If you do not regularly give of your money, I understand. For many years of my Christian adult life, I had a death grip on my money. There were always bills, debt and my four children who went to day care among the other expenses parenting demands. Giving had to wait until all those things were checked off the list, then I would consider giving. Only, there was never anything left at the end. In fact, there seemed to never be enough month at the end of the money. How could I even think about giving when my family didn’t have enough?
There must be a lot of Christians with a similar mindset because the average church goer tithes a measly $17 a week. And 77% of those who tithe regularly, give well above 10% of their income. That translates into a few giving a lot and a lot giving little to nothing. This is not a guilt trip, but it will help explain how those faithful tithers can give so much more than 10% of their income consistently.
There is a principle of giving found in scripture that can only be proven true if we give. We find it in Malachi 3:10-11 God says, “Bring the full tenth into the storehouse so that there may be food in my house. Test me in this way. See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out a blessing for you without measure.” In the very next book of the Bible, Matthew, Jesus says to Satan when he tempts him, “It is written: Do not test the Lord your God.” Matthew 4:7.
God is giving his permission for us to test him in the area of our finances. He is saying give a tenth of what you have and see what I will do. We make the mistake of thinking that giving is about money, when in fact, it is about surrender and trust. Are we able to surrender every part of our lives to the Lord including our finances and trust he will provide? The law of giving comes from the One who delights in giving to us. The money that we have comes from God to begin with.
Money is a big source of many people’s worry and anxiety. One of the ways you can become free from worrying about money is to give. It sounds counterintuitive, but let me show you how Jesus advises on the matter. He preaches about anxiety and reminds his audience that birds aren’t having panic attacks over having enough to eat. Even the bird trusts God for what it needs. Essentially, Jesus says, “Sell the stuff you accumulate. Make moneybags for yourself that won’t wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.” Luke 12:33
Money bags (plural) that won’t wear out is exactly what the cheerful giver needs. Because when you give, there is a constant flow of money. It goes out of the money bags and then it circulates right back in. That money bag becomes like a bank; money out, money in. People who give money to their church, the poor, to missions and organizations that carry out the gospel – they get this. They have tested God and found this to be true.
I have found it to be true in my finances too. You may have heard of “prosperity preachers” that teach that God is a means to immense wealth; I don’t find that anywhere in scripture. Though I do find the principle of Malachi true in my own life, I am not wealthy by America’s standards, however in other countries, I would be considered filthy rich. I never worry about having enough money; there is always money to give, money my family needs and my spouse and I don’t argue about money – that IS wealth in my book. I encourage you to test this principle for yourself and give until it works!