Posted by: Rina | November 12, 2009

Tithes and Offerings

“He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.  Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?  And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is you own?” (Luke 16: 10-12)

Faith is the catalyst that causes growth in our identity.  Therefore, in order to grow, we must do things that put us in a dependent position upon God.  When we place more confidence in God’s promises than in our own ability to accumulate wealth, we will begin to grow in God.  This was true of the rich young ruler of scripture.  He had led a morally upright and clean life, yet, he put his sense of security and peace in his wealth rather than God.  (Nothing wrong with wealth, God just wants to be first.  One need only look at Solomon to see God has no problem giving riches.)  Jesus sees right through the matter and tells him, “One thing you lack; Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” (Mark 10:21)  Entering the Kingdom is not about riches, it is about faith and dependency.  If we are to grow in our  identity, we must make radical changes in our lifestyle.  The first change that we need to develop is a lifestyle of radical generosity to God and men.  When we give, it creates space for God to bless us and bless others.  We open ourselves up for God to open heaven over us.  The Bible says, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house and try Me now in this, says the Lord of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.’” (Malachi 3:10)  God is not just talking about financial blessings but also spiritual ones.  In essence, when we tithe, God will open heaven into our lives.  Hence, whatever is free to operate in heaven is free to operate in our lives because of our obedience to tithing.  When we step out in faith and give away money we put confidence in God’s promise.  When the promise is fulfilled in our lives, it breeds a greater desire to believe what God has promised.  Faith leads to faith, or an increase in faith.  Anytime we limit our ability for a greater belief in His ability, we will grow in our identity and receive spiritual blessing.

In the Bible, Jacob provides a great example of an individual who had great confidence in his own ability.  He has a tremendous encounter with God that radically changes his life.  The first change that he makes in his lifestyle is in the area of his finances.  (Genesis 28:22)

Jacob has a powerful encounter with God at Bethel (Genesis 28:22)  Prior to this experience, the only god that Jacob had was himself.  He was a manipulator and a con-man.  Even his name means, “deceiver.”   He sought, through his own power, to secure his future.  He manipulates and steals his older brother’s birthright and blessing.  Esau, the burly older brother, didn’t appreciate this much and sets out to kill Jacob.  Jacob is now on the run for his life.  After receiving a prophetic blessing from his father, Jacob sets out.  As a result of this blessing, the spiritual kingdom has moved to invade Jacob’s physical circumstances.  God appears to him in a dream.  God appears as the God of Abraham and Isaac, and not the God of Jacob.  However, as a result of this encounter, throughout the remainder of scripture, God identifies Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Jacob has become a different man.  Jacob recognizes the promises of God on his life and makes the decision to put himself in a position of dependency upon God by tithing.  (the Hebrew word for tithe literally means “a tenth”-10% of ones income is the tithe)  For the rest of his life, Jacob was provided for and taken care of by God.  Jacob was secure enough in God’s revelation of His character to put himself in a position of financial dependence on God.

The Apostle Paul understood this principle and he taught it to the Philippians.  Paul writes, “Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.” (Philippians 4:17)  Paul is saying, “Look, I don’t want your money, I want you to receive the spiritual and physical benefits of a radically generous lifestyle.”  This principle was honored by God in the life of Cornelius.

Cornelius is in prayer and God fulfills His promise and “opens heaven” over Cornelius.  An angel appears to him and says, “Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms are remembered in the sight of God.” (Acts 10:31)  It was because of his radical generosity in making financial offerings (alms) that God chose him to be the first of the Gentiles to receive salvation and subsequent, baptism in the Spirit. It’s one thing for us to seek God for an increase in anointing and it is quite another thing when God seeks after us because of our radical generosity.

The Shunamite woman of the Old Testament, demonstrates this principle in her dealings with Elisha.  She radically and generously used her resources to provide for the prophet and his servant.  Because of her giving, the prophet seeks to impart something into her life.  (2 Kings 4:14)  Again, it is one thing to seek an impartation from a man of God but quite another when the man of God seeks you out because of your generosity.  Jesus explains it this way, “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.  He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.” (Matthew 10:40-41) When we honor, bless, and support the calling and anointing on someone’s life, we put ourselves in a position to make a demand on that anointing.  (We are not talking about buying the anointing, we are talking about putting ourselves in a position of dependency upon God and allowing Him and His servants to fulfill His promise toward us)  Generosity, tithes, and offerings can ensure that we grow in our identity.  It puts us in a position of faith to receive impartation from both God and His ministers.  This transference will cause us to grow up in God.  Subsequently, leaving behind our old identity.

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