GROWING OUR FAITH # 2: Our faith and our tithe!
On Sundays at FBC, Lexington, Tennessee, I am preaching out of the book of James and the series is called “The JAMES Experiment: Does Faith really work?” We are talking about growing our faith. Last week I wrote that God tests our faith through trials. This week I want us to think about how God tests our faith through our tithe.
Tithe…now isn’t that a fun word? A Baptist pastor can say the word “tithe” and watch people cringe, cry, coward, or cop-out. Ha! I am, of course, talking about the topic of faith and our money. Did you know that money is one of the greatest tests of faith in your life? Our material possessions test our character and our faith. For a lot of people, their possessions have become the god of their lives. Possessions or the pursuit of possessions has become the priority and focus of their lives. I have found that this issue of money is one of the greatest tests we face because many people do not want to give up their own self-made god to worship and give to the one true God, who is the creator of all things.
Once Jesus said this very thing about money in Luke 16:11, “So if you have not been faithful with the unrighteous money, who will trust you with what is genuine?” When the Bible clearly teaches that we are to give, we often do not realize that we are being tested. The spiritual maturity of our Christian lives is clearly revealed the moment we are asked to open up our hearts and wallets to tithe, give, or to trust God with our possessions. To tithe is a demonstration of our faith. To give 10% of your total income to the Lord instead of to the mortgage payment, your credit card debts, your personal entertainment, food, or going the places you want to go, is a way of showing the world that the Lord has top priority in your life. When I’m willing, ready and able to generously give the Lord knowing that this money could be spent for other things, it is a test. Just like God uses trials to test our faith, He also uses our tithe (money) to test our faith.
Paul spoke clearly to this issue of money when he wrote this in 2 Corinthians 8:7-8, “7 Now as you excel in everything—faith, speech, knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love for us—excel also in this grace. 8 I am not saying this as a command. Rather, by means of the diligence of others, I am testing the genuineness of your love." What we learn from Paul is that our money tests our faith and it is really a test of our love! Every time we give, we grow! Our faith grows…our love grows…our hope grows…our spiritual maturity grows. Every time we give we break the cycle of materialism in our lives. Giving demonstrates who and what we really love. We give that that which is of most priority in our lives. Follow your money trail and you will discovered the destination of your love and devotion.
Get really honest right now and answer these 2 questions:
1. If God looked at the giving that you give to Him would God say that you really trust Him?
2. If God looked at your giving would he say that have you been afraid to do what His word says?
Rick Warren once said, “In this area of giving the most sensitive nerve in the human body goes from the wallet to the heart.” I think he is right! God tests our faith through trials, but also through our tithe! Will you pass the test?