Sandra Hamer Smith

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The Power of the Tithe

 

 

            From time to time, I feel the need to sound off on topics because it is on my mind and spirit and I believe that God places it there.  The students of one of my graduate courses got into a discussion about the haves and have nots.  Of course, we really didn’t touch the surface.  Also from time to time, I will hear people refer to ministers as pimps.  So, this is their excuse for not tithing.  If the naked truth be told, some people don’t want to tithe because they just don’t want to give God the money.   A lot of times, they don’t tithe because they don’t believe in the messenger. They are greedy, feel that they need it, or the enemy has kept them so bound that to tithe might seem like the nail that will be put in the coffin.

            I would like to let you know that it is the other way around.  To continuously not tithe can put the nail in the coffin.  It can be the straw that broke the camel’s back.  The Word of God is true: Malachi 3:10-12 declares:

       Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

    And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.

     And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.  Take time also to read Deuteronomy chapters 26-28.

            I am thankful that God has touched my heart over the years to tithe.  We keep hearing about the big transfer of wealth.  I believe that the transfer is already taking place.  It just hasn’t hit my house yet, and maybe it hasn’t hit yours.  I know there are a lot new books out that talk about the tithing.  I really haven’t had time to read those books. It is sometimes a challenge to write books, read books and study books for class. 

            I will however pull from my own experience with the tithe and tell you how God has dealt with me and I will try and share what I have learned from ministers and just challenge you to do your own research.

            I was raised as a Christian and baptized around 11 or 12 years of age.  I gave money in the church as it was given to me.  I would give money as an adult.  Once I got planted in a church in my mid 20s, I believe I started tithing because that’s what our Pastor said we should do.  I believe in what He said because I felt like he was looking out for my best interest.  At the time, I was at Olivet Baptist Church on Southern.  I would also give special offerings and believe that God blessed me because of that.  I will say that most times I had extra money.  I did buy stock and had my investment split.  It almost split for a third time, but I had taken the money out to buy a house.  The Bible says in 2 Chronicles 20:20 And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and you inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall you be established; believe his prophets, so shall you prosper.

            What we have to understand is that we are dealing with humans.  I use to see the world through rose colored glasses and believed that most people would do the right thing.  However, as I get older I believe that people get off track.  They sin and they fall short of the glory of God.  I also understand that Christians and church folk put sin in different categories.  That is why it is so important to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Most folks even try to question whether or not people are hearing from God. 

From my experience God does not talk to me verbally all of the time.  Sometimes, He speaks to me through where He guides my eyes.  Sometimes, it is through the discerning of spirits.  I have heard His voice only once and no one on this earth can make me believe that I had a bad dream.  The Bible says in John 10: 1-5 I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! 2 But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. 5 They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.”           

            From my experience God verbally speaks to me inside my head.  I do know that He is clearing out my ears to hear from Him better.  I do know that He hears my prayers because my hearing is adjusted when He listens.  The enemy however, might curse you out.  He might laugh at you or something else.  That is not the voice of a Father.

            A lot of people lose faith in the church and withhold the tithe because sometimes you will give and then sometimes you will give emotionally. I remember when I was saving for a new roof, I literally had to leave my checkbook at home unless it was for the tithe because after my initial giving it seemed as though I was encouraged to give extra and a higher level.  No one really has to force me to give.  I believe in God and He has showed up in many ways.  You will have to wait for my finance book for me to tell you in detail about how God moves with the tithes and how He will give you a million dollar idea.  I have seen Him give someone an idea and they were not prepared.  God is not going to give constantly to people who are wasters or you have gotten so carried away I believe in your sins.  He also gives to whomever He wants and sometimes that person’s lifestyle might be jacked up, but every time some church or person is in need, they are writing a check and God can use them because they are not greedy.

            I am sure that you have your own testimony.  What I am saying to you is this, take your tithe to a local church that you believe in.  People will miss the mark but understand that judgment begins in the house of God.  If that man or woman of God does not handle God’s money in a manner that is pleasing to Him, God will handle that person.  Your tithe ensures that you will have a roof over your head, food to eat, transportation, health, and protection of your family.  We have to stay prayerful.  You have to use common sense.  If I have given you my tithes faithfully and don’t want to participate in special offerings, that is my business.  I for one don’t like to give special offerings unless there is a blessing linked to it.  I believe that God is trying to increase His people and not just the ministers who preach the gospel.  I am open to God leading me more in this area. I will confess that I love TBN or Trinity Broadcasting Network. That is some fertile ground. When we had a non-profit, I had this bright idea of the business tithing to TBN.  We started receiving grants.  I have just never been a greedy person.  I have my own specific characteristics, but thanks be to God that is not one of them.

            I have heard people say that the way to tithe is to give 20% as opposed to 10%. Saints, I really need to hear from God on that one.  I have tried the 15% and have gotten increase but my faith is not at the 20% level.  I rationalize giving 15% because I still give in other offerings.  The church is not going to pay my mortgage, utility or car note, so I have to make sure that I am managing what I have left after the tithe.  I cannot get too caught up in emotionalism.

            I think if people are trying to bully people out of extra money, that is not right and it is not of God.  The Word of God says “My commandments are not grievous.”