He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
–2 Corinthians 9:6
If you want to invest in God’s work, then how much should you give? After all, some money has to be spent on living expenses, some money has to be given to our kids and grandkids, and some money ought to be used to enjoy the life that God has given us. How do we know how much to give to the church?
Good grace says that the tithe is the starting place of grace giving. Some people say, “We are no longer under the law. That means we do not have to tithe.” But tithing came before the law–four hundred years before the Mosaic Law was given, Abraham instinctively gave a tithe of what he had to the priest Melchizedek (Genesis 14:20).
But notice that the tithe is the starting place of our giving, not the ending place. After all, the Israelites, who were a poor agricultural people, actually gave three tithes: they gave 10 percent of their meager income to support the priests, they gave another 10 percent to fund celebrations, and then every third year they gave another 10 percent to take care of the poor. When you put those three tithes together, it comes to about 23.3 percent of their income that they were giving every year. In comparison, 10 percent seems a meager place to start in our giving.
Let me put that in perspective for you. Years ago, I heard a sermon by Dr. Bob Russell, and he was talking about a group from his church in Kentucky that went to Romania on a mission trip. This mission group found out that the Romanian Christians were very distressed because they wanted to give 10 percent of their income to the church, but the government prevented them from doing so. The government had limited the amount that people could give to churches, so the Romanian Christians were constantly looking for loopholes to get around that limitation. And then Dr. Russell made this point: “The Romanian Christians have less, and they are looking for ways to give 10 percent. And here we are in America, free to give as much as we want to give–and we even get a tax deduction for doing so–and we are looking for loopholes in the Bible not to give.”
What an indictment! When our hearts are right, the question is not “How little can I give?” but “How much can I give and invest in God’s kingdom?”
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Good-Grace Churches – Part 2” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2020.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org