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Tithing—a Matter of the Heart

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Tithing—a Matter of the Heart

The very first story we have in the Bible of tithing is about a couple of brothers, Cain and Abel bringing the first fruits of their garden. Later on, in the Jewish culture they were told to bring lambs, bulls, their crops. That was their currency. The currency has changed over the years.

I had someone drop off a bag of beef steak tomatoes at my house. They rang the doorbell and left. I like beef steak tomatoes. They were good. When I saw him today, he said, “Pastor, those were the first tomatoes from my garden. I gave you the first fruits.” Tithing reflects the time, the currency and the culture.

It’s actually more about the heart than the actual giving. Tithing has to flow out of a heart that has been conditioned by God. The condition of my heart is always more important than the act of tithing itself. God always examines the condition of my heart, not just the action of my hands to see if we do it with the right attitude of the heart.

It’s actually possible to do the RIGHT thing in a WRONG way.

Take communion as an example. God doesn’t just say taking communion is blessed. He says taking communion with the right heart brings a blessing.

So it’s very important that when we prepare to receive communion we carefully examine our hearts before we partake of it. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.[1]

How do we examine our hearts?

  • We slow down.
  • We pray.
  • We ask God to show us.

The Bible teaches that if our hearts are not right when we take communion, not only are we not blessed by it, but we are actually hurt by it! Things actually get worse not better.

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.[2]

This very same principle is true of tithing. Tithing will never secure the blessing of God unless we do it with a right heart towards God and others. That is what the book of Malachi is all about, having the right heart.

Let me give you a little background. Malachi is the last book written before the New Testament era, composed by Malachi about 425 Before Christ (BC). The book of Malachi is so important because it is a bridge, a vital link between the Old Testament and the New Testament. There are four short chapters in Malachi and only 55 verses, but 13 of them are focused giving the right kind of offering to God.

The prophecy of Malachi was the last thing on the mind of God before the coming of His Son, Jesus, the Christ – “I’m going to send my messenger, and he will clear the way ahead of me. Then the Lord you are looking for will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the promise will come. He is the one you want,” says the Lord of Armies.[3]

God said Jesus would come and purify our hearts so we could begin to offer God pure offerings.[4]

That phrase “acceptable offering” always makes me think of Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam and Eve. They were taught to bring God the best, the first-fruits of their crops. If this book was the last thing on God’s mind, and He said that Jesus was coming to prepare our hearts to tithe in the right way, how could anyone in conclude that tithing is not a part of the New Testament experience?

If you have heard that teaching, don’t believe it!

Tithing is as important now as it ever was then in the Old Testament. Tithing has just as much of God’s favor upon it now as it did then. The blessing of the tithe is still a promise from God you can claim.

But tithing is still a matter of heart. We must tithe with a right heart.

Listen to the entire message now on podcast.

[1] 1 Corinthians 11:28 ESV

[2] 1 Corinthians 11:27, 29-30 ESV

[3] Malachi 3:1 GW

[4] Malachi 3:3-4


About Ron Bontrager

Lead Pastor of Lakeview Church in Indianapolis.

One response »

  1. Carol Austin

    Thank you Pastor Ron. Very spiritually informative. God bless you



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