It was when I had been a student of generosity for some time and had started to give more frequently at church and more consistently with friends and family. I thought I had finished learning what generosity was. I was a good guy now and genuinely enjoyed being generous. I had started to live life with a purpose greater than myself, so I no longer existed to please myself and immerse myself in fun and entertainment. I recognised that I was a part of something bigger.
However, although I was starting to grasp some of the basic concepts of generosity, I hadn’t matured much in the way of Godly giving because there was no strict consistency. I didn’t know how much I was giving, but it didn’t matter to me. I thought that as long as I give a lot, it doesn’t matter how often I give and certainly didn’t matter at what time I gave. I was wrong. A pastor gently pointed out to me that it isn’t so much about the amount I give as much as the heart behind the gift. Was I giving to ‘get it out the way’ for a while? Was I a dependable giver? After examining my motives, I found that my heart was not in the right place.
I needed to decide on how I continued to give. Was I going to remain in a method of giving without structure? Would I apply discipline to generosity? I decided to try giving in the way suggested by the kind pastor. He told me to set aside a percentage of each paycheque, rather than trying to give a specific dollar amount. He also recommended setting aside the percentage for giving before spending money on ANYTHING. Setting aside a percentage of each pay shows that you are disciplined and don’t take God for granted. You are the real deal. Giving immediately or setting aside the amount to give at a convenient time before paying for any bills tells your heart that God is the priority. You could give God 100% of all your leftovers, but what does that matter? 10% of your best means far more than 100% of what you don’t use.
Malachi 3:8-10 says ‘Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.’ This Old Testament verse describes God’s desire to bless His children. The following sentence deserves close attention: God wants to bless you, but He cannot because your heart is hard and not entirely devoted to Him! Do you think God needs your money? NO! He wants your heart!
Matthew 23:23 says ‘“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.’ Jesus shows that although tithing originated from the Old Testament, it is relevant in the new covenant. The fundamental principles of giving are the same today as when the law was first written.