Martin Luther spoke of three conversions that a man must go through, ‘conversion of the heart’, ‘conversion of the mind’, and ‘conversion of the purse’. The first two jingle like a favourite Bible verse… yet the third? With fewer than 500 verses on faith, and over 2000 verses on financial management, this is more than a chime!
I debated how to write this article – do I celebrate God’s truth and abundant promises, or do I reminisce of how He has never let me down? After all, His Word pulses a common theme throughout the Scriptures:
- He loves us
- When we obey His commands
- There is blessing in obedience (read John 15:7)
Sounds simple, right? When it comes to financial freedom and His overwhelming provision, it really can be! In fact, God is so gracious in empathising with our weaknesses, that He says to us, ‘test Me in this’ (Malachi 3:10). The invitation, and the promise that follows, will both challenge and humble you. Malachi warns us not to withhold our tithes, meaning a “tenth of what we receive personally”; which is to be paid over to the storehouse. The storehouse was(is) our temple(church), under the God-given responsibility of the priests(elders).
The Promise? That God will open the ‘floodgates of heaven’, aimed at us, until our barns are overflowing beyond our ability to contain it. This is not the promise of modest provision, or a key to King Solomon’s safety deposit box; but THE gates of Heaven, flooded with provision and intended for the financially faithful on earth. This isn’t a hard-sell!
So why the mechanism of a tithe? Back to the ‘conversion of the purse’, we need it! Tithes, offerings and generosity are all about our Spiritual submission – the area of our faith where we acknowledge that God truly is our provider. The other reason for tithes (in particular), is all about Jesus, and His deep love for His bride, the church. The church needs provision to function well, as He intended.
Enter the New Covenant, and you may be forgiven for asking ‘has anything changed?’
Perhaps our need for submission in Finances?
Or the church’s need for Finances?
Neither – of course…if anything, the need today is so much greater than before. What has changed is our heart attitude.
Jesus corrects the Pharisees in Matthew 23:23 with, “Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.”
In 2 Corinthians 9:6-8, Paul emphasizes this heart attitude, along with a reminder of the Malachi promise: “Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. ‘For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.’ And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.”
I am challenged by this scripture to give even more… We can’t out-give God. As we present our finances with open hands, our generosity makes way for more of God’s provision. The parable of the talents (Matt 25:14-28) emphasizes this relationship of good stewardship: if we are faithful in what He has entrusted us with, He will entrust us with more.
As stewards of God’s money, we must therefore value financial wisdom above all – plan well (budget), pray always, and exercise generosity in abundance. Generosity is a muscle – the more you give, the stronger the giving-muscle grows!
Faith, floods and freedom – is this your reality?