When I first came to the Lord, I didn’t even know all that I didn’t know—because I was fairly certain that I knew quite a bit. Tithing was a base that I had covered, or so I thought. But what Martha taught me about making an offering was nothing that I knew, and it’s never left me since. I was reminded of that lesson as I worked on the web copy for the total overhaul of Shulamite.com that’s currently in the works. On the off chance that someone reading this is operating under a cold, jaundiced view of what it means to tithe, like I once was, I’d like to share this lesson.
First, God is lavish and abundant in His provision. He needs nothing from me, but I need everything from Him, and it is His JOY to provision me. When I empty myself out, He fills me back up. Martha is always talking about the multiplication factor of God – “Be fruitful and multiply” was the repeated command. That is how His Kingdom operates, and it’s illustrated beautifully in the following Proverb:
One person gives freely, yet gains more;
another withholds what is right, only to become poor.
Proverbs 11:24 HCSB
This is quite different from the way of the world. I don’t know how He does it, but I have experienced the miraculous abundance of God that comes out of nowhere. When I give, freely and with joy, His abundance is there.
Second, I “sow” into the place that feeds me. Where do I get the Bread of Life? When my soul is hungry, where is it fed? This is the place that I honor God with an offering. I invest in the ministry (or person) providing the Word that sustains me. My spiritual health depends on this, and I am blessed as well. Tithing is relational!
Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly,
and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart,
not grudgingly or under compulsion,
for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:6-7 NASB
Last of all, it matters to God what the state of my heart is when I give. When Martha talked to me about all of this, I remember being shocked because it was so very personal. There is nothing rote or legalistic about tithing. Tithing is a commitment to God, an obedience to His Word, and most of all, an offering of thanksgiving.
This is an essential part of my relationship with God! When I tithe with a merry heart, I am evidencing my solid belief in the truth of God’s law of abundance. When I pour out on Him, I am trusting that He fills me back up, just as He promised. Tithing is my belief in His Word, and it’s my total trust that honors Him—not the money. I tithe money because that’s the medium of exchange in my life; it’s the means by which I honor God, not the end in itself. Loving Him is the end.
Offer just and right sacrifices;
trust (lean on and be confident) in the Lord.
Psalm 4:5 AMP
I operate under the grace of the Holy Spirit, of course, and trust my Father to check me when I begin to make a law for myself on this or any other ground. But there is a joy and genuine sense of well-being that I experience when I make an offering to God, just part of the abundant blessing He lavishes on me in return. I would have everyone know the true warmth and joy of tithing, so that they could experience the LOVE that is the reward for “cheerful” giving!