We Give Thanks to God Always for All of You

“We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 1Thessalonians 1:2-3 (ESV)

We are 120 days past the first stay-at-home order and Louisiana Baptists have published the mid-year Cooperative Program contributions report. As I read over it, Paul’s noble expression to the Thessalonica saints came to mind and I gave thanks to God for His people in Louisiana. These three phrases describe the response of Louisiana Baptist churches and members to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Work of faith – One question that arose in the minds of many at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic was, “How will we survive financially?” It was a question posed by families, churches, and businesses, at every level. It would be understandable if people would tighten their belts and conserve their resources. The domino effect of such a response would be the ministries and missions of local churches, associations, state and national conventions would be greatly affected. But by in large people continued to give graciously as a testimony of their faith in God. There have been adjustments, and most are down some financially, but due to the faithfulness of God’s people, ministry has continued unabated.

Labor of love – The gracious giving of God’s saints testifies, not only to their faith in Him, but their love for Him. They love God and God’s people and thus give to support ministry at home. But they also love people abroad and thus give to support missionaries in other lands. In both cases, their giving is a labor of love for God and people that helps fulfill the two great commandments.

Steadfastness of hope – Christians give during difficult times because their hope is focused on God rather than temporal things. Sometimes believers lose their focus and become consumed with immediate crises, resulting in anxiety fueled by self-reliance. Thankfully, this has not been the response of Louisiana Baptist believers. They have demonstrated a resolute hope in eternal God and a refusal to be distracted by a temporary crisis.

I am thankful to God for Louisiana Baptist churches. Some are larger than others, but each is valued. Some give more than others, but each gift is important. Every church’s investment is vital to fulfill the task God has given us. Thank you, Louisiana Baptists! We are indeed, better together!

8 More Reasons to Give

1. It’s A MIRACLE

When you open yourself up to giving through the tithe you get a glimpse into the supernatural. Ask a tither if supernatural provision has ever happened in their years of giving and inevitable the answer is, “Yes.”

2. It’s a FAITH BUILDER

Tithing strengthens your faith muscles. Once you begin to trust your money to God, you’ll find that it’s easier  to trust Him with everything else in your life.

3. It’s a JOY

There’s a deep feeling of bliss that comes from giving with no regard for receiving. Givers are the happiest people on the face of the earth.

4. It’s UNIFYING

Tithing believers are believers that say to God and their church family, “I’m all in.” Tithing husbands and wives are saying to each other, “There’s something a whole lot bigger going on in our marriage than just us.”

5. It’s CONTAGIOUS

Once tithers experience God in giving, they want to share with others about the grace and provision God has provided. As we share the joy of giving, others are inspired to give.

6. It’s TAX-DEDUCTIBLE

Yup, it’s the most minor benefit. But it’s a benefit!

7. It’s A GREED SLAYER

One of the most debilitating characteristics of unhappy people is greed and it spills over into every area of our lives. Unfortunately, greed can go viral – but so can generosity.

8. IT’S BIBLICAL

Last, but not least, give because it’s a Biblical principle and promise. “’Bring the full tenth into the storehouse so that there may be food in My house. Test Me in this way,’ says the Lord of Hosts. ‘See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out a blessing for you without measure.’” Malachi 3:10

Reasons You'll Love Tithing

 

If You’re Going to Give …

We all understand God is the giver, and He wants us to be givers as well.

But before you give, there are some things you must understand.

First, give yourself as you give your money.

Many people make giving a legalistic enterprise. Or, they make it a quid pro quo. They give to God, and they expect God to give to them.

Giving must be more than finding a way to get more. It must be a giving of self to God that He may grow us through the experience.

The Apostle Paul used the Macedonians as an example for the people at Corinth: “but first they gave themselves to the Lord” (2 Corinthians 8:5).

Second, give your best to God. In the Old testament, giving one’s best was at the top of spiritual requirements.

