Tithing Part 4: Blessings Of Giving
The principle of tithing is such a crucial part of our discipleship and walk of obedience before God. When properly understood and applied in our lives, it releases blessings both promised by God and indirectly upon our life and ministry. In this article, we will examine the key promises and its benefits for every believer who applies it.
This article is part of a Tithing series which includes “Part 1: The Biblical Principle”, “Part 2: Distinguishing Tithes and Offerings” and “Part 3: Giving From Our Hearts”.
PROMISED BLESSINGS FROM GOD
The Scriptures reveal blessings promised by God when we are faithful in our giving.
Malachi 3:10–12 (NIV) 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the LORD Almighty. 12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty.
God promised overflowing blessings to be released from heaven when we are faithful in our tithes unto God. Three specific blessings are mentioned in v11. Although God applied it to the immediate and relevant context of agricultural produce for the Israelites, the principle of the blessing continues today. Blessings of protection (such as protection from pests), fruitfulness (such as full yield of crops) and prominence (such as other nations calling Israel blessed). Broadly speaking, that is God’s heart. To bless those who are faithful to Him.
Blessing of Protection
When we give from the outcomes of the work of our hands because we trust God, God has promised to protect the outcomes of our work.
When we give from the outcomes of the work of our hands because we trust God, God has promised to protect the outcomes of our work. Have you ever experienced the disappointment of investing into your work, what you produce, only to suffer loss because of poor outcomes? God is saying, “If you will trust me with by faithfully giving part of your income, I will protect your source of income.” I do not wish to broaden this promise beyond what God likely intended. God did not say that the crops would not encounter pests but that the pests would not devour the crops. Setbacks may occur, but we should not face loss because of God’s protection.
Since the early days of my Christian faith, I determined to tithe faithfully unto God, even in my student days. In all my years, I found that God blessed, provided and protected me in all my employments. During my university days, God provided engineering trainee jobs beyond what was needed. It provided for my educational experiences and financially. Even as I was completing my doctorate engineering studies, God provided for me a research job in CSIRO which I did not even seek out. I was head-hunted, even before I completed my doctorate. That was highly unusual. Until even today, I have the unusual distinction of not having to apply for nor compete for a job. This included every leadership role, every directorship role. This is my unique faith journey.
Blessing of Fruitfulness
When we faithfully give of the fruit of our work unto God, God will multiply the fruitfulness of our hands.
In the promise “the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe”, God is essentially promising the Israelites a full harvest. It is a blessing of fruitfulness. When we faithfully give of the fruit of our work unto God, God will multiply the fruitfulness of our hands. I will qualify here that what God blesses in return is not always like for like. It is up to God the manner in which He blesses.
In 1990, when God challenged us to be involved in pioneering a church in Melbourne, I had to make a tough decision. Because I had a cushy part-time job in the research division of BHP, while still completing my doctorate. This job helped provide for us as my doctorate scholarship had basically run out. I knew I could not possibly hold this job while helping pioneer a church. By faith, I let it go. Miraculously, God worked another provision for us. A couple of months later, my professor and I received approval for a research grant which my professor converted into a research scholarship for me. It covered the income I would have received from the part-time job for nearly 2 years. Further, the research grant was to undertake research that I had already planned to do anyway in my doctorate. Basically, I was getting paid to do nothing extra!
At the same time, God also blessed the fruitfulness of our student ministry while pioneering the church. We gave unto the Lord, of our finances, of our time, of our dedication and the Lord blessed us with abundance!
Blessing of Prominence
God’s blessings will lead to prominence because of the quality of the fruitfulness.
God’s promise in Mal 3:12 (NIV) “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land” is a promise of prominence. God’s blessings will lead to prominence because of the quality of the fruitfulness.
Not only does God promise to give beyond what we had given, He will give of a higher quality in return. Just as in the wedding at Cana, when the servants trusted Jesus, He turned the water which was given to Him into the best wine (John 2:1-10). This help sets the stage for prominence.
In my previous story, I mentioned that I received a research grant. From that research, I was able to publish 4 scientific papers in some major international journals. Unknown to me for many years, they became prominent papers that have since been cited some 900 times to this point (as per Google Scholar). And they are still being significantly cited some 30 years later! My research contribution in that particular field of engineering became prominent. I never imagined it would happen. But with God’s blessings, it did!
I did publish many other scientific papers from my doctorate and research scientist work. But almost none come close to the prominence of those papers. In fact, the total citations of the other 20+ papers are about half of those 4 papers.
Experience God’s provision
2 Corinthians 9:6–8 (NIV) 6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
When we are faithful in giving to God, God will be faithful in providing for us.
When we are faithful in giving to God, God will be faithful in providing for us. God will not leave His people in want, who are faithful unto God. God desires to provide for us in order that we can abound in every good work. That is the general principle by which God operates.
When we decided to pioneer the church in Brisbane, we knew it was a matter of time before I would go full-time. We were prepared never to own our own house. Yet God provided for us. A few years into our church plant just as I was preparing to go full-time, we had a sum of money due to our savings from our very frugal early days of marriage plus some help from our parents. Yet in the area where we were searching for some possibilities, we could not afford even a small 10-year-old house. Then Lai Ling came across a piece of ridiculously priced land. We managed to buy the land and build a brand-new house cheaper than a 10-year-old house in that area! We managed to pay off the mortgage in about 5 years. It was only possible with God’s provision.
