the national unemployment rate is 9 percent. Many people are upside down in houses they cannot afford, and gas prices and grocery bills keep climbing. We are watching our investments disappear and our retirement savings dwindle, and the pink slips keep rolling in.
So this is a lousy time to talk about finances, right? Wrong. It has never been more important for us to examine whether we are managing our finances with biblical perspective.
Personal finances are often the final frontier when it comes to godly conduct. You may be saved in your use of language, saved in the music you listen to, and saved in your consistent church attendance - but are you saved in your wallet?
Did you know that if you make $50,000 annually, you are in the top .02 percent of wealthy people in the world? Two-tenths of one percent! And if you make minimum wage in this country you are among the top 11 percent of wealthy people in the world. Let’s ‘fess up to this simple truth: if you live in the United States of America you are blessed by default. And each of us is accountable to God for the blessings He’s entrusted us with.
There are about 500 verses in the Bible about love. There are also about 500 verses about faith. Money, on the other hand, is addressed in more than 2,000 Bible verses. Two thousand! In fact, thirty percent of Jesus’ parables are about money. What do you think God is saying to us about the importance of this topic?
God addresses money frequently because He knows it’s what we treasure. How you treat your money says everything about your heart. Your heart follows your cash. Matthew 6:21 tells us, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Let’s be clear, God does not want your cash. He wants your heart; he wants you. Your giving is an indication of your surrender and obedience to Him. For those of you who do not tithe, God does not yet have your heart.
Tithe means ten percent. Tithing is taught inside and outside Old Testament law. People ask, “Do I give ten percent of my net income? Or ten percent of my gross? Can I give ten percent after I contribute to my manicure fund and my Starbucks habit?”
My answer is this: how much of your cash do you want God to bless? Do you want Him to bless your net income, your gross income, or the leftovers you toss His way when it’s convenient.
Do you want to receive all the blessings God has assigned for you? Not for personal, selfish gain but rather to fulfill God’s purpose for your life by sharing the gifts He has given to you? God blesses you so that you can bless others.
Take this simple money test:
* How are you being faithful with your finances today?
Your money is a tool that God has entrusted you with. Invest in the kingdom of God. Don’t waste your time with worldly accomplishments that bring personal gain and no eternal impact. When it comes to the blessings you have received, you are a conduit not a cul-de-sac.
*How can you be trusted with treasure in the future?
The amount of true riches that will be entrusted to you in the future is directly dependent upon how you handle your riches today. Luke 16:10, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.”
I challenge you to begin managing your finances with biblical perspective. I challenge you to remove the barriers that prevent you from receiving the multitude of blessings God has in store for your life.
Next, look for the blessings that will surely follow. I am not suggesting you’ll wake up to find a Bentley in your driveway. What I can say is that God will bless you. What does it mean to be blessed? Blessed equals happiness. And peace and happiness are two things that definitely cannot be bought.