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The truth about tithing
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When you start talking about money, you have everyone's attention, because there does not seem to be enough to go around. Sooner or later, we all need to come to grips with our financial responsibility to God as the owner of all things. Where does God fit into your finances?

The Bible teaches that our first financial commitment is to God, and it is called the tithe. The word tithe means "tenth portion" or "one-tenth." Therefore, 10 percent of all our financial increase is to be given to the local church or "storehouse" from which we receive weekly ministry.

God accused Israel of robbing him of tithes and offerings and said they were cursed because of it. This curse extended to the whole nation, their land, as well as their crops. Failure to obey and honor God always has its consequences (Malachi 3:7-10).

The first mention of tithing in the Bible is when Abraham paid tithes of all he had to the priest of God, Melchizadek (Genesis 14:20). Jacob, his grandson, vowed to give God 10 percent of all he had been given (Genesis 28:22). Under the Mosaic covenant, God taught his people to tithe all their increase (Numbers 18:26; Nehemiah 10:38).

The scriptures teach that the tithe is holy money, and that it belongs to the Lord (Leviticus 27:30).

It does not belong to us and is not ours to keep and use for ourselves. If we do so, we are a thief. God instituted both the plan, as well as the percentage, of tithing, making it non-negotiable. In the New Testament gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Jesus taught more about money than he did any other subject. It has been said that one out of every three verses in these gospels refer to money and our use of it.

We are taught to give with a cheerful heart, not out of compulsion or necessity (2 Corinthians 9:7). Tithing is about more than money; it is about being a responsible steward over that which God has given us. It is about who we belong to, as well as what our priorities are in life. It is partnership with God.

We need to come to understand that all we have, all 100 percent of it, has been given to us directly or indirectly from God. It is not too much to ask that we honor him with a tithe of that amount to further the work of his kingdom here on earth. Tithing originated with God, not man.

In addition, tithing is a means of blessing. God has promised to open the floodgates of heaven and pour out blessings we can hardly contain if we will honor Him with the tithe (Malachi 3:10).

Are you robbing God? How can you be serving God and robbing him at the same time? We are told in the Bible to "honor the Lord with your substance, and with the first fruits of all your increase" (Proverbs 3:9). Too often we give God the leftovers instead of the first fruits.

I challenge you to make a fresh commitment today to put God first in every area of your life, including your finances. Start today. You will be glad you did. He will be true to his Word!