David talked about not giving anything that didn’t cost him something (2 Samuel 24:24).

In Leviticus, God required that they give their best animals for sacrifice. You can see what a struggle that had to be because giving the best animals meant that they were giving their future.

They had to trust God with their present and their future. When we give our best, we are trusting God with our present and our future.

Third, if you’re going to give, give cheerfully. Don’t make it a transaction (I give to God and he gives me more) and certainly don’t make it a drudgery.

God does want a cheerful giver. “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

Sometimes, I hear people say, “I don’t give because I can’t give cheerfully.” That is not what this verse means. It means, “get your self cheerful as soon as possible.”

It also means to look carefully at why you are giving. Cheerful giving will be because of our desire to worship, glorify, and please God. It will be because of our deep gratitude for God’s goodness and blessings.

It will be for the purpose of helping others experience what we have found in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Your giving will be good for you, and it will bless you. Be sure to grow closer to God in the process by giving cheerfully, doing your best, and giving yourself to God first.

Tithing is not Taboo; Generosity is Better Than Greed

Special Contributor: Ronnie Floyd

Tithing is the spiritual practice of honoring God by giving the first tenth of your entire income to your local church. Tithing is not taboo, meaning it is not banned, prohibited, or forbidden. Your church may not emphasize the importance of tithing from your entire income, but it is a very important part of the Christian life.

Generosity is a lifestyle that gives freely and lives openhandedly. Generosity is the amount beyond the first tenth you give to your church. I can assure you that generosity is better than greed.

Greed is an insatiable desire for more. Greed is about grasping, craving, acquiring, and hoarding, while generosity is about giving, charity, blessing, and handing.

Greed is Not Godly

Christians ignore and mock God’s Word when they do not honor God with giving at least the first tenth of their entire income to their local church. They try to rationalize or even justify it, and some even attempt to explain it away biblically. I have never discovered anyone who practices tithing and generosity try to explain why tithing and generosity are not biblical.

Somehow, we must grow in our faith enough to understand that when we do not give biblically by both tithing and practicing generosity, we are not walking in godliness. Greed is not godly.

No One is Exempt from Tithing and Generosity

Pastors, staff members, elders, deacons, lay leaders, and all Christians are not exempt from tithing and generosity. In fact, when we do not practice giving the first tenth of our income and enter into the sphere of generosity, we are practicing and choosing greed.

Greed is like a rattlesnake that many of us want to snuggle up with in our hearts. While on a run last week, I ran upon a Copperhead snake lying right beside the curb. I did not cuddle with it; in fact, I ran with a chill up my spine for the rest of the week.

Greed is not about how much a person has or does not have. Greed is a matter of the heart. I have seen greed exist in the lives of those who have little and I have seen it exist in the lives of those who are overwhelmed with wealth. Nice things are not wrong until you violate God’s principles of giving in order to attain them.

There is Only One Way to Avoid Greed

There is only one way those with much or those with little avoid greed: Giving the first ten percent of their entire income to their local church and moving into the sphere of practicing generosity. They completely embrace a lifestyle of giving freely and living openhandedly.

Pastor James MacDonald is correct when he says that giving the first tenth of all God has given to you is the on ramp to the highway called generosity. Wherever you are in your life educationally, vocationally, or financially, ALL BLESSINGS flood the person and family that get on this on ramp that leads to the highway called generosity. 

Living on 90% with God involved will go much further than living on 100% without God involved.

When you obey God’s Word about giving and generosity, you are getting God involved in your life supernaturally. You are never more like Jesus than when you give.

Living on 90% with God involved will go further than living on 100% without God involved. I have never met any person who practiced giving the first ten percent of their income through their local church that ever regretted it or did not have their needs met in life.

