FIRST-PERSON: Lots of reasons to tithe (and a few reasons not to)
KENNER, La. (BP)--Let's see if I can talk you out of tithing your income to the Lord through this church. Here are some reasons not to tithe. If you do not tithe your income:
1. You will have more money to spend however you please.
2. You can buy a new car twice as often.
3. You can wear better and more expensive clothes.
4. You will not have to say 'no' to your children as frequently.
5. You can eat out more often.
6. You can travel more, taking real vacations instead of just going to see the folks.
7. You can afford a bigger house in a better neighborhood, because an additional 10 percent of your income can make a big difference.
8. You can pay off some of those bills that have been worrying you.
9. And, when you do give to the church, you can choose where it goes and what it will fund. You won't be bound by the unified budget that the church voted and the tithers support.
10. You can spread out your charitable giving and contribute to other causes that are always asking for money. By not tithing, you have freed up your money to spend as you please. You are in control.
But, suppose you do decide to tithe. You consider all the above plus a few other reasons we didn't think of, and you determine to give a solid dime-out-of-every-dollar to the Lord through your church. What then?
1. You will be honoring the Lord. Read Mark 12:41-44 and see how complimented Jesus felt by the generous giving of a poor widow. (Not giving really hurts Him, too. See Malachi 3:8.)
2. Some of your friends and family will think you have lost your mind. That's all right -- for a time, Jesus' family thought He had lost His, too. (Mark 3:21)
3. You will strengthen your church to do a better job in ministering to people locally and worldwide. The church lights stay on, the lawn mower gets gas, the preacher gets paid, and Christian workers travel to plant the Lord's work in distant places.
4. You might drive your car a couple of years longer than you wished. And do without a few things you could have bought had you not tithed.
5. Your church can now re-roof the educational building without borrowing the money. If the leak is not fixed before long, the entire building will need replacing.
6. They can buy that new piano for the worship services. And have it for children's recitals and special concerts and Christmas programs.
7. You will lay up treasures in Heaven. That's Matthew 6:19-20. On arriving in Heaven, you will discover what compounded interest really means!
8. You will set a great example for other believers. See 2 Corinthians 8:1-15.
9. Your children will see your example and know you to be a dad or mom who practices your faith. You put your money where your mouth is. There will be no "Mommie Dearest" books written about you.
10. You'll feel great the next time the pastor preaches on money. Sit back and enjoy it.
11. A missionary in Italy will purchase the supplies he needs in his.
12. Some members of your church will travel to El Salvador this summer and labor alongside our missionaries.
13. You will take a giant step toward liberating yourself from selfishness and materialism. Take that, greed!
14. You will strengthen your faith. After all, generous giving is faith-driven, not preacher-driven, impulse-driven, gain-driven, emotion-driven, or even need-driven. What drives and propels our faithful giving to Jesus is faith in Him.
15. Then, some day when you look back down the corridor of time and see what you have done with your life, you will feel good about the way you used your money for Jesus. I promise.
My friend Harold Kitchings, now in heaven, used to tell about an old gentleman he knew in a Texas church where he served. In the early part of the 20th century, the man grew wealthy from oil and gave large sums to Baylor University to construct buildings and educate young Christians. He gave a great deal of money to his church and even sent his pastor, Dr. George W. Truett, to Europe to preach to the soldier boys during the First World War. Then, in the stock market crash of 1929, the man lost his fortune.
One day, a friend who saw how humbly he was living -- and remembered how wealthy he had once been -- asked, "When you think about all the money you gave away, do you ever wish you had it back?" He didn't hesitate. "Friend," he said. "The only thing I have left is what I gave away."
One day you will find out that everything you have given to God through the years you still have -- forever, with interest. And in heavenly currency. Talk about a great investment!
In the last book of the Old Testament, God says, "Bring all the tithes into the storehouse that there may be food in my house. And test me now in this, if I will not open for you the windows of Heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows." (Malachi 3:10) Jesus said, "Give and it shall be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap." (Luke 6:38)
This may be the best reason of all to give: obedience.