If you find yourself today getting a little nervous with the content of this blog, there just might be a clear reason. Let me explain it this way. Let’s say your appendix is rupturing and you go to the doctor, and the doctor pokes you in the leg it’s not going to hurt. Right? If the doctor pokes you in the lower right side of your abdominal area what are you going to do? You are going to scream bloody murder, because he’s poking you on the unhealthy spot. If you find that you are a little bit sensitive about this topic, perhaps God is going to do a little healing on a spot that is, at this moment, a little bit unhealthy.
Let’s start with this scripture from Leviticus 27:30, “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.”
Who does the tithe belong to? It belongs to God. It doesn’t belong to us; it belongs to God. What is a tithe? It comes from the Hebrew word ma’aser. Literally, this word means a tenth. One tenth, scripture says, of everything that God trusts us with, it belongs to Him. It is holy to the Lord. It is His. In fact, if we got really, really technical, we could say that a tithe isn’t really even giving. It is simply returning to God.
Now, how do American Christians do with this principle? Here’s a couple of stats for you. The average Christian does not give 10%, but the average Christian gives about 2% of their income to the work of God. How many? What percentage do tithe? Fewer than 3% of those who call themselves followers of Christ honor and obey God with the tithe.
What we have here is a critical heart issue that, in many ways, is the key to all of our finances working properly, and that is honoring God with His principles of giving the tithe, returning the tithe, and even beyond that. Let’s talk about two different kinds of businesses.
The first would be what we will call the cursed business. Malachi 3:8-9 says this. God asks the question, “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. How in the world do we rob You, you ask, and God responds, ‘You rob me in tithes and offerings.’” Now, what does He say you are under? “You are under a curse — the whole nation of you — because you are robbing me.” Now, why are you under a curse? Because you are robbing Me. How do we rob God? By not returning the tithes and giving offerings.
The Hebrew word for rob is the word qaba. Very literally, this word means to defraud. It means to rob. It means to spoil. It means to embezzle. Here is a sobering way to think about it. If I don’t tithe, I am embezzling from God. I am stealing from the Owner of the Universe, and I am making a tragically dangerous trade-off.
Let me tell you about a bad trade, very, very bad trade. I read this week about a guy who had a 1957 Chevy. My family, that I grew up in, owned two of them. One was actually in 1957 and the other in the mid 60’s. This guy, that I am talking about, own his about 15-20 years ago or so ago. It was about the time they came out with this new car back then called the Pinto. You see where this is going, and he traded a 1957 Chevy for a Pinto! Bad! Bad trade.
To withhold what belongs to God is a very, very bad trade. We are trading the blessings that God wants to pour out in our lives for a measly ten percent. Now, let me just say that I have talked to many people who are like, “Oh, my gosh, I don’t know what to do. I am trying so hard financially. It seems like I will take a couple of steps forward, and then bam. It is like three or four steps back. No matter how hard I try and work at this, I just can’t get ahead, and I am just hurting, and I am worried about finances, and there is just never, ever enough, and there is just always more month left than money. What do I do?” Could it be, could it be, that perhaps the business of personal finances is cursed in that we are not honoring God at level one, returning the tithe to Him?
Hagaii 1:6, maybe you feel like this. The Bible says, “You’ve planted much, but you’ve harvested little. You eat but you never have enough. You drink, but you never have your fill. You put on clothes, but you are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse.” Can you relate to this? It just seems to go away? The cursed business.
The second kind that we are going to talk about is the blessed business, and this is where it gets fun. Malachi 3:11-12, for those who tithe, God says, “I will prevent the pest from devouring your crops, says the Lord Almighty. Then all nations will call you blessed.” All nations will say you are blessed of God.
There was this little bitty small town that was driven by the grain industry. Almost everybody was in the grain business, and there was this little small town church that was struggling financially, always had. And the church asked one guy, the guy that owned the big grain silo, who was known as a man of integrity, “Would you manage the church finances?” And the guy said, “I will on one condition.” “What’s the condition?” He said, “For the very next year, you don’t ask me any questions. You don’t look at the books. You let me manage them the way I want to, and at the end of the year, I promise you, we will be ahead of the game.” And they, because they trusted him, said, “Sure. Go ahead.” One year later, the church was out of debt. The church had had the best year of ministry ever. All the people in the town were saying they were so blessed. Their grain business did awesome, and they said, “How did you pull this off?” He said, “It is very simple. When all of you brought your stuff down to my silo, I just took ten percent of what was yours, and I gave it to God for you. I just helped our whole church tithe. Look at the results,” he said. “First of all, not only did you not miss it ever, but most of you were very, very blessed. Our church is out of debt, and look at the ministry that we have been able to accomplish.” The blessed business.
Here’s a thought that I hope that you don’t miss. This is the thing that most people don’t understand. It’s the spiritual side of it. Ninety percent with God’s blessings is far more than one hundred percent without His blessings. This is the part that humanly doesn’t make sense. This is the spiritual factor of God, that ninety percent with the blessings of God is far more than doing what you can do with one hundred percent of it.
So what is your preference, the cursed business or the blessed business?