2.56% isn’t 10%

Finances are an ever-growing topic of discussion.  Everyone is talking about how their’s have dwindled and how the country is in ruins.  The church suffers like never before (in America) because everyone is afraid.

Jesus spoke about this subject often.  Money is among the top three subjects in the Bible.  Here’s one example:

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

27Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
28“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31“Therefore do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?’ or “What shall we drink?’ or “What shall we wear?’ 32For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

I just spent a portion of my time figuring out this past month’s tithe.  The Washington Times reported as of 2004 church members gave 2.56% of their income.  That was down almost a whole point since 1968’s 3.11%  Although 1968 was a bit higher, it was still shy of the Biblical standard of 10%.  When calculating our tithe for this past month it would have been easy for me to say, “I can’t afford to tithe”  I’ve been financially doing the best I’ve done in years, which isn’t saying much.  We are still just scraping by – but God provides for the day.  He consistently gives us what we need for THIS DAY.  This past month’s tithe was a big number, for me.  However, instead of saying “I can’t afford to tithe” I said “I can’t afford NOT to tithe.”

I attribute my recent financial “success” to our years of practiced tithing.  Again, I should stress that in the grand scheme of things, we are still making far below the nation’s median… but for us, we are doing well.  We continue to believe that our financial situation will grow as we serve and as we are faithful to the Lord and His house.

My wife and I plan to go full-time into the ministry someday.  Our future livelihood depends mightily on people of God being faithful to the Word.  The church was designed to function off of Christian men and women’s obedience.  To me, 2.56% is insulting to our amazingly worthy God.  Could you imagine how much more the church body could benefit if all of us were givers?  The sad thing is that it’s not even every member who is giving 2.56% many are giving 10%, 20% and even 30% of their incomes while others are giving near-to-nothing.  My challenge to you this morning is to take the “Prove Me” challenge.  God says that you can test Him in this area.  He says;

Bring the whole tithe (10% of your income) into the storehouse (The place where you are fed… your local church), that there may be food in my house (That there would be enough for the missionaries, the pastors, the worship leaders, the workers.  Those that spend hours praying for your souls). 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 you will not have room enough for it.

Malachi 3:10 – Words in parenthesis, mine.

Proverbs 21

1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD;
he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.

2 All a man’s ways seem right to him,
but the LORD weighs the heart.

3 To do what is right and just
is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.

4 Haughty eyes and a proud heart,
the lamp of the wicked, are sin!

5 The plans of the diligent lead to profit
as surely as haste leads to poverty.

6 A fortune made by a lying tongue
is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare.

7 The violence of the wicked will drag them away,
for they refuse to do what is right.

8 The way of the guilty is devious,
but the conduct of the innocent is upright.

9 Better to live on a corner of the roof
than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.

10 The wicked man craves evil;
his neighbor gets no mercy from him.

11 When a mocker is punished, the simple gain wisdom;
when a wise man is instructed, he gets knowledge.

12 The Righteous One takes note of the house of the wicked
and brings the wicked to ruin.

13 If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor,
he too will cry out and not be answered.

14 A gift given in secret soothes anger,
and a bribe concealed in the cloak pacifies great wrath.

15 When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous
but terror to evildoers.

16 A man who strays from the path of understanding
comes to rest in the company of the dead.

17 He who loves pleasure will become poor;
whoever loves wine and oil will never be rich.

18 The wicked become a ransom for the righteous,
and the unfaithful for the upright.

19 Better to live in a desert
than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife.

20 In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil,
but a foolish man devours all he has.

21 He who pursues righteousness and love
finds life, prosperity and honor.

22 A wise man attacks the city of the mighty
and pulls down the stronghold in which they trust.

23 He who guards his mouth and his tongue
keeps himself from calamity.

24 The proud and arrogant man-“Mocker” is his name;
he behaves with overweening pride.

25 The sluggard’s craving will be the death of him,
because his hands refuse to work.

26 All day long he craves for more,
but the righteous give without sparing.

27 The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable—
how much more so when brought with evil intent!

28 A false witness will perish,
and whoever listens to him will be destroyed forever.

29 A wicked man puts up a bold front,
but an upright man gives thought to his ways.

30 There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan
that can succeed against the LORD.

31 The horse is made ready for the day of battle,
but victory rests with the LORD.


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