February 1, 2016 by maryruwe
We learned several things in last week’s study about finances. We learned everyone wants to exceed and to excel. I believe that characteristic comes from God since we are created in His image. We defined prosperity as achieving economic success and a thriving condition. Sounds good doesn’t it?
Let’s do a short review. We also learned that money is only a tool and not evil; it cannot think for itself. It can be used for good and for bad based on the decisions of those handling it. We studied two truths: the first truth is that the BIBLE DOES NOT CALL MONEY EVIL; but 1 Timothy 6:10 says that the “love of money is the root of all evil”. The second truth is that we are “called to be good stewards of the money or prosperity we are blessed with”. It is not the amount of money we have but our attitude towards money that determines our decision of how we use it. Romans 14:12 teaches us that everyone shall give account of himself to God. We also learned that God takes pleasure in the prosperity of His servants as stated in Psalm 34:27.
Now for this week’s study on how to increase our finances. We are going to look at three areas of giving: tithing, offerings/giving, and attitude.
The word tithe mean tenth. Some people think that since we’ve been delivered from the curse of Law they have been delivered from tithing. Not so. The principle of giving to God a tenth was actually done first by Abram when he was returning from a battle and offered Melchizedek king of Salem a tenth of all the everything (Genesis 14:18-20, Hebrews 7:1-2 TLB). Jacob made a vow to give a tenth of everything to God for His blessings (Genesis 28:22). They both lived before Moses and the Law. Just a note for clarity, a tenth or tithe of $100.00 earned would be $10.00. A tenth or tithe on $1,000.00 earned would be $100.00, and so forth.
Then in Malachi 3:10 we are instructed to “bring all our tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this, says the Lord of hosts”. God calls the storehouse His house; which today is the church. Notice that there is a blessing listed in this same verse for those who obey; God will open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. Windows is plural so that means that the blessings come in different areas and ways. Verse eleven tells us how God will do this, “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground.” This sounds pretty good to me.
For example, a person may think that giving God a tenth of what they make is not helping them at all because they don’t see any “big” increase or manifestation in their finances. As I just said blessings come in different ways, so they may be experiencing some of their blessings in the fact that the car, or appliances, don’t break down all the time, or that they find great sales and bargains when they shop; or how about that you don’t get sick and need a doctor or medicine all the time. Sometimes we might overlook the blessings because they come in a different way than we think they should come, but God is true to His Word. It has been my experience that the more grateful I am the more I see God’s provisions.
The next area I want to talk about is our extra offerings or giving. Offerings are extra giving that are separate from the tithe. As we said the tithe belongs to the church we attend; offerings can be given to missionaries, evangelists and other ministry organizations, etc. An offering can be any amount you feel in your heart is right. Personally over the years, I’ve given anywhere from $3.00 to $5.00, to $15.00 or more at different church services or to ministries. Most often the amount was based on the “extra” I had in my budget. I don’t “take” from my tithe money to give in ministry offerings, or to people in need. I hope this helps for understanding this point. We are taught in 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 to “set aside” offerings in a sum keeping with our income. When I was first learning this some years ago, I decided to put and “offering/ministry” category in my budget so I would have the ability to give extra.
Our attitude is very important part of our giving. The NIV says in 2 Corinthians 9:6, “Remember this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” Another Scripture to study is 2 Corinthians 9:7, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver”. One final Scripture is Isaiah 1:19, “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land”. This is pretty self explanatory, but just in case; if we give grudgingly then we are not willing, if we are willing but don’t give then we are not obedient. It’s that simple. Either of these scenarios will sabotage our ability to receive our blessing, and close the windows of blessings mentioned in Malachi 3:10. There are other issues that will stop the flow of blessings; some are un-forgiveness toward others, not walking in love, bitterness, jealousy, disobedience and sin in our lives, etc.
My prayer for you is that the truth of God’s Word concerning prosperity has opened the door of understanding of just how much God wants to bless you, and what your part is in the equation of giving and receiving. Have a wonderful week.