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Section 4  - Let Your Light Shine Study #16  - Tithes And Offerings
Tithes And Offerings

Introduction:A scholar once noted that money/wealth is the second most mentioned topic in the Bible (after the topic of “love”). The way that we handle our money/wealth says a lot about our spiritual lives. Sometimes the attitude toward giving our weekly offering is that we are taking part of our paycheck and offering it to the church leaders/administrators.

While it is true that this weekly contribution meets practical needs of the church (facilities, salaries, ministry budgets, missions growth), such a view does not capture the spiritual reality of our giving. The reality is that God has given us everything we have, and by giving this weekly offering we are returning a portion of that to God as a willing sacrifice. In this study, we’ll examine three ideas that should govern our attitude toward giving to God through our weekly contribution to the church.

The Scriptures:

A Spiritual Act…

Proverbs 3:9-10
9 Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops;
10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.

In the same way that the OT Israelites honored God with their tithes/firstfruits to the temple, we are honoring God with our contribution.

What is your perspective on giving contribution? Do you see it as a spiritual act? Or do you view it as simply putting money in a church administrator’s hands?

A Sacrifice…

Mark 12:41-44
41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts.
42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.
43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.
44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything--all she had to live on."

The widow’s offering was the greatest in Jesus’ view because it involved the greatest personal sacrifice; it was not about the $ amount, but about the sacrifice behind the amount

What do you think is the difference between viewing contribution in terms of “sacrifice” instead of strictly “$ amount”? How would that change your giving?

A Willing Heart…

2 Corinthians 9:6-7
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Paul communicates 2 important principle for “giving” in these verses
     Give much = receive much; give little = receive little
     God loves a cheerful giver

What is the difference between giving “cheerfully” and giving “reluctantly”? Why do you think it matters to God what we are feeling in our hearts when we give?

Weekly Offerings to God...

Pray and decide what is a willing and sacrificial amount to contribute (it is between you and God).

Be consistent (weekly/monthly) and have integrity about your giving (if you miss a contribution, plan to “double up” the next time you give).

Budget a saving plan and be organized about your contribution (I Corinthians 16:1-4)

Other Passages

Acts 2:44-47
44 All the believers were together and had everything in common.
45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,
47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Sacrificial attitude of early Christians

Acts 4:32-5:11
32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.
33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.
34 There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales
35 and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.
36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement),
37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles' feet.
5:1 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property.
2 With his wife's full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles' feet.
3 Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?
4 Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God."
5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened.
6 Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.
7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.
8 Peter asked her, "Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?" "Yes," she said, "that is the price."
9 Peter said to her, "How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also."
10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband.
11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.

Barnabas’ acceptable contribution vs. Ananias and Sapphira’s unacceptable contribution relationship with a Christian…you need advice!

The Spiritual Exercise: Look over your personal budget (if you don’t have one, get some help and create one). Pray. Decide what would be a sacrifice and commit that amount every week as an offering to God.