Three Important Things to Remember

  1. Pastors need to preach unashamedly and uncompromisingly what the Bible says about tithing and generosity. When you speak on tithing and generosity, there will always be some who will complain or crank up the rumor mill. But just remember pastor: Many who do so do not give as they should biblically. Many who cause this stir are carnal and do not want to face the reality of their greed. Pastor, you and your family should model giving at least the first ten percent of all God gives you through your local church and practice generosity beyond that.
  2. Laypeople, encourage your pastor to preach on tithing and generosity. Lead the way laypeople, encouraging your pastor to preach on tithing and generosity. Encourage and defend him both privately and publicly. Rebuke people who want to criticize him for doing it. People who do not want to hear and be challenged in giving are people who are not practicing giving God’s way.
  3. Give freely and live openhandedly. Be a giver, not a grabber. Live generously, not greedily. Give freely because God gave all He has given to you freely. Live openhandedly, sharing it with your church and other people because none of it is yours anyway. You own nothing; God owns everything. Give it away freely and live your entire life openhandedly.

By the way, even when you die, leave at least the first ten percent of all God had given you in your life and legacy to your local church. Additionally, practice generosity by giving to your church even beyond the first ten percent and then to other Christian ministries that are advancing the gospel globally.

We are never more like Jesus than when we give. Allow God to be part of your life in a supernatural way by giving biblically.

Now is the Time to Lead,

Ronnie W. Floyd
Senior Pastor, Cross Church
President, Southern Baptist Convention

Giving and Tithing Quotes

“Remember this—you can’t serve God and money, but you can serve God with money.”
— Selwyn Hughes

“I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare.
—C.S. Lewis

“The measure of a life is not its duration, but its donation.”
— Peter Marshall

“Earn as much as you can. Save as much as you can. Invest as much as you can. Give as much as you can.” — John Wesley

“If a Person gets his attitude toward money straight, it will help him straighten out all areas of his life.”
— Billy Graham

Let us give up our work, our plans, ourselves, our lives, our loved ones, our influence, our all, right into God’s hand; and then, when we have given all to Him, there will be nothing left for us to be troubled about. — Hudson Taylor

A checkbook is a theological document; it will tell you who and what you worship.
— Billy Graham

I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all. But whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.
— Martin Luther

Worship is giving God the best that He has given you. Be careful what you do with the best you have. Whenever you get a blessing from God, give it back to Him as a love gift. Take time to meditate before God and offer the blessing back to Him in a deliberate act of worship. If you hoard a thing for yourself, it will turn into spiritual dry rot, as the manna did when it was hoarded. God will never let you hold a spiritual thing for yourself; it has to be given back to Him that He may make it a blessing to others.
— Oswald Chambers

“No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.”
— Calvin Coolidge, 30th U.S. President

The Sweet 16 of Tithing

So your pastor preaches on giving? Thank him!

He’s giving you some important news about one of life’s greatest secrets. A pastor who invites members to tithe invites them into a life-changing, soul-transforming experience that affects every area of their lives. In truth, it’s unfair to you if he’s not teaching you about this principle that’s changed history in ways we’ll never completely know until we get to heaven!

So here’s the short list of reasons you should be giving a tithe (10% of your income) to your local church.

