God Loves A Cheerful Giver: Why Tithes and Offerings Are A Part Of A Worship Service
2 Corinthians 9:6-7 (NIV)
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
The Bible tells us, and makes it very clear, giving is to be a part of our daily lives. In fact, God gives us opportunities to give back to him regularly. In the scripture passage above, he says he loves a cheerful giver. Shouldn’t all giving be cheerful? I’ll demonstrate how giving isn’t always cheerful through a story with my four year old son.
When my boy has a play date with another one of his friends, inevitably one of his toys, that is the “most precious thing in his life”, is taken by the other kid. We say ” buddy, now, you need to share with her”. Whenever he obliges, he does so rather reluctantly. At that moment I can confirm he is not a cheerful giver.
Many of us aren’t four years old any more, but we may be able to relate. When we give our money in the form of tithes and offerings we may rather want to hold tightly to it. It’s our hard earned income, after all. Isn’t it?
Does God need money? Not hardly! He can tell you to go to the closest coy pond and look inside a fish’s mouth where you’ll find some cash. So why is he concerned about what we call “our money”? Why did he set forward the tithe and offering?
First, it may be good to distinguish the difference between the words tithe and offering. A tithe is an antiquated term for “the first tenth” [that belongs to God]. An offering is anything above that. In that pervious phrase, there were two important qualifiers: “first” and “tenth”. God is more than a genius. He recommended the first tenth because if you leave it to your last tenth you may be more hesitant to give it. However, if you draw off the first part, before anything else goes out, then you build your budget as if it were never there in the first place. He asks for a tenth, but could have asked for half. Don’t struggle with that one.
Some say that the tithe is an Old Testament concept. I’d ask you: did Jesus come to abolish or expand the law? I believe Jesus instituted giving as a way of daily life, through offering, without demolishing the tithe.
To finish, something that my pastor said recently struck me as important is that giving during a worship service may be the most authentic form of worship we perform during our church services. Our music styles may or may not line up with the exact prescription for how God would like to be worshiped. The act of giving is just about the same as it was 2000 years ago. The denarius and the dollar are both forms of currency. They are both the basis of the tithe.
One of the best things you can do is to teach your children early about tithes and offerings. When they are older they may not struggle as adults with giving. Being generous is a beautiful and God ordained act.
I know this topic is a tough one. I also know that everything I’ve written above can be debated. I’d rather not debate with anyone, but would love to see everyone opened to taking one more step in giving and being generous. Live with an opened palm, not a closed fist.
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