Faithfully Given to Give Faithfully(18/01/04)
by Dr. Robert
My message today is very simple ... everything we have is a gift
from God. So it follows that that if everything is a gift from
God, everything belongs to God. We really don't own anything.
Yet we have this perceived conception that we do... because we
have hold a piece of paper called a "title" or a "deed,"
that allows us to use things and property while we're alive.
know without a doubt that nobody takes a U-Haul to Heaven, right?
We don't commonly see moving vans packing up and heading into
the clouds. We enter this world with nothing, and we leave this
world with nothing, and while we're here on planet earth, however
long that may be, we become managers of that which God has entrusted
to us, be it property, cars, bank accounts, whatever you have.
we enter and leave with nothing, there is a lot of space between
these two occurrences, isn't there? During this life span we have
the responsibility and privilege to be used by God, and make the
most out of this one life He's given to us. Along the way He's
given us some guidance, and some rules to live by, all in an effort
to help us make this space of time we have on planet earth productive,
enjoyable, and rewarding.
beginning it was quite clear. God created the Heavens and the
earth. He created the world we see, then he took a lump of clay
and breathed His breath of life into it and created Adam, the
first man. God gave to man the responsibility to take care of
everything He had made. From that day to the present, God has
faithfully given to us everything we have.
response to His faithfulness, we have the privilege and honor
to faithfully give back to Him. Today I'm referencing the Old
Testament book of Leviticus 27 where God refers us to the concept
of tithing. Here the bible states that, "a
tithe (or tenth) of everything from the land, whether grain from
the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord. It is holy
to the Lord."
the command that the Lord gave Moses on Mount Sinai for his people.
It is the law of God for us, His people, to tithe... giving a
tenth of everything we earn back to Him. My definition for tithing
goes as follows: "A tithe is giving a
tenth of your income to God as an
investment to express your thanksgiving
and accept His divine honor for you
eternally. That's what a tithe is.
That's what God has called us to do. He is faithfully giving to
us so that we can, in turn, faithfully give."
definition of "tithe" is actually easy to remember because
it's an acrostic. The acrostic spells tithe, T-I-T-H-E.
A Tenth, Investment,
Eternally. So it begins with giving
a tenth back to God. Does that scare anybody? If we're being honest,
we will all admit that it scares us. It scares me every time I
do it. After all, a tenth is a lot of money. So you begin to ask,
"Lord, you mean if I earn a hundred dollars at work my first
responsibility is to give ten away? Do you realize just how fast
ten dollar bills fly out of my pocket in this modern day world?
Lord, I have teenagers! You can't imagine how fast they can spend
it's a challenging thing to do, and yet it is probably the most
important decision you will ever make in your life. Tithing is
also just enough to be scary, but just small enough to be do-able.
Furthermore, it is possible for anybody in any economic situation
to tithe, to grow into the position of being able to tithe. So
what is the first critical step in tithing? Number one would be
to face your fears.
summer I had the privilege of traveling to Africa to deliver wheelchairs
to the poor for a non-profit organization called The Wheelchair
Foundation. One of the things my family and I did while we were
there was to take a few days and go on a safari. I must say that
I never feel closer to God then when I'm in the midst of His creation,
going into the wild and seeing see some of the marvelous animals
that He has created.
we were there, the guides taught us some very interesting facts
about lions. One guide told me that lions hunt in a very unusual
manor. What they'll do is place the old lion, who just isn't able
to run very fast anymore, as close to the game as they can. Then
the young, healthy lions will form a circle quite a distance out
from the game, with the old lion in the center of this giant circle.
Then that old lion will do what he does best, he'll roar as only
an old lion can. What happens next is very interesting. The game,
hearing that tremendous roar, will run away. Where are they running?
... right into the jaws of the young lions. The moral of the story
is that when you hear of something that frightens you, run to
the roar. Run to the roar and face your fears. Many times you
will find that your greatest fears aren't so great after all.
if your greatest fear is money, or not having enough, perhaps
it's time to face your fears. It's called tithing ... ten percent.
This is probably the greatest investment with the most positive
returns you could ever imagine. The Bible tells us in
your tithes to the storehouse and see if I will not pour out such
a blessings that your storehouse will not be able to contain it."
is another word for happiness. Happiness
overflowing to the point where your storehouse won't be able to
contain it. To me, that's exciting. Much more exciting than a
nicer car and a nicer house, and more "stuff". All that
good stuff doesn't make you happy. Happiness is something that
comes from within. It comes spiritually. It comes as a promise
from God when we learn this incredible lesson of tithing.
is an investment. What happens when we invest? When my children
were younger, one of the science projects they had was to stick
a potato in the glass of water. I'm sure every biology class in
the world sticks the potato in the glass of water to watch the
roots grow. Well, we used a sweet potato, and over time my kids
watched as this glass of water filled with roots.
beautiful vine stretched all over the counter tops. It was a wonderful,
My wife took that potato plant, and instead of throwing it away,
she buried it in a small planter we have along the patio and forgot
about it. A few months rolled by and she said to me one day, "Robert,
that potato plant is just totally out of control. Would you go
and get rid of that plant?"
