Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full–pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back. (Luke 6:38)
I know every bird of the mountains, and everything that moves in the field is mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all it contains. (Psalm 50:10-12)
So let’s get one thing straight from the start. God doesn’t need anything from us. It’s all His to begin with. We are His stewards or caretakers. He not only owns the cattle on those hills, he owns the hills themselves, the air above the hills, and anyone taking care of those cattle–not to mention everything else. Remember, this is His creation. Maybe that’s why so many Christians have a problem with giving something back to Him on a regular basis. We forget that our job as a steward or caretaker is a privilege granted by the One who promised that He would take care of us, if we were good stewards. The principle of giving back to God began in the beginning of the Old Testament with Cain and Abel and continued with Abraham and Jacob. It was a part of the law given by God to Moses. Giving and sacrifice continued into the New Testament. Today people argue whether tithing should be 10% of your income. They debate whether it was intended for our time. They also argue about whether it should be based on your gross income or your net income. I don’t pretend to have all the answers. But I do have a suggestion. Look at Matthew 25:14-30 or Luke 19:12-26, which are the two versions of the Parable of the Talents. In each parable, the master gave several of his servants a sum of money to do business until he returned. When he returned, he rewarded and gave more responsibility to those servants who had earned a return according to how much they had earned for him. The one who earned nothing, lost what little he had and was cast out as unprofitable.
It seems like no matter how you read these parables, the basic principle is the more you give back to the master, the more you receive. If you don’t put anything into God’s storehouse, it’s hard to get anything back. And it seems that we should be thinking about how generous we can be rather than how little we can give and still get away with it. For my family, 10% is a bare minimum or starting point in giving. And it’s not just of our income, but of our time and everything that we do in life. And God has never failed in His promise to return that gift to us in full–pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into our lap. (Luke 6:38) That’s not just good spiritual sense, it’s good business as well.