I was asked in an interview last week whether a person in debt should postpone paying tithes until he had paid off his debt. That’s an easy question to which the answer is a resounding “No.” Although from a financial point of view, it makes sense to pay off debt rather than make charitable donations, we must keep in mind that God doesn’t operate within the limits of our economic circumstances.
If you’ve been a Christian for many years, you have likely heard a statement along the lines of, “God can do more with your 90% than you can do with your 100%.” It sounds like a cute cliche that a minister might use to convince his congregation to tithe. It is truth, however, and one that all Christians should take to heart.
God doesn’t need our offerings. He owns it all. God declares, “If I were hungry, I would not tell you. For the world is mine and all that is in it.” Psalm 50:12 (NIV)
God can meet all of our needs without our help. He asks us to give back 10% of the resources He has entrusted to us as a sign of our faith, trust, and obedience. And when we bring our ten percent, He multiples that to do the work of the kingdom, and He multiples the ninety percent that remains to meet our needs.
An great example of God’s multiplication powers is the story of the widow who meet Elijah’s needs, as told in 1 Kings 17. The widow had only enough flour and oil to make a cake each for her son and herself. She was going to prepare a final meal for them before they died. Elijah asked her to make food for him first. The widow obeyed God’s prophet, and God did not allow her flour or oil to run out until the drought had ended.
You may be experiencing great blessings today, or perhaps you are in the midst of difficult financial circumstances. Either way, offer up what you have to the Lord by following His instructions to give ten percent to the work of the church. Then observe how God blesses you. He has promised that He will “throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” (Malachi 3:10, NIV)