Giving God What He’s Given You

One of the most troubling concepts for new believers can be the concept of tithing. They experience the love of Christ and they’re filled with a fire to start their new life living for Him and then the church begins to hammer them with the concept of tithing. For those that are well off financially, this may be a non-issue, but for a young new believer that is drowning in bills and debt, tithing can seem like an impossible task and quickly damper that fire. They are left feeling like they will never meet the expectations of the church in this area and thus are a failure in their Christian life. Every time the offering plate passes them on Sunday morning, they feel the glares of the congregation as they once again cannot put anything in it.
 
In addition to this, many churches put a huge emphasis on tithing in order for the church to grow. We have huge campaigns to raise money and stress the importance of giving financially as if the state of the church depends on it. Those that give more to the church seem to have more say in how the church runs and receive more attention and care than others. Very quickly, the church becomes a place of power for the rich and a place of sadness for the poor. The concept that can easily come across is that the church will only grow and be successful if we give financially to it. Money becomes our focus, and all of our actions follow suit.
 
In saying this, tithing does have a very important place in the church as we should give back what we can financially to God, whom has blessed us. When the church has money, they are able to provide tangible needs for the community and a safe, clean environment for those to worship in. The church can also do more outreach events to seek to draw others into the love and forgiveness of Jesus. Leviticus 27:30 says, “A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord: it is holy to the Lord.” These gifts were a reminder that everything belonged to God and a portion was given back to God to thank him for what they had received.” Jesus then later says, “ “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices–mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law-justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”
 
What’s important to note is that Jesus doesn’t denounce tithing, but He does spin the concept on it’s head. He challenges and calls out the religious leaders for valuing tithing above the more important matters. Sure, giving to the church financially is helpful and appreciated, but you can have the biggest church in town and also be the most dead church in town spiritually. Jesus is saying He prefers the person that gives themselves to Him over the one that only gives their money to Him. God has given each person unique gifts and abilities. These are of far more value than anything financially. Jesus is calling us to give what He has given us for His glory. This is the greatest gift we can give Him, our life. We may not be able to give a check every week in the offering plate, but if we can give ourselves every day to Jesus, that’s what truly blesses Him and the church.
 
The church grows when the people are giving themselves not just their money to it and ultimately to Christ. Outsiders begin to see a Spirit in the Church that they don’t have and are drawn in. They see a body of people using their gifts, time, and talents for a purpose that is greater than words can describe and that is something they want to be a part of. Outreach events are worthless if people come to the church and leave after one Sunday because of the hypocrites and lack of love they experience when entering. Our focus as a church needs to be on glorifying Him and the best way we can do that is by using our gifts and abilities the best we can for His kingdom. This is what we should be focusing on when a new believer comes into the Church. How can we help them understand the gifts and abilities they have been given and how can we help them use those gifts for the Kingdom of God. When our focus is on glorifying Him, the impact the Church has on the community will grow and God will bless the Church in ways we never saw imaginable before.

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