10 Things Tithing Does For You

isaac-smith-6EnTPvPPL6I-unsplash

What is in it for me? When I give to my local church what does it mean for me?

As a pastor I actually want Christians to think more about those questions! Christians should consider what great rewards come with tithing. 

Note: There is No Ultimate Self-Denial in the Bible

It is worth it to offer a note about self-denial and happiness. Christianity is not about ultimate self-denial. When some think about tithing or service of any kind they might immediately think of losing something. Christianity becomes about being miserable while faithful.  But giving and serving the Lord never work like that. Pastor John Piper helps us by saying, “There is no such thing in the Bible as ultimate self-denial”.

Consider two passages: 

Luke 9:23–24
[23] And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. [24] For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. (ESV)

Matthew 13:44
[44] “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. (ESV)

We deny the lesser treasures of the world for the greater treasures that are in God. On both occasions Jesus appeals to our happiness and our gain. “For whoever would save his life…” and “in his joy... buys that field.” The one who denies himself the things of the world for the things of the kingdom does not come away empty handed. He comes away with the greater treasure. 

We can think of tithing that way. No, we don’t buy anything with our tithes. No, we don’t send in money as a transaction for blessing from heaven. But tithing is not about self-denial. None of Christian the faith or obedience is about total self-denial. 

In that sense, what’s in tithing for me? 

1. Treasure Forever (Matthew 6:19-21)

This passage is not saying that we have a 1-1 ratio or a shopping cart experience as if we we were shopping for heaven’s treasures on Amazon. Rather, what we are told is that when we invest in the things of heaven they last forever!

2. Your Heart in Heaven (Matt 6:21)

Putting your earthly treasures into Kingdom purposes moves your heart. Jesus said, “where your treasure is there your heart will be also”. Feeling far from the Lord and heaven? Perhaps the treasures you are holding have hold of your heart. Let go of them. Put your treasure in heaven and your heart will be there too.

3. Trusting God

To give your time, money, or possessions is to trust God with your life. Sometimes “trusting God” can feel sort of abstract. It shouldn’t, but it can feel like a passive exercise to wait on God. Tithing is very tangible, immediate way to trust God that all you need will be provided. 

4. You’ll Be Supporting Pastors and Staff (1 Cor 9:1011)

In proportion of their roles your church staff are giving their lives to the ministry. The full-time staff in a church do not have a side job. They are giving themselves wholly to the ministry. Thus Paul encourages the church to support them. Paul says, “If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? (1 Cor 9:11)” What do you get for the financial investment in your local church? You receive the preaching of the word, pastoral ministry, and discipleship in the church — “spiritual things”. 

5. Joy in the Kingdom of God (Matthew 19:16-30)

Giving to the church, to the poor, and to missions is a means of your own happiness. In Matthew 19 the young  man goes away sad, shut out from the kingdom because he treasured his wealth more than the kingdom of heaven. Supporting the local church is a means of letting go of our earthly treasures for the joy of the kingdom of God. 

6. Participation in God’s Global Work

Consider what all is in your church budget: supporting international church plants, soup kitchens, mission sending organizations, and more. Your dollars to the local church go around the world. Thus, giving to your local church is a means you participate in God’s work around the world! 

7. God’s Love (2 Cor 9:7)

“God loves a cheerful giver”, Paul says. This is not to say that God does not love even sinners until the become givers. It is to say cheerful giving is what God loves in the world! God is a cheerful giver, not a reluctant giver. When we give to his purposes we can know and enjoy that God loves that! God loves it when we give of our possessions for the work of the ministry.  

8. Not Being Anxious

When we hold on to our worldly possessions tightly we grow anxious. We know earthly possessions are not lasting, not dependable, and easily waste away. Tithing is a way in which we practically “seek first the things of the Kingdom of God”, trusting God will provide all we need. You might consider tithing to be anxiety inducing! As you consider tithing you also think about this budget item or that. Seek first the Kingdom and God will add your needs! Believe God, seek the Kingdom. This is living without anxiety. 

9. Find Yourself Living by Faith

Some days living by faith can be a difficult thing to put your finger on. Following the Spirit means being ever ready to do God’s will. Tithing is a regular way of practically living by faith. Be regularly tithing as a means to regularly trust God. You can tithe as a pharisee would, strictly out of duty. But giving and supporting your local church is a practical way to be living by faith. 

10. “Buy In” 

Giving to your local church is a significant way Christians go from spectators and visitors to contributors and participants. If you are a member of a local church you are no longer a guest or a visitor. You are a member, which means your local church’s ministry is your ministry. This is your house. Not tithing at all leaves room for one to continue in the vein that this is their church and I am just a visitor. That mindset will likely keep you from many other opportunities for service and initiative in the church.  

 

I hope this helps you look at your budget for 2021 and consider what matters the most in life! Make plans for your own joy!

Nathan