This is a guest post from Pastor Fred Murray. Check out his blog at fredmurrayjr.com
What is a tithe?
I remember sitting in church as a seven year old looking at a small envelope in front of my seat and read the phrase “my tithes and offerings.” I really did not know what that phrase meant at the time. I looked over to my mom and asked her what it meant. She simply stated, “a tithe is giving 10% of your income to God.” Over the years growing up I heard about many uses of the tithe, such as helping the church support its ministries and helping others learn about Christ’s message. However, the true purpose of the tithe is found in Genesis 14:20 when Abraham gives 10% of his winnings from a recent battle to Melchizedek king of Salem as a form of worship to God. Abraham gave a gift to another man of God, and Scripture calls it an act of Worship. 1 Chronicles 16:26 says, “Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” Tithing is an opportunity for me to worship God by giving back a small portion of what he has blessed me with.
What a tithe is not?
Sometimes the tithe is viewed as a means to gain more of God’s love. If that were the case, Christ would have praised the religious elite in Matthew Chapter 23. Instead, he told them that the tithe was not the only thing God cared about. Christ took the external acts of religion and made each individual look at their own heart. Christ could tell if someone was giving for status or if they were giving as an act of worship. Paul says in II Corinthians 9:7, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” I know many people who give on a weekly basis that give cheerfully. Some are working their way to the 10% number, and others are far past it. The great thing is that Christ simply asked us to give cheerfully. I would be really depressed if the Bible said, “God only loveth the millionaire.”
What is a Tithe Challenge?
The Tithe Challenge is an opportunity for all those who call SHBC home to start or continue worshipping the Lord in the area of giving for a three-month time frame. Some will give cheerfully for the first time. Others will transfer from “regular giver” to “tither” for the first time in their lives. Some may be challenged by the Holy Spirit to go beyond and get involved in the Next Step Offering. No matter what category you may consider yourself, this time will be a chance to focus on God’s love and provision for us. Everyone who signs up for the three-month Tithe Challenge will be mailed special resources and encouragements throughout the Challenge, as well as special online resources from ministries across the country. These resources will focus on God’s plan for us financially and spiritually. It is my prayer that God will make himself evident to you and your family throughout the challenge.