If you have gone to church much at all, you have probably heard the word tithe used. You might not know what that term means or where it came from. Don’t feel bad. A recent study asked Americans, “Are you familiar with the term “tithe,” here are the responses.
- 39% of U.S. adults said yes
- 43% of all Christians said yes
- 59% of practicing Christians, defined as attending church at least once a month and saying their faith is important to them, said yes
- 37% of nonpracticing Christians said yes
- 34% of non-Christians said yes
We use a lot of words and language in the church that we do a poor job of explaining. So, this morning as we prepare for our offering, I thought it would be good to talk about the tithe. Literally, the word tithe means ten percent.
The tithe originated in the Old Testament. In Genesis 14, Abram, who would later become Abraham, fought a battle with some wicked kings and defeated them. In those days, the winner got the spoils of victory. Abram meets Melchizedek, the king of Salem, who was also a priest of God. Melchizedek blesses Abram, and Abram gives him a tenth of all the spoils.
From that time forward, we see God’s people being encouraged to give at least a tenth of what they made back to God. Perhaps the most famous of all Bible passages about tithing is found in Malachi 3:10, which says, “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.”
This verse is both a command and a promise. In fact, God tells us to test Him. He is asking us to tithe, but he is also promising to bless us in return. He says that He will throw open the windows of heaven for us if we will be faithful in the tithe.
In these days of economic uncertainty, when you need everything going your way, can you really afford not to have God’s blessing? One way to assure that you do have His blessing is by being faithful to tithe back a portion of all He has blessed you with. This morning would be a good time to start as we take this offering up.