When the offering plate comes down your aisle, do you smile or cringe? According to George Barns, Christian pollster, about 3 out of 4 Christians cringe. Perhaps you would like to tithe and give offerings but there is nothing left to give and you are frustrated as well as convicted about it. The good news is that God does not hold a grudge. Rather, He is always ready to begin pouring out a fresh blessing upon you and your finances in response to your obedience and sacrifice.
For many years I too was a skeptic when it came to the issue of giving. As a businessman, I am bottom-line oriented and frankly, tithing and giving offerings flies in the face of human logic. Think about it. Lets say you earn $500 per week and after paying your bills your left with only $100. The offering plate comes by, and you are forced to decide, "shall I pay my $50 tithe and give a small offering of say $10, or ... just tip God with a $20 bill?" Obedience motivates us to tithe. Sacrifice motivates our offering. Tipping God is motivated by our guilt. Yet this is what many Christians do, and then justify it by saying that they will give more when God blesses them. For some reason the blessing never comes since God does not reward us for disobedience. He would be violating His Word.
Let's look at it another way. The Bible says that everything belongs to the Lord. Everything. Your time, your talent, your car, your house, your family, and your money. Everything! Do you believe this? If so, then you have taken the first step of stewardship in understanding that you are merely the overseer of God's property. If you do not believe this, then you will always cringe when the offering plate comes by.
If 100% of everything belongs to God, the correct question we should ask ourselves when it comes to giving is "how much do I really need to live on?" and "how much can I give back to God." Rather than complaining about giving 10-20%, we should be praising God that we have been blessed with living on 80-90%. See the difference? If you reject the O.T. model of the tithe, then welcome to the N.T. model of giving everything you possibly can.
Does Jesus need your money? No. Does He need your obedience and sacrifice? Not really, but it delights Him, and it will bless you. In Mark 12:41-44 it is recorded that Jesus watched as the townspeople gave into the treasury and then singled out the widow who gave all she had (2 mites) as the best model for kingdom giving. She didn't cringe, she smiled, because she understood that you cannot out give God. I hope that we too can learn this lesson that the measure of OUR giving affects the measure of God's blessing!