Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.” — Proverbs 3:9-10.
The practice of tithing is too demanding upon the usual man of the world, too exacting for the cold formalist, and at times too imperative for the carnal Christian. To the child of God who wishes to please and honour his Lord, the laying aside of a specific amount is not only a privilege, it is a delight. To mark a percentage of our income, “This is for the Lord,” is to always have a continual sweet savour offering for Him.
The Apostle Paul, in writing to the Corinthians stated, “Upon the first day of the week, let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him” (1 Cor. 16:2). God similarly instructed his ancient people Israel, saying: “And it shall be, when thou art come in unto the land… thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit of the earth, which thou shalt bring of thy land that the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt put it in a basket… thou shalt go unto the priest that shall be in those days, and say unto him, …A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous: … And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruit of the land, which Thou, O Lord, hast given me” (Deut. 26:1-10).
Furthermore, the Lord also states who are the beneficiaries of this tithing: “When thou hast made an end of tithing… and hast given it unto the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled” (Deut. 26:12). If you wish to spiritualize this stranger (Eph. 2:19), as the unsaved, then we have a suggestion relative to the furtherance of the gospel. The firstfruits of Israel’s harvest was an acknowledgement of their redemption and a proof of their gratitude to God. Should we who have been redeemed from sin, death, and hell deny God His claims upon us? Could we be happy spending selfishly that with which we could honour Him? We often sing:
“‘Tis we, O Lord, whom Thou hast shown
The deadly bitterness of sin;
We, who forgiving love have known,
May fitly bring thank offerings in.”
“So shall thy barns be filled with plenty.” What a promise by our God! If we give to Him what is His due, He will return to us more than our due. In this matter we must learn to honour the Lord; not to honour ourselves.
Malachi throws down the challenge of the Lord: “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of Heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Mal. 3:10).
Recently at one of our conferences a brother told me that during last year he doubled his tithe for the Lord, and that in return the Lord had repaid him abundantly; He sent him more work than at any previous time. How true the promise, “Them that honour Me, I will honour” (1 Sam. 2:30)!
Robert Telfer used to tell of a Scotch sister who in her earlier years was very generous. She eventually inherited a large estate. After that it was sensed that she was not so generous. Some one, for her own spiritual good, ventured to ask her the reason why, and received the answer, “When I had a shilling purse, I had a guinea heart; now I have a guinea purse, I have a shilling heart.”
An elder in a medium sized assembly confided that the average weekly contribution per person in their assembly was $3.00. Such liberality is most commendable, and should speak to the conscience of many who pay little attention to this important matter. May the Lord touch every one of our hearts, and may we respond promptly and sacrificially.
“Bring the tithes into the storehouse,
Ye who say that Christ is Lord.
Yes, bring all the tithes and prove Me,
‘Tis the challenge of His word.
Bring the tithes of gold and silver,
Tithes of income and of gain,
Tithes of stall and tithes of sheepfold,
Tithes of fruit and tithes of grain.”