There it is in black and white: “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows (Malachi 3:10).” The windows of heaven, God promises, will open up to those who tithe. So, what happens between the time we give our tithe, and the end of the month, when the bills arrive? For many Christians, the end of the month begins the sorrow of too many bills, and not enough money. What happened to the promise?
The Bible assures us of God's faithfulness. It tells us that all of His promises are “yes” and amen.” It tells us that He is not slack concerning His promises. His love is described as steadfast and ceaseless. So, if we were to pay real attention, the reality of financial lack should be a serious wake-up call. It should provoke the question, “Where is the promise of God?” Is God unfaithful? Does He say He will do things, and chooses not to come through when we need Him? Why am I tithing and still broke?
There are two schools of thought regarding the tithing issue. One says that it is a command to tithe, and we do so out of obedience, regardless of what we think our results ought to be. The problem with this argument is that God promised something here. If it is not a reality for all who do it, then there is something wrong. The other school of thought says that tithing is an Old Testament doctrine that we should not follow. While careful study may reveal some truth to this argument, it often persuades people they should give much less, or not give at all, which is unbiblical, as the New Testament tells us to give cheerfully (even though it never really tells us to tithe).
Without going into the theological issues of whether or not we should tithe, it is apparent in an age of instant wealth and supercharged TV preaching scams, we are in need of some balance with respect to giving, and what we should expect.
First of all, whether you look in the Old Testament of the New Testament, giving is an act of worship and should be taken seriously. “Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:6-7, NASB).” God loves a cheerful giver. That is without question. But does the giver love God? If we truly love Him, we will have more than a portion of income to give to Him. We will give our lives, and our giving will reflect that. Then, the bountiful harvest we desire will be more than monetary. It will be directed toward our purpose and calling.
The reason people tithe and are still broke is because they have not lined up with the reason God has placed them on this earth. We have settled for less with respect to our calling. If we embrace our calling, money will not be as important to us as it is now. While money many still be a required tool, the object of our affection will always be the face of our Father, God. Let us love Him, and we will see that the answer to all of our problems are wrapped up in our obedience to the will of God.
Niral Russell Burnett is the author of the book, Tithing and Still Broke: Exploring the Reasons Christians Suffer Lack (Eternal Word Publishing). You can learn more about this highly acclaimed book at www.NiralRussellBurnett.com.
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Proverbs 22:16 states: He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth, and he who gives to the rich shall surely come to want (deep poverty). No one ever preaches on this promise. Devotion to God should take priority over devotion to dollars, and preachers must set an example in this area.