  1. It’s worship
    Whether you’re in a church with electric guitars or pipe organs, everybody should have an opportunity to give because from Genesis to Revelation, giving is true worship. Think about what you are doing when you illogically say goodbye to a large slice of your income that you could be using somewhere else, doing something else. You are saying, “Lord, above everything, I believe in You. It all belongs to You! This is a symbol of my complete belief, trust, and dependence on You to be my everything.”
  2. It’s a promise.
    Here’s the deal, the Lord says. “If you’ll be faithful in this area of obedience, I promise you that I’ll take care of everything you’re going to need. Trust me in this. You cannot out-give me.”
  3. It’s a teacher
    If you want to teach your kids the best way to handle money and to be financially responsible, teach them about the tithe. Tithing has taught me how to avoid the virus of materialism and learn the bliss of generosity.
  4. It’s a blessing
    A young adult tried to convince his 86 year old grandfather that he really didn’t need to worry about tithing because he wasn’t really making any money and was living on very little. The grandfather replied, “Why would I want to give up doing the one thing that makes my life have meaning and purpose?” He knew that the once you begin the journey of generosity and tithing Go will carry you through and enrich your life far beyond any money that you hold on to.
  5. It’s a provision
    When you tithe, you’re taking care of the facilities of your church, the minster(s) and their families. If your church gives through the Cooperative Program you are a solution to ministries and missions all over the world.
  6. It’s a test
    Throughout scripture, God is continually testing those who follow him. Across the pages, we see men and women struggling with a God who dares them to trust Him a little more every day. But there is one area of our lives where God invites us to test Him. It is in this thing called the tithe. He says, “Test me! I dare you! I will come through.”It’s also a test for you as a follower. God knows that money is a strong and effective indicator of the condition of your heart.
  7. It’s an investment
    So much of the resources we spend are slippery. They’re spent on things that will be broken, consumed, experienced, expired, and cast aside. The investment of the tithe is sure.
  8. It’s eternal
    And the reason it is sure is that it is eternal. None of us will bring our cars, our homes, our 401ks, our boats, our jewels or our food into Heaven, but our tithe is a different story all together. We are investing in a kingdom that is built to last. And last FOREVER. The calculations of compounding interest over 30 years are quite impressive to most people. Can you get your brain around compounded interest over 30,000 years? The lives that are saved, the movements that are started, the resources that are provided are used to do eternal things. There is no greater investment than the investment in eternity!
  9. It’s a miracle
    When you open yourself up to giving through the tithe you get a glimpse into the supernatural. Ask the tither if supernatural provision has ever happened in their years of giving, and inevitable the answer is, “Yes.” For some reason, God rewards the tither with a glimpse of the supernatural.
  10. It’s tax-deductible
    Sorry, but the accountant in me had to point out this minor little benefit!
  11. It’s a faith builder
    It’s true, tithing is an illogical risk, but it strengthens your faith muscles. The more you tithe, the more God shows up, the more you trust, and the more you are willing to do things that are beautifully unsafe. Once you begin to trust your money to God, you’ll find it easier to trust him with everything else in your life.
  12. It’s a joy
    The givers are the happiest people on the face of the earth. There’s a certain deep feeling of bliss that comes from giving with no regard for receiving. We realize that it wasn’t ours in the first place and so money takes on a transcendent meaning that can’t be found in wealth accumulation.
  13. It’s unifying
    Tithing can unify believers in a church. Tithing believers are believers that say to God and their church family, “I’m all in.” Tithing husbands and wives are saying to each other, “There’s something a whole lot bigger going on in our marriage than just us.”
  14. It’s contagious
    Once tithers experience God in giving, we want to share with others about the grace and provision God has provided us. We share the joy of giving and God’s graciousness to us and others are inspired to give.
  15. It’s a greed-slayer
    One of the most debilitating characteristics of unhappy people is greed. Like generosity, greed can go viral. And when we feed the greed, it spills over into every area of our lives.
  16. It’s biblical
    Last, but not least, we give because it’s a biblical principle and promise. Here are a few excerpts from the tithing narrative that God threaded throughout his Word. Here are just of few of the promises God gives in His Word regarding tithes and offerings.

Bring the full tenth into the storehouse so that there may be food in My house. Test Me in this way,” says the Lord of Hosts. “See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out a blessing for you without measure.”
Malachi 3:10

The Lord also said to Moses, “Tell the Levites to give to the Lord a tenth of the tithes they receive—a tithe of the tithe, to be presented to the Lord.”
Numbers 18:25 (ESV)

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:6-7 (ESV)

Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the Lord’s; it is holy to the Lord.
Leviticus 27:30 (ESV)

Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God that he has given you.
Deuteronomy 16:17 (ESV)

Reasons You'll Love Tithing