by Rick Warren — July 23, 2018
“The purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your lives” (Deuteronomy 14:23 TLB).
Here are four verses that explain the promise, the purpose, the place, and the day for tithing.
First, Proverbs 3:9-10 gives the promise about tithing: “Honor the Lord by giving him the first part of all your income, and he will fill your barns with wheat and barley and overflow your wine vats with the finest wines” (TLB). God says that if you honor him with the first part of your income, he will bless you financially.
Kay and I decided over 40 years ago that if we’re going to be in debt to anybody, we’re not going to be in debt to God. God gets paid first, right off the top. If I make 10 bucks, the first dollar goes back to him. If I make a hundred bucks, the first 10 bucks go back to him. It all comes from God in the first place, and I want his blessing on the rest of it.
Why does God tell us to tithe? Deuteronomy 14:23 says, “The purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your lives” (TLB). God doesn’t need your money, but he wants what it represents: your heart. He wants you to trust him.
Where should you tithe? Do you tithe to United Way? Or do you tithe to your brother who’s been out of work for three years? No. That’s charity. Tithing is an act of worship. It goes to God.
Malachi 3:10 says, “‘Bring to the storehouse a full tenth of what you earn . . . Test me in this,’ says the Lord All-Powerful. ‘I will open the windows of heaven for you and pour out all the blessings you need’” (NCV). The storehouse is the temple or the place where you worship God.
When are you supposed to tithe? You do it on the day you worship. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 16:2, “On every Lord’s Day each of you should put aside something from what you have earned during the week, and use it for this offering. The amount depends on how much the Lord has helped you earn” (TLB). When you give to God on the first day of the week, the first part of your day, and the first part of your money, you’re declaring, “You’re really number one in my life.”
Notice that the verse says to “put aside.” You’ve got to plan this! Tithing should not be an impulsive thing. You’ve got to plan for it so that you are honoring God’s plan and purpose for tithing. Then you can watch how God blesses and uses you and honors his promise in your life.