In his second letter to the believers in Corinth, Paul tells us that ‘God loves a cheerful giver’ (2 Cor 9:7 NIV). However, when it comes to the subject of tithing, we often find it’s rarely spoken of cheerfully in our churches and is usually seen as a burden rather than a doorway into blessing.
The irony is that tithing is one of the most basic principles we see in the Scriptures that will unlock abundance and blessing in our lives. Sure, the topic of tithing has been abused before, but we can’t let our past negative experiences shape our future understanding and breakthrough. When we see what God promises in His word, it seems essential that we take a fresh look at this wonderful ancient truth.
Throughout the Bible, the tithe is defined as a tenth. In fact, it’s not even seen as a ‘gift’ in the Scriptures, but as returning to God what is His. It’s taking the first 10% of all that He has blessed us with and returning it to Him trusting His faithfulness to redeem and bless the other 90% of our income.
God takes this very seriously as we read in the 3rdchapter of Malachi. In verses 8 and 9 we see:
8 “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.
“But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’
“In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me.”
When we don’t return to God what is rightfully His, we’re robbing Him. If we’re truly trusting God with our lives, then we know He’s the source of all that we have and He can request anything of us. The wonder is that He asks for so little from us and offers so much in return! As we read on in verse 10 of Malachi 3 we discover God’s astounding promise when we tithe:
10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”
What an incredible God! He asks that we return a tithe and He promises to bless us so powerfully that we will not have room enough to store it! In fact, He asks us to test Him in this and see what happens. It’s the only time in the Bible that we’re challenged to test God so we’re missing an incredible opportunity to discover new levels of His faithfulness when we avoid the blessing of tithing.
I know that in my life, my wife Tori and I struggled financially for years as missionaries, living by faith and trying to make ends meet. We could always find a reason not to tithe even though we often gave generously in offerings. We had embraced generosity, but we were missing the blessing of tithing!
It wasn’t until we began to take God at His word about tithing many years ago that we began to see significant breakthrough for our family financially. We determined to give the first 10% of all that we received back to God, trusting Him to do what He promised. We discovered that tithing unlocked more provision for us, which enabled us to be more generous on top of our tithe as well.
What was truly amazing was that we also began to see breakthroughs in all of our areas of ministry. We didn’t just see God’s provision and abundance in money; we saw it breaking out everywhere with people, opportunities, and so much more! We had discovered the blessing of tithing and it’s been a non-negotiable part of our lives ever since that time. It’s our first payment after our salaries come in, and we send it out with joy, knowing His blessing will always follow our obedience.
Generosity only begins after we tithe, returning to God what is His. Remarkably, when we put this sacred principle into place in our lives, we can trust in God’s promise to bring abundance to all areas of our lives, opening the door for us to become people of astonishing generosity, fully surrendered in every way to a faithful Father.
If you’d like to explore this topic further than is possible in a blog post, I’d highly recommend Robert Morris’s excellent book “The Blessed Life” which has shaped so much of our thinking and understanding around God’s promises of blessing around the tithe through the Scriptures.