"are you ready to harvest your potatoes?"
at me and started to laugh. "There aren't any potatoes in
"What do you mean there are no potatoes? If you planted a
potato plant, there will be potatoes."
are no potatos in that plant," she said.
I said, "Let's go take a look." So we went outside and
I grabbed the plant by the stalk and yanked it out of the ground.
Sure enough, hanging off of the roots were dozens upon dozens
of sweet potatoes. Not having grown up on the farm, my wife didn't
realize that the seeds of her investment were growing ... beneath
the surface were all these potatoes just waiting to be harvested.
We planted a seed. We planted one potato, and in its place we
harvested a five-gallon bucket of potatoes. That's an investment!
invest in tithing, you invest in the Lord's work and that investment
will come back to you in many ways, sometimes monetarily, but
often it will come back to you in the form of a blessings where
you need the blessing the most. Only God in heaven knows where
your blessing is needed today. Yet God will touch your heart,
your mind and your life with a blessing.
is giving a Tenth... it is an Investment...
and next it is an expression of your Thanksgiving.
There is no greater way to express our thanks than to actually
give something to God. This gift is a tangible expression of our
faith in Him, and our thanksgiving for what He does for us.
week, my wife and I were invited to go to Mexico to a health conference,
and one of the things they did was take us to an organic farm.
I'd never seen an organic farm before, needless to say I was rather
curious to see just how an organic farm worked. This particular
farm was a tomato farm. The family that ran the farm decided that
they were going all organic. So they hired an M.D. who was also
a horticulturist from Grand Rapids, Michigan to help them put
this farm together. In addition, they hired a horticulturist from
Israel. You now have two immigrants to Mexico giving this family
direction on how to build an organic farm. The man from Israel
showed them special irrigation techniques because of the harsh
desert climate and the sandy soil.
of this sand, they are now producing some of the finest crops
in the world. They know they're the finest because they actually
have the tomatoes tested for nutrient value. This is where the
doctor from Michigan comes in. His goal is to create a tomato
with very high nutrient value so that the human body receives
the strength it needs to fight off disease. He's trying to make
a difference in the world through horticulture.
we were there, this doctor explained that everything starts with
preparing the soil. If you don't have the proper soil to plant
the crops, the plants will not be able to obtain the desired nutrient
tithe, we spiritually prepare the soil. We spiritually prepare
our bodies as healthy soil to receive all of the blessings that
God wants to give us. We begin to open our eyes and look for the
blessings of God.
is giving a Tenth of your income
to God as an Investment to express
your Thanksgiving and accept His
divine Honor for you Eternally.
is God's way of honoring us as His children. Only the children
of God are given the opportunity to invest in His church. Did
you notice that? The people He asks to give are the ones He wishes
to recognize Him as Lord of their life. That's why I'm asking
you to begin tithing. Express the Lordship of God in your life,
and accept the honor of being one of His chosen people. It is
an honor to be called a child of God, and a privilege to tithe,
to invest in the kingdom of God on earth.
money I made was a ten dollar bill. I received that ten dollars
from my uncle after I had walked the fields all day long chopping
weeds out of the bean fields. I don't know if things have changed,
but when I was a child we walked the soybean fields with a machete
to chop down the weeds. We would do that all day long, two rows
at a time. When I finished, my uncle was kind enough to give me
a ten dollar bill. When he gave me that ten dollars he said, "Now
remember, you put one dollar in the offering plate Sunday".
bucks and I have to put one in the offering plate? Are you sure?"
I'm sure," he said.
So I did,
and I've been tithing since. Tithing is something I will do Eternally,
which is the last word in our acrostic that spells T-I-T-H-E.
I don't know if there's money in Heaven. But if there is, I'll
tithe in heaven, because I've learned that it is impossible to
out give God. The blessings are too many to count. So we do it
Eternally. Begin by placing your
fear of money in the hands of God. Then make your pledge to give
a tenth of your income back to Him. You life will begin to change
when you realize that you are making an investment, the greatest
investment in the world, and that you are doing it with a thankful
Father, we thank You for the privilege of accepting Your faithfulness
to us. Give us the courage to trust You, to take You at Your word,
to tithe. Thank You, Lord, for the privilege of giving. We love,
You Lord, always and forever. Amen.