Though I do not believe that tithing is the legalistic proposition that it was in Old Testament times, I believe in tithing as a base of giving to the Lord and have seen Him bless it many times. And, giving to the cause of Christ does have its share of promises. When the Philippians gave sacrificially in order to help Paul in his ministry, He told them, "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19). Other promises include the following:
Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
Proverbs 3:9-10 Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.
2 Corinthians 8:14-15 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.
2 Corinthians 9:6-7 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
As a rule, I have found the keeping of these promises to be fairly straightforward. That is, when I give to the Lord and to the needs of others, God will take care of my needs. However, I need to warn you, this is not some sort of trick or magic. We should never give in order to get. God is not a game master and all we have to do is learn the rules and we will automatically have success. His concern is much deeper--first for our eternity and then for the health of our heart and soul. He can use poverty to bring about His purposes as much as He can use prosperity. In Philippians 4:12, Paul testified, "I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need." Paul knew what it was to be hungry and he knew what it was to suffer need. Yet he counted Christ sufficient in all these things.
Sometimes, God uses poverty or sickness to work in us and make us what He would have us to be. Giving to the Lord is not some sort of maneuver by which we obligate God to send us money. It all belongs to Him and we can never put God in obligation to us. Romans 11:35 states, "Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?" Recompense means to pay back. No one has ever given to God first so that God now has to pay Him back. We will always have received more from God than we could ever pay Him back for.
Here are some thoughts for your present trial.
- Continue to trust in the Lord even when you do not see immediate relief.
- Look for other things that the Lord may be teaching you through this trial. Sometimes, the sooner you learn God's lessons, the sooner the trial ends.
- Consider your own motives for giving. If you are giving in order to get, you have the wrong motives. Please allow God to work in your heart.
- Never blame God for your problems or failures to get the results you desire. The problem is always with us, although it may just be a matter of understanding what God is doing.