Many pastors make claims that if you tithe faithfully, or very generously, God will likewise bless you abundantly. They leave the promise at that, and continue using it week after week.
Here’s my issue: it is clear that there are over a billion—if not more—professing Christians living in poverty. Who is to say they aren’t tithing? Paul was a faithful man of God, but he lived quite humbly.
I myself have been faithfully tithing for five years or so, and according to America’s standard, hubby and I are poor.
God is not a shmuck. He examines and tests our hearts. Do you really think if we are faithfully tithing, all the while expecting and greatly desiring to be rich, that He will go ahead and make us rich? If our motives are wrong, will He really grant our desire?
Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”? (James 4:1-5 NKJV)
Does not the bible warn that the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil? Did not Jesus say you cannot serve both God and money? And I am pretty sure Christ never promised riches. However, I know He certainly promised that God will provide what we need—with a condition:
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:31-33 NKJV)
Are we really seeking to be righteous? Are we really concerned about discipling others and expanding God’s kingdom on earth, or are we too busy hoping we’ll get rich so we can spend it on our pleasures?
I challenge you, even if you think your desire to be rich stems from a noble cause, like wanting to be able to give more, examine your motives. Get before God and ask Him to reveal to you your motives. Because in the opinion of a few of the apostles, just desiring to be rich period was a snare and caused the falling away of many.
Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. (I Timothy 6:6-11 NKJV)
Even Jesus said it was extremely difficult for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. So just be content with what you have. According to Paul, clothes and food should be enough to make us happy. I know our culture bombards us with the lifestyles of the rich and famous, flashes luxury in our faces excessively, and pressures us to buy, buy, buy, but just look away. Focus on eternity. If God wants to give you riches, that’s great. If He never makes you rich, that’s great too. Whatever He wills for you is good, pleasing, and acceptable (Romans 12:2). Just be faithful now with what you have, even if it’s a little. Because I’ll tell you what, Jesus was way more impressed with the half penny the poor widow gave than the abundance that the wealthy people gave.
Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.” (Mark 12:41-44 NKJV)
It’s always the heart that Jesus looks at. He’s more concerned with your heart’s intent than your actions alone. If the act of obedience comes from an evil motive, He won’t be pleased, no matter how much you give. If you are poor and still tithe faithfully because you want to give back to Him for the ministry, He is pleased, even if all it is $10 a week from your $100 paycheck. “God loves a cheerful giver.” We can assume He also disdains a bitter giver.
May we continue to keep our eyes on the true prize which is our eternal salvation, and the abundant riches we have in the Spirit; fellowship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, adoption, acceptance, mercy, favor, forgiveness, love, joy, peace, power, and boldness.
Much love to you. Praying for you.
Check out my latest eBook on amazon, Kiss A Frog, Miss the Prince.