of The Message
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.
we 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.
as 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.
the 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
in 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
is 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.”
that 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,
Thanksgiving, Honor, 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
admit 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.
past 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
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
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
"Bring 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.” Malachi
Blessing 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. Soon a beautiful vine stretched all over the
counter tops. It was a wonderful, successful project.
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
said, "are you ready to harvest your potatoes?”
looked at me and started to laugh. "There aren't any
potatoes in there.”
said, "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!
you 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
tithe is giving a Tenth...
it is an Investment... and next it is an expression of your
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
past 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.
out 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
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 value.
we 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.
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.
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.
first 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,” he said.
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 heart.
Heavenly 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.