One of the most powerful texts in the Old Testament concerning giving is in Malachi 3:8-10, where God accused the Israelites of robbing Him. God's chosen people questioned this claim and asked, "How do we rob You?" God's response was, "By not making the payments of the tenth and the contributions." God then went on to make a powerful challenge: "Test Me in this way. ... See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out a blessing for you without measure" (v.10). That is a powerful promise from our gracious, giving God!
When it comes to the New Testament, the actual word tithe is no longer mentioned, so does this mean the strong message of giving to God in the Old Testament is no more? Nothing could be further from the truth! In light of what Christ has done for us on the cross and the amazing grace we receive, our giving should be a reflection of what our heart treasures.
The Gospel of Matthew 6:21 records Jesus saying, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Our giving should be viewed as a part of our worship to the Lord. If we are just giving to mark off a line on our spiritual checklist, we are merely involved in charity and we are missing out on the great joy of being a cheerful giver. This idea of our giving being a part of our worship is expanded upon in 2 Corinthians 8-9 as the apostle Paul makes the following points.
- Those who follow Jesus should excel in the grace of giving.
- Giving is an expression of the love the believer has for God.
- God loves willing and cheerful givers.
- A willingness to be generous in giving is more important than the amount given.
- Our giving will result in praise and thanksgiving to God.
- Our giving should be a natural response to God's gracious gift to mankind.
In light of what God has done for us through Jesus Christ, why would we not want to give God our best?