Week 2 Tithe Challenge
DO THE MATH – PASS THE TEST
Week 2 – Commit and Budget
Last week we talked about tests and although no one likes tests, everyone likes advancement. In life, tests are the assessment for advancement. Today we are going to look at the tithe test. Tithing is a simple test with a simple answer but for some reason Christians look at it and respond, “Go ahead and fail me.” We know the answer, but unfortunately God’s people have been failing tests like this throughout history. A good example of this is found in the book of Malachi as God gives the people a wakeup call to see their selfish actions and subpar offerings. God tells them the reason they are under a curse is because they are robbing the very blessing He desires to give them.
8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me.
“But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’
“In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me. 10 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 you will not have room enough for it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the LORD Almighty. 12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty.” Malachi 3:8–12 NIV
The word tithe means tenth. The people were not living up to the simple standard that God had given them and so they were experiencing a financial curse. That curse could be easily broken by taking a test to which they were already given the answer. This wasn’t a research project; this was a trust and obey test. In Sunday school we have taught this verse by giving the kids money. We gave them the purse as a craft (they had to assemble and decorate it) and then we gave them the money to put in it. After they were given the money we told them to calculate their tithe (10%) and put it in the offering. The rest was theirs to keep. I can hear some of you saying, “I wish someone would give me money.” The fact of the matter is that Someone has. Every time you get money in anyway, it is a gift from God. His standard is to give or trust you with His money and after you give 10% back to Him the rest is yours to spend. It is actually a sweet deal. So the test is this, if you give God His 10% back, He will open the storehouse of blessing and if you hold onto it and give any percent less than 10%, you place yourself under a financial curse. It is cursed because it is not redeemed and is now reacting in accordance to a cursed and fallen world. But our Redeemer has come! He redeemed our souls from the curse of the law and He desires to redeem our finances as well. He places a test before us, and lets us choose.
God wants to advance your faith by placing the tithe test before you. He wants to advance the Church by testing His people and seeing if they will faithfully do the math and bring the whole tithe to the storehouse (the Church). When this happens the Church will be funded in accordance with God’s plan but not because your money decreased. Your money will instead increase as it is blessed by the Creator of the universe. The challenge is this- over the next 40 days figure out how to get your giving up to the whole tithe (10%). Most people don’t have 10% of their income available as flexible spending so this is where the work comes in. Sit down and either examine your budget or write a budget for the first time.
Here is some resources we put together to help you make a budget:
Budget Lesson and Budget Resources http://www.ashfordchurch.org/GIVING/Budget-Resources/
ALSO go to our 40 Day Tithe Challenge title page to see a short video budget talk by Dave Ramsey and a tithing talk by Craig Groeschel
“Do the Math and Pass the Test.” You will be glad you did!