Giving God Our Best & First
Many people, especially in America, frown on or are afraid of Tithing. We make up every excuse in the book, such as, the church has enough money, I barely make it on what I got, God doesn’t need my money.. He is God. Or we see some churches taking advantage of tithing for their personal gain and set that as the standard for all churches. But mostly I believe it comes from fear of letting go of our hard earned money.
We must remember we are not giving to the church… We are giving to God out of obedience and honor for what He has given to us. No matter how little we think we have or how much we have, our offerings to the Lord should always be our first and our best.
How do we know this to be Truth? From the very beginning, we see from Cain and Abel, the standard God sets before us for giving back to Him. Cain was called to work the soil of the land, while Abel was called to keep the flocks. Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering. Abel also brought an offering – fat portions from some of the FIRSTBORN of his flock.Then it says, v. 4 The Lord looked with favor on Abel, while Cain was not so favorable. Why? They both brought something to God as an offering. So why is one favored and one not?
Let’s take a look. It says that Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil. But notice Abel’s offering, it says that he brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. Do you notice anything different? Abel was given the flocks to watch over and care for, and it says that portions of his FIRSTBORN to God. Another words, right off the top, he gave back to God what God had given him to watch over. With Cain, it says that he brought some of the fruits of the soil. This means, it could have been the left overs, the bad ones, anything. God then sets the standard, by finding favor with Abel’s offering and not Cain’s.
God gives us everything we have. Even the things you think are toys, pleasures, work, money, extras… God has given them to you to watch over and for your enjoyment. He tells us in His Word that He will provide for all of our needs. Yet we don’t want to give Him back the little He ask for in return and then we expect to be blessed because we at least gave Him something. After all, we did work for our money, we earned every penny. Nevermind the fact that God also tells us that all things come from Him.
Have you ever been there? I have… I have had my pity party more than not, but if I am honest, I relate more to Cain than I do with Abel. Notice Cain in verses 5-6, He becomes angry and his face is downcast. Then notice God’s response to Cain in verse 7, “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” What is He saying? He is saying that we have the power (through God and His instruction) to overcome sin. And not giving back to God as He has clearly instructed us to, is sin. But Cain, as many of us have done or will do, he let’s his bitterness and anger control him. In the very next verse (8), he tricks his brother and takes him out and kills him because of his jealousy, anger and bitterness, all of which come from not yielding to God’s clear authority in our lives.
Then God comes to Cain in verse 9, and asks him where his brother is. Do you really think God doesn’t know? But Cain, lies to God and smarts off, saying “am I my brothers keeper”. Then God lays it down on Cain. He tells him that Abel’s blood cries out from the ground and tells him that he is now under a curse. And listen to this… He says that when he works, his ground he was given will no longer yield crops from his hand.
Now, I can not say that your work is going to be cursed if you don’t tithe. That is for only God to rule on. What I can say is this, God is very clear in His Word about everything, especially with the Holy Spirit as our guide. Here, He sets an clear standard of what He wants back from us. Does He need it from you? No! Does He want you to trust in Him in all things, including giving back to Him what He has so clearly given to you? Yes! God does not want to harm us, He wants to bless us. You need to look no further than the Cross and Jesus to see that. If He wanted to harm us, He would have ended this a long long time ago. What He does want is us… All of us! Not just bits and pieces of us, not when we need a miracle, but all the time us. That is how we get to know His true nature, by trusting Him in all things. And let’s be honest… our finances, well that is the hardest thing for us all to let go of. We base our security, our future and our current situations on it. We need money for just about everything these days, including water. So why wouldn’t we be fearful? But God has proven to us that He is very trustworthy and will always provide for us.
In closing, what are you holding on to today? Are you tithing or giving back to God like He has commanded us too? Are we bitter, angry or even jealous? I want to remind you of this…
1) you can never out give God.
2) When we disobey God’s commands, it is sin and sin is the road to death.
3) Giving in anyway is far more rewarding than receiving, especially done with the right heart and the right motives, and especially when you give as if you are giving to God, not a church or person.
Trust in Him in all things… open up the door to faith and let Him show you just how faithful He truly is.