"As soon as the order went out, the Israelites generously gave the firstfruits of their grain, new wine, olive oil and honey and all that the fields produced. They brought a great amount, a tithe of everything." II Chronicles 31:5
"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it." Malachi 3:10
Hopefully, I have established the Scriptural basis for the priority of the tithe. Here's a quick recap:
1. The tithe belongs to the Lord
2. The tithe is the FIRST tenth of your income
3. The tithe redeems the rest - the 10% blesses the remaining 90%
4. The tithe is either brought to the Lord or it is lost
5. The tithe develops faith since it is presented first
This morning I want to call your attention to something that may surprise you and I give you these two verses for examples. As you read and study the topic of tithing throughout the Scriptures you will notice the absence of one prominent word. What word is that? The missing word is "give"!
There is a sound reason for the neglect of this word. You "bring" the tithe you don't "give" the tithe.
Let me illustrate with this scenario. Suppose you are going to be out of town for a couple of weeks and my car is in the shop for some repairs. I come to you and ask if you would be so kind as to loan me your car while you are out of town.
You graciously agree to loan me your car if I agree to take you to the airport and then come to pick you up on your return. We seal the deal with a handshake and I get you the the airport, use your car with great care and look toward the day I will come to get you at the airport.
The days arrives that you return and I am there awaiting you at the arrival lane. We load you up and head toward home. All the way home I enjoy hearing about your trip. When we get back home I turn to you and offer you the keys saying, "Take these! Barbara and I have been praying and I both feel strongly that God wants us to give you this this vehicle. Please receive it with our blessing! We won't take no for an answer!"
You stare at me in unbelief for several seconds before asserting, "But, Brad, it's my car!"
"Exactly!" I respond, "And we both want you be blessed with it!" And as I thrust the keys toward you I reiterate, "Please, take these and enjoy!"
By this time you are ready to humor me and as you take the keys you mutter, "You can't give me this car it's already mine!"
And you are right! I can't give you what already belongs to you! I can bring it but I can't give it!
As ridiculous as this scene may be it is repeated countless times as Christians try to "give" God what already belongs to Him. They can "bring" it to Him but they can't actually "give" it to Him.
You may be thinking, "Come on, Brad! You're being picky! That's just a matter of semantics!"
Maybe, but maybe not. If you bring your tithe thinking that it belongs to you and you're "giving it" that matters!