Normally, I don’t like to start a post with Scripture. Tonight, however, because of the importance of the subject, it’s how I need to start.
Colossians 1:17-20 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
I need you to read that again. “He is before all things.” Let’s be honest for a minute. As Christen men, we fail at this.
I was introduced to a few people I had never met before the other day. As most men do when they are put around a group of people they don’t know, each of us took part in making a little small talk. Somewhere along the line, one of the gentlemen found it necessary to ask what the rest of us did for a living.
I listened to the other guys and while none of them had careers even close to mine, I let them know that I am a full-time student and a writer. Of course, I was asked what I was studying and the type of writing I did. The answers, I study theology and just made the switch from writing about the sports betting industry for a few websites to accepting a job as a writer with a network of ministries and non-denominational churches. Then it started.
“I love Jesus and read the Bible daily, but all a church wants is my money. I spend Sunday morning catching up on sleep. How could you have anything to do with organizations that simply want to tell you God needs 10 percent of everything you have, and then they don’t even have to pay taxes on it once you give it to them?”
So, I did what any of us would have done. I went to my truck and grabbed my Bible and went over the above passage with them. You see, the man-made sure I knew he read his Bible every day. Obviously, he had a respect for God’s Word. Keep in mind, “Before all things.”
Before all things
Depending on the size of the church you attend, you don’t have to look very far for someone who claims to be a Christian who feels exactly like this gentleman did. They start every morning with a prayer and make it a regular practice throughout the day. They’ll read Scripture and even know a few verses word for word off the top of their head. They apply effort in daily repentance and do all they can to live a life they hope is acceptable to God. They are also the ones who pass the plate without putting in a dime. Remember, “Before all things.”
Here’s the thing. God doesn’t need your money. Regardless of what you think about work, He is the one who blessed you with your job. The house you live in and the vehicle you drive, regardless of how nice you think they are, God is the one who made a way for you to have them. Everything you own in life that requires money to obtain is a gift that can be taken from you in the blink of an eye.
I’m sure several of you are already rolling your eyes looking for the ‘x’ to close out the tab. That’s ok. The Bible also tells us when we give we are to do it with a joyful heart. If you can’t do that, you’re defeating the purpose. Ten percent. That’s what we are told to give to God in the Old Testament. Not only ten percent but the first ten percent. Tithing is something we are told to do in Scripture. If the Bible is important to you, this needs to be something you’re doing. But, if the Bible is simply another book you keep on the shelf or a nightstand, don’t worry about it.
When the Bible tells us that Jesus is before ALL things, I’m pretty sure our finances fit in the category of “all.” Kind of like when we read in Scripture the Gospel and salvation are for ALL people, as a person, we qualify.
For Jesus to be before all things in your life, He has to be part of the plan when it comes to money. This doesn’t mean you pay your bills and give Him a part of the change you have left. It means you tithe 10 percent of what you have. I’m sure you have heard it before but if this article makes you feel frustrated or even uneasy, you need to hear it again. God can do more with 90 percent of your money than you can do with all of it.
Why do I need to tithe?
We do this to put God in His proper place in our lives. Like I said earlier, He doesn’t need your money. His lights aren’t getting ready to be cut out and the repo man isn’t banging on His door. What God wants is your heart. It’s been a long day and I’m exhausted, so I didn’t look up specific verses, but Jesus tells us where our treasure is, that’s where our hearts are at. That’s paraphrasing.
I’ll put it to you like this. When you’re not giving to God and His purposes, that means there’s something else more important to you. Maybe you’re saving for a new home or a new vehicle so you skip out on the offering plate when it comes by. You might as well say your heart is more concerned with your transportation and living circumstances than it is obeying God.
Sometimes, things are just tight and you don’t even know how the bills are going to get paid as it is. You can’t afford to give away 10 percent of what you have. This means, your heart is full of worry and doubt instead of having faith and trust in God. If this is similar to the situation you are currently in, you should be even quicker to drop an envelope in the basket. You obviously aren’t going to make it on your own. You need the blessing that comes with obeying God.
Does the church really need my money?
If this is a question you have, I need to try something. Stop looking at tithing as giving to the church. You’re giving 10 percent of what you have to God, not the preacher. And for the record, as someone who used to be at what is known as a “mega-church” in Jacksonville, Florida on a daily basis, a lot more goes into what you experience on Sunday morning than you realize.
The lights are on in the church you attend. Water is used every time a toilet is flushed or hands are washed. The followers of Jesus Christ are the ones who need to be taking care of His church.
Don’t put your trust in the leaders of your congregation to do what they should be doing with what you give. Put your trust in the fact that you are giving to God and He knows exactly what is going on, good or bad.
Make giving to God personal to you.
I hesitate to write this because I’m not sure exactly how biblically sound the advice is. That being said, it’s been part of my experience for more than one season of life so I’m going to include it.
If you are one of the people who struggle giving money to a church, then find a ministry that’s doing something you support and give them the 10 percent you would have been tithing. Maybe, put some thought into becoming a patron with this website. If you are someone who stops what you are doing regularly to read the content and messages we are publishing, consider blessing God’s purpose through us.
As I said, there were a couple of seasons during my life for the previous eight years when I did something similar. No, I didn’t exactly have an issue giving money to the church. I simply wanted to be doing more. So, I increased the amount I was giving each week between two ministries I wanted to be a part of.
I spent time praying about the matter. Then, I had a few discussions with a couple of significant mentors in my life. Instead of giving 10 percent of what I made each week to the church, I began splitting 14 percent every week between the two ministries.
Giving became more personal to me. I was able to experience the benefits of what God was blessing me within someone else’s life. Again, this wasn’t simply a thought I had one morning and started acting on. I discussed it both with God and other men He had placed in my life. No, I didn’t realize it at the time. But, those few seasons of my life were periods when I experienced the most growth. Through making my giving more personal, I was blessed with the opportunity to experience God in ways I never imagined.
If what I shared sounds like something you might want to try, please spend some time reviewing our “about” page. Maybe what we are doing sounds like something you want to be a part of. If so, contact us for information regarding how you can become a patron with our website.
Jeffrey has a degree in theology from Aidan University and is the founder of Gospel Grammar in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. His goal is to inspire others to seek a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.