The Mustard Seed
Economics by The Book
The sixth principle for financial security is learning the blessings and freedom that come with tithing. The word "tithe" is an old English word that means "tenth." In the Bible, "tithe" means giving back to God 10% of all income -- not merely 10% of the loose change that's left after the bills have been paid.
My first lesson in tithing came in a true story from a pastor who served a country church. He invited a wealthy businessman, one Mr. Kuekendahl, an executive in the Ayers department store chain, to be the speaker for a week of special evening services. The meetings were well attended and the people appreciated Mr. Kuekendahl's teaching.
As the pastor drove Mr. Kuekendahl back to the train station, Mr. K. asked, "Pastor, may I ask you a personal question? Do you tithe?"
"Oh, I really believe in tithing, and I teach it to my congregation," answered the pastor.
"That's not what I asked," said Mr. K. "My question was, do you tithe?"
"I would if I could," said the pastor. "But we are a poor family serving a poor congregation. There is barely enough money coming in just to live on, and there isn't enough for a full tithe."
"Let me make you an offer," said Mr. K. "If you would be willing to commit yourself to a full tithe for the next 12 months, any time you find that you are short of funds to meet your obligations, you need only to call me, and I will personally refund the full amount you have tithed, no questions asked."
The pastor thought, "I have nothing to lose. This wealthy man can easily afford a tithe on my meager income many times over."
"Okay," said the pastor. "I'll try it."
The pastor kept his commitment to tithe, giving to the Lord the first 10% of everything he received, both from his salary and gifts. He found that during that year he experienced much less financial stress. There were fewer doctor bills and fewer car repairs. The congregation was able to increase his salary, and members gave unexpected gifts of food and clothing.
The year was almost up when the pastor realized that he had not even once considered calling his friend to recover his tithe. But the businessman's commitment was only for one year. The pastor faced a decision. Should he continue tithing without Mr. Kuekendahl's safety net? Or should he play it safe and return to his previous habit of contributing only what he could spare?
"Then it dawned on me," wrote the pastor, "that I was trusting the promise of a man, but was unwilling to trust the promise of God." From that time on, the pastor did not stop tithing.
The Bible says:
Should a person rob God? But you are robbing Me. You ask "How have we robbed You?" You have robbed Me in your offerings and the tenth [tithe] of your crops. So a curse is on you, because the whole nation has robbed me. Bring to the storehouse a full tenth of what you earn so there will be food in my house. 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. (Malachi 3:8-10 NCV)
A good friend of mine said it well: "I can't afford not to tithe!" I agree.
~~ Pastor Ron
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Pastor Ron Friedrich