INDIRECT BENEFITS OF GIVING
Learn To Be Faithful Stewards
It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that most of what we have, or perhaps even all, is the result of our hard work. Tithing reminds us that all we have is actually God's.
Psalm 50:10–12 (NIV) 10 for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. 11 I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine. 12 If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it.
It also reminds us that as stewards, we are to be faithful with what God has entrusted to us.
It reminds us that God owns all and the privilege we have in giving back to Him a tenth. In doing so, it also reminds us that as stewards, we are to be faithful with what God has entrusted to us.
Once we have given our tithe, we would have 90% left of our income and this ought to force us to be more careful in how we spend it. When people have in abundance, they tend to be more carefree in their spending. The danger is we end up spending on frivolous or unnecessary things. But when we have less, we tend to be more frugal and careful. It helps us distinguish between what we need and what we want.
I grew up in a lower middle-income family. We were always careful with what we spent our money on. The frugality taught me the importance of discipline in the use of money. In the early days of our marriage, we lived very simply because we had a lower and uncertain income. I even salvaged a thrown-away 20 year old fridge from a front yard and made shelves from wire mesh. It served us for another 5 years before it finally died! Often, having a little less can provide great life lessons compared to simply having more. I have discovered that having learnt to live with less, we can gain more later on.
The perspectives and disciplines we learn as faithful stewards will serve us well for the rest of our lives.
Realigns Our Priorities Heavenward.
Jesus taught in Matthew 6:20–21 (NIV) But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
For where our treasure goes, there our focus tends to be.
Wherever we lay our treasures, there our hearts will be. If our priorities are to be heavenly minded rather than worldly minded, there is where we ought to direct our resources, monies included. Such giving for God's Kingdom helps sharpen our focus on the impact of our giving. If we need some help to realign our focus, we should intentionally choose to give for God's Kingdom. For where our treasure goes, there our focus tends to be.
I have found personally, when I have to save up to make a significant purchase such as a new lounge set or car, or to pay off our house mortgage – it focuses my priorities. In the same way, when I determine to set aside, to save a certain proportion for God’s purposes focusses me on those heavenly priorities.
There was once a non-believing businessman whose Christian friend encouraged to support a Gospel endeavour. At first, he gave reluctantly. Then he began to read of the tangible impact it had in changing lives of many young people. Eventually he began to give regularly to this "community work", as was his perspective. After some time, he decided he must personally check out this endeavour to ensure his money was well spent. As he followed the Gospel endeavours, he began to be confronted with the Gospel itself and eventually came to Christ. His heart followed his treasure, and his treasure led him to Christ.
Will Be Refreshed
Proverbs 11:24–25 (NIV) 24 One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. 25 A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
There is a definite sense of encouragement and even fulfilment in knowing our giving led to others being helped and blessed.
When we give faithfully unto God, we bless by investing into God’s Kingdom. God’s church is supported, ministry is enabled, church workers are provided for, missions is advanced, outreach into the community is sustained, etc. Much blessings are released as a result and more people are blessed. Such blessings also return in some form to us. There is a definite sense of encouragement and even fulfilment in knowing our giving led to others being helped and blessed.
Our church has invested into a free annual Christmas event for the local community. We have held it for over 20 years. In this event there are all manner of fun activities for children from face-painting, stall games, petting animals, rock climbing, laser shootouts, tug of war to dances, performances and carols. Food and drinks are provided for every visitor. Every child receives a significant Christmas present with opportunities to win many special prizes from the games and activities. It is a huge investment of finance, resources, volunteer hours, etc. What has blessed my heart all the time is to see the hundreds of happy faces. The times when grateful parents came up to thank us for our efforts because otherwise it would be another tough Christmas for their family.
John D. Rockefeller was the world’s richest man. Yet at 53 years old, he developed an unusual but serious ailment. He was given a year to live based on his doctors’ prognosis. Earlier in his life, he had been ruthless in acquiring his wealth. But this shocking prognosis changed his heart and he decided to give much of his fortune to churches, schools, hospitals, educational institutions, etc. He even enjoyed giving dimes to children when they approached him. He miraculously recovered from the life threatening ailment and lived to 97 years old.
Break The Cycle Of Materialism
The world we live in today, continually draws us towards materialism with its endless, even hypnotic marketing to buy and buy even more. It paints the picture that the possession of certain products will immediately improve, even elevate our lives.
Choosing to set aside a portion of our income for God and His Kingdom, helps us die to our fleshly wants and break the cycle of selfishness.
Choosing to set aside a portion of our income for God and His Kingdom, helps us die to our fleshly wants and break the cycle of selfishness. To avoid the trap of consumerism and materialism by giving more focus to heavenly priorities.
1 Timothy 6:17–19 (NIV) 17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
When we give faithfully unto God through tithes and offerings, God is pleased, and He will bless us in a variety of ways. There are also additional key benefits in giving generously and faithfully. Which is why, giving is such a blessing to both the receiver and giver.
Copyright©️2023 by Wilson Lim. All rights reserved. Materials are free to be distributed in whole or part as long as proper acknowledgement is given to the author and not sold for profit.