Saturday October 14, 2023 From Practicing Extravagant Generosity: Daily Readings on the Grace of Giving
Tithing Is a Life Choice “Test me in this and see if I don’t open up heaven itself to you and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams.”
— Malachi 3:10, The Message
The practice of tithing provides a concrete way for us to take the words we speak, “God is Lord of my life,” and put them into practice. Our commitment becomes tangible; our giving becomes a way of putting God first, an outward sign of an inner spiritual alignment.
Tithing provides a consistent and universal baseline, a theologically and biblically faithful standard, that is nominal enough to allow people of nearly any income to meet without imposing great hardship and yet large enough to stretch us and to cause us to do the necessary reordering of our priorities that spiritually reconfigures our values.
Tithing challenges us to ask ourselves, Is my giving generous? Or merely expedient? Do I give for practical reasons to help the church, or for spiritual reasons to nourish my spirit?
The practice of tithing is not merely about what God wants us to do, but about the kind of person God wants us to become. Does the giving I now practice help me develop a Christ-like heart?
Tithing alone is not sufficient to fully meet what the gift and demand of God’s grace requires of Jesus’ followers. The voices of the prophets ring the warning that people cannot expect material sacrifices alone to please God but that God’s reign requires justice, righteousness, and faithfulness (Amos 5:21-24; Micah 6:8). People of God are to practice justice and compassion without neglecting the tithe (Matthew 23:2324).
Tithing requires honest prayer. What would God have me do? Are there things God would want me to give up in order to tithe? The practice causes us to adapt our behaviors to someone else’s will: God’s. No one tithes accidentally. Extravagant Generosity requires focused soul work, deep conviction, a mature spirit, learning, practice, and extraordinary intentionality. Tithing is not merely a financial decision; it is a life choice that rearranges all the furniture of our interior lives. That’s why we do it. Tithing blesses us.
• Have you practiced the tithe, regularly offering ten percent of income to God? If not, what keeps you from doing so? Do you desire to do so? How do you think it would affect your spiritual life?