You’ve heard it on Christian Television, when some Evangelist or Teacher came to town, and even in a Sunday morning service at your local church. It’s the plea for your money – Most often associated with this powerful and urgent request for you to give sacrificially is some scriptural and persuasive argument or even a ‘word from God’ – “If you do this today… then God will…” You’ve heard this before so you can fill in the rest.
The implication is that if you ‘don’t’ give today, then you will miss the favor and blessing of God! So what do you do? You get out your checkbook and spend the money you had put back to pay your electric bill, buy groceries, or for something other necessity of life and you write the check. Then you deal with what you did later on after the emotions are gone and you have to have the money.
Maybe you’ve never been as naïve as I have, but I certainly have done this, many times over. And then I prayed over my seed and studied the bible more — I would seek God for hours just trying to get God to move and show me some favor. I would think to myself,” there must be something wrong with me!”
I heard the testimonies of others and wondered why it wasn’t working for me…
Now let me back up a little here and give you some perspective. Just a couple of years before this time of questioning and seeking God, I was the owner of a successful software development company and it seemed that God’s favor was everywhere I turned! I gave and I received… In abundance!
I began to wonder what the difference was between the time that I was abundantly blessed and the time when it seemed like the heavens were closed to me. Was it something I was doing wrong?
I want you to be completely free from performance based Christianity that is taught in most churches today. The myth goes something like this, “If you perform well in the area of your finances (give your tithes and offerings), then God will bless you with finances.”
So like always, as I studied the bible the answer became very clear. This is what I want to share with you today. I was told that my financial blessing and freedom was directly tied to me sacrificially giving to a church or ministry. So let’s take an honest look at the truth according to God as revealed in the bible by the Holy Spirit.
Let’s Get Our Priorities in Order
We’ll start with defining what giving is according to the bible. First of all there are basically three types of giving mentioned in the bible. There is the tithe (mentioned only once by Jesus), and the word tithe means ‘one tenth’. There is offering (mentioned only once by Jesus), and there is alms giving (mentioned 6 times by Jesus, 13 times in the New Testament) –
Let’s take a look first at the one time that Jesus mentioned tithes in Matthew 23:23 – “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”
In this verse Jesus was rebuking the Pharisees, not giving instructions on tithing. Notice he said that they do tithe of the smallest things like the mint leaf, but they left off the weightier or important matters of the law, judgment (better interpreted justice), mercy and faith. These were of the greatest priority and tithing of the lesser priority.
His one reference to offerings was an observation in the temple of how people gave their offerings in Luke 21:4. There is no instruction here, just His observing the crowd.
Now you’ll notice in Matthew 23:23 that mercy was listed as one of the things that were of great importance. Giving alms is best defined as compassionate giving to the poor. I would say that this falls under the category of mercy, wouldn’t you? This was of greater importance, according to Jesus in Matthews 23:23, than tithing! — Imagine that…
I want you to notice also that when Jesus mentioned alms that it was instructional. Once He even told the disciples to sell what they had and give alms (Luke 12:23). You won’t hear many leaders in the church today giving instructions like that – Think about it…
Now without going any deeper in our bible study here, I have observed that most Christians believe that paying tithes is so important that they are under tremendous pressure not to miss their tithe payment and then suffer guilt when they do.
I am not saying that you and I shouldn’t give tithes and offerings. What I am saying is that most of us have felt the pressure to give by people who I believe are well intended for the most part. But 100% of the external pressure we feel to give tithes or offerings is performance based religious pressure that Jesus gave His life to set us free from!
Did you know that God was sickened at one time by the Old Testament sacrificial offerings in Israel because they didn’t come from the right place, the heart!
What I discovered was that when I received revelation of all that Jesus did and the power of the cross, I began to develop a relationship with my Father who delivers me and gives me everything I need in life apart from my performance!
When you realize the great mercy you have been shown by God Request prophetic word and His unconditional love for you, then giving to those in need is a natural reaction to receiving everything you need without condition from your father! You will support ministries and churches from a place of faith and great confidence!
Without faith it is impossible to please God – You must have faith in the finished work of the cross which includes provision without condition. Consider the birds, Jesus said in Matthew 6:26, you are better than they are and your heavenly Father feeds them!
Your blessing is in direct relation to the revelation of God the Father and His unconditional love for you. Once you get this, you will do what Jesus said to do, never worry about anything! And your giving will be from a place of great joy and confidence, not of religious pressure and guilt!
Most nights, when I lie down to go to sleep, I take a few minutes and cast every care on Jesus. I tell God how much I trust Him with my health, my family, and my finances. That’s what He wants to hear from you…
If you tell Him that you gave your tithe and offerings, and that you deserve something from Him, you’re not only limiting your faith in what God can do, you are demonstrating to Him that you are relying on your own righteousness for His favor, not His love and righteousness…
God will speak to you about tithing, offerings, and alms. But in the meantime, don’t give away the rent money without faith, no matter how emotional or guilty you may feel, or you may not be able to pay your rent!
Let me say here that I believe in giving as much as anyone I know. And there have been times when God has spoken to me through a prophetic word, I obeyed and gave in a church service, and God did exactly as He said He would.
There have also been times that I gave away the rent money and then didn’t have the rent money when I needed. The difference was where I was in my relationship with God.
You were not designed to be a beast of burden. You are a child of God – So trust in His goodness, and give yourself a break from the pressure to give, especially when you don’t have it to give. You can’t work God like a slot machine. He only responds to your trust in Him and in that place of trust He will never disappoint you.