Vol. I Number 3
3 Sept 99
Stewards of the Tithe
The definition of a steward is: one who manages another's property or financial affairs; one who has charge of the household of another. A steward then, is someone who has been entrusted with responsibility. Of the many responsibilities that God has entrusted us with, the tithe ranks as one of the most important and yet it is often neglected. If neglected, the enemy is given opportunity to attack.
I want to thank those of you who have faithfully tithed to the West Coast Church of Deliverance (WCCD). People in deliverance churches tend to tithe a higher percentage than people in non-deliverance churches. However, it's a sad commentary that the average church in America is supported by 20% of its members. Though we're armed with the knowledge and conviction of tithing, it's easy to forget, delay, or even allow the enemy to talk us out of it.
An unsolicited conversation my wife had with a coworker recently impressed upon me the need to encourage God's people to be faithful with their tithe. In passing, this coworker declared, "It's payday and I need to go and write my tithe check out first thing, otherwise I'll forget and spend it, then it seems things just never go as smooth for me in life. When I tithe, everything goes better for me." I'm not sure if this lady understood the spiritual principal that she had stated¾that of paying the tithe as a first fruit, thereby stopping the work of the devourer.
Malachi 3:8-11, KJV reads, " Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 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.”
We see in this passage that if we bring the tithe into the storehouse, God will pour out blessings on us. The tithe is 10% of our increase or income. This already belongs to God; it's His property. If we don't return it to him we are placed in the "thief" category and a judgment is put on us.
The promises that follow faithfulness are among the most grand of all of God's promises. This challenge from God should be all the encouragement we need to be found faithful, even before we consider the negatives from not obeying His word. It would be foolish to consider the argument that tithing is no longer required before taking a look at the promises involved.
Luke 11:42, KJV reads "But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone."
Consider this analogy of the tithe: Two people go to work for the same company¾your company. Your coworker has a salary that is 10% of yours. The company combines both of your paychecks into one and gives it to you. The right and honorable thing for you to do is to take the 10% out of the total and give it to your coworker. Remember, this is not a bill you're making a payment on¾you're merely returning to the owner what is rightfully his and does not belong to you. If you tried to make an excuse why you couldn't pay your coworker, it would sound foolish. What if you said, "I'm sorry, I spent your 10% for a pressing need I had¾my rent was due, or my tires went flat, or my kids are sick¾besides, you already have enough money. I'm sure you won't miss this little check, in fact, I think you owe me, don't you?" Your coworker would be justified in saying, "You have no right to keep that money, it's mine! You've robbed me! If you don't give it to me I’ll report you to the authorities until you repay all of it!"
Matthew 5:26, KJV reads, "Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.
Matthew 18:34, KJV reads, "And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him."
In other words, God is saying, “The tithe is mine. You have no right to use it. If you do, you're robbing me.” Why don't you live within your means? If you can't meet expenses, cut back on some of your expenses, i.e. shut off the cable TV or the telephone; give up your pets; cut back on entertainment; or work a second job. Month after month some of God’s people grow accustomed to using His tithe. Instead of adjusting expenditures to live within their means, they "borrow" from God and sometimes make rash vows to make it up someday. Then they wonder why things don't go smoothly.
I have never found a person who has been faithful in giving their tithe ever comment that they regretted doing so. I encourage you to accept the challenge God has given us so that He will be able to bless you. I want all of you to experience the most blessed life possible.
Deuteronomy 14:22-23, KJV reads, "Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. And thou shalt eat before the Lord thy God, in the place which He shall choose to place His name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the Lord thy God always."
This Deuteronomy passage explains why God has instituted the tithe¾so that we may learn to fear the Lord. Look at the book of Proverbs for a short review on the fear of the Lord or listen again to the tape entitled, ____________________*. A person who is not faithfully tithing is showing a lack of the fear of the Lord.
Proverbs 15:16, KJV reads, "Better is little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith.”
Proverbs 19:23, KJV reads, "The fear of the Lord tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil."
Proverbs 22:4, KJV reads, "By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honor, and life."
Over the past 25 years, as a minister in the field of deliverance, I have observed that those who are faithful in tithing to this ministry have been incredibly blessed with better jobs, less sickness and adversity, and have advanced above and beyond those who have not been faithful. Even when adversities came, they only advanced, rather than destroyed, the position of the faithful!
We should tithe because it's the right thing to do. I believe that deliverance is precious to the heart of God and those who support it with prayer, finances, and their lives will be rewarded and compensated abundantly for it. Perhaps some of the blessings will come to us in heaven¾they will be even more precious then, for they will last for eternity.
To hold back our tithe reveals the true nature of our heart¾selfishness, fear, distrust, or anger with God. If you find these characteristics in yourself, ask God to forgive you and purge your heart. Choose to believe and challenge the Lord to prove himself as He promised in the book of Malachi. You will never be disappointed when you choose to obey Him. Some of you may feel you need to pay God back for the tithes you've withheld for yourself. If you are able to do this, do it.
Be careful not to claim giving more on your income tax form than you actually gave. The story of Ananias and Sapphira is a severe warning to us of how God views deceit. I would encourage you to "round up" when you calculate your tithe. If you're counting to the penny, worried that you might give God too much, you might want to check your heart attitude.
II Corinthians 9:7, KJV reads, "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver."
We can't out-give God, for He will be no man's debtor. If things in your world have not been going smoothly, ask yourself, " Does God respect me? Am I faithful with my tithe and offerings? Or am I guilty of playing with money that doesn't belong to me?
God desires to bless his people. As your pastor, it would bring me great satisfaction to see your lives abundantly blessed. All of us need encouragement. To do what's right. People often ask me why deliverance comes so slow, or why adversity strikes so often. If you are having trouble solving a particular problem, try looking at how you’re responding to the fundamentals of the Christian faith. Are you reading your bible, attending church, paying your tithe? Clear up these issues; then watch God rebuke the devourer and deal with your family, job, and enemies.
In closing, let me share some testimonies that show the faithfulness of God in blessing the lives of people who chose to obey him by tithing.
San Francisco was gutted by one of the most devastating fires that ever hit a large city. Ball Glass, a company that was located in the very heart of the fire, was left totally unscathed while every building surrounding it was completely demolished. Nothing was lost for the Ball Glass Company. They credited their survival to God and to the fact that the company had always been faithful to tithe on their profits.
R.G. LeTourneau, the Christian earth-moving machinery manufacture, repented from withholding his tithe and from that point on, LeTourneau's fortune changed and within four years, he and his wife founded the LeTourneau Foundation, gave 90% of the company's stocks to the Lord, and lived on the remaining 10%. The foundation's earnings financed evangelical Christian works worldwide. At one time, the foundation was worth 40 million. LeTourneau often said: "It is not how much money I give to God, but how much of God's money I keep for myself." LeTourneau is the only man to hold the dual position of president of the Christian Businessmen's Committee International and the Gideons International.
John P. Rockefeller Sr. tells this story: "Yes, I tithe, and I would like to tell you how it all came about. I had to begin work as a small boy to help support my mother. My first wages amounted to $1.50 per week. The first week after I went to work, I took the $1.50 home to my mother and she held the money in her lap and explained to me that she would be happy if I would give a tenth of it to the Lord. I did, and from that week until this day I have tithed every dollar God has entrusted to me. And I want to say, if I had not tithed the first dollar I made I would not have tithed the first million dollars I made. Tell your readers to train the children to tithe, and they will grow up to be faithful stewards of the Lord."
My prayer is that you will be encouraged to live a life pleasing to God. May God bless you all!
* This tape can be purchased by visiting our web site: http://members.aol.com/intlwccd/home.htm