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The Tithe—God’s Gift to His People

posted on December 09, 2014, under Conference by

by Conrad Duncan

Your Tithe Changes LivesPersonal Testimony
How could I ever give to God if He did not give to me first? Did not I come into His world empty-handed? (Job 1:20-21)

In this article, I will share some of the wonderful lessons God is teaching me about personal stewardship.

A Lopsided Understanding
For most of my life, growing up in the Adventist Church, I returned God’s tithe for two reasons:

First, I returned 10% of all my income in order to consider myself in good standing with my church. I wanted to be recognized as a model member who was loyal and faithful to my church. That way, I could have a seat at the communion table, have a vote at the member’s meeting, be elected to church office, and gain the approval of everyone in the church.

Second, I returned 10% of all my income so that God would bless me more. After all, doesn’t the Bible say in many places that when we return to God what belongs to Him (the tithe and generous offerings) He will bless us even more? (Malachi 3:10)

While my two reasons for returning God’s tithe may seem right, they are not the best reasons for me, or anyone else, to do so. In the first place, my giving practice is informed and inspired by my relationship with God.

It is God who brought me, through my parents, into this world. I never had to be born, but God brought me here. Also, God began blessing me even before I was born. He knew exactly what I would need to have a fruitful and happy life, so He provided those things ahead of my arrival:

  • Healthy and loving parents
  • Safe and free country
  • Educational opportunities
  • Church family
  • Productive career
  • Great friends
  • Health, etc.

As He did for Adam and Eve, God provided for me before He created me.

Conrad Duncan, Florida Conference vice president for general administration and director of stewardship, writes from the heart when he reflects on the bountiful blessings from God. (Photo: Lee Bennett)

Conrad Duncan, Florida Conference vice president for general administration and director of stewardship, writes from the heart when he reflects on the bountiful blessings from God. (Photo: Lee Bennett)

Furthermore, God has not stopped blessing me. Since my birth, He has blessed me beyond my ability to calculate those blessings. Now, He asks me to return 10% of everything—my time, my talent, my energy, and my material resources to His church. God first loved me; then He made me; finally, He has given to me. My only reasonable response is to love Him in return and return to Him the small (1/10) portion that He requires.

In the second place, I don’t have to originate or invent something new to offer to God. To invent or create a gift to God would be hard at least, and impossible at best, for me to do. God has made it easy for me to obey His tithe and offering requirement. All I have to do is subtract from what He has already given me, the meager portion of 10%, a generous free will offering, and return it to Him. (Genesis 28:22) This is not hard for me to do. Thank God!

Myth
It is a myth that when we give our money to God, via His church (the storehouse), He will give us more money. The truth is that God rewards obedience, but not only in monetary form. The greatest blessings of life are worth more than money. The blessings of life, health, peace of mind, good friends, a church family, a job that satisfies, road protection, salvation, and the prospect of eternal life in a better place cannot be paid for; yet, God gives them to us abundantly and unconditionally.

A Recent Enlightenment
About seven years ago, I learned something in the Bible that changed my life. The text says:

“‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. 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 there will not be room enough to store it.'” (Malachi 3:10)

All I could picture in this passage was a God who wants to take from me. Was I so wrong? Yes!

Now, all I can picture is a God who wants nothing from me but to give everything to me. Note that God requires one act from me in this passage, and that act is to return 1/10 of His blessings back to Him.

This one act of mine, when done with the correct motive, results in seven acts of God to me:

  1. He will fill His house (the church) with resoures for all my needs. (Malachi 3:10)
  2. He will throw open Heaven’s windows for me. (Malachi 3:10)
  3. He will pour me out more blessing than I can contain. (Malachi 3:10)
  4. He will prevent destructive elements from my life and property. (Malachi 3:11)
  5. He will make me fruitful. (Malachi 3:11)
  6. He will cause even entire nations to approve of me and recognize my blessings. (Malachi 3:12)
  7. He will give me a happy and fulfilled life, even upon this planet. (Malachi 3:12)

WOW! God does not take my tithes and offerings for His personal use. He places it into His Church (storehouse) in order to satisfy all the needs of His people:

  • Our spiritual needs
  • Our physical and physiological needs
  • Our educational needs
  • Our church social needs

At the end of the day, the tithe and offerings that I return to God become His gifts and blessings to me and the other members of His Church (globally and locally). God keeps nothing for Himself. He transfers it all into His Church in order to supply the needs of His work. (2 Corinthians 9:10-12)

Conclusion
God is a giver. His greatest pleasure is to bless and do us good, even when we don’t deserve it. God is not a taker. It all belongs to Him anyway. It was His before Adam and Eve were ever created, and it will still be His after we are all gone from here.

And the greatest of God’s gifts to me (eternal life in a better place) is still to come. What I give to God could never compare to His gifts to me.

So, my brothers and sisters, as we approach the end of another calendar year, let us count God’s gifts to us and demonstrate our gratitude to Him in generous ways. And, remember that even the tithe and offering we submit to God, He gives it back to us to bless and do us good.

Man! What a God!


2 Comments for this entry

  • mercy m'bawa

    assume that am a christian at a certain church,n i move from that place to another church,can it be possible to pay your tithe to that new church yet you are stil a christian to that other church….please help……i have been steeling from God and i want to give back wht belongs to him.

  • communication

    Good day, Mercy. Tithe is a covenant between you and God. And bear in mind that we refer to the practice of “returning” tithe, not “paying” it. Since the tithe covenant is not between you and a particular church, it is really of little consequence the destination of your returned tithe. It becomes a matter of which church you feel convicted is appropriately managing that tithe according to what God commands. Indeed I have known of some nondenominational churches that use tithe income locally, even for things like paying the utility bill. Among Florida Conference churches, all tithe is remitted from churches to our Conference office where it helps fund the mission across our state, the nation, and even globally. This PDF link has a chart explaining how Florida Conference disperses tithe.

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