Luke 6:37-38 (NLT)
“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. 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.”
May I be transparent? Sorry, but today I must be. Yesterday was just plain awful. After two days with our son undergoing chemotherapy, there was not much left of me emotionally or mentally for my very demanding occupation which incorporates many personalities. I woke up tired, drained and needing more rest. Rather than spending my drive time praising the Lord in worship, I jumped right into work which would prove to be a critical error in my opinion. By mid-morning, I was in my office, hands over my face, sobbing as I succumbed to the overbearing pressure and responsibility of my position. Unfortunately, there was an unseen dam of emotion that had been harbored there that would explode causing tears of frustration to cover my desk. The last few weeks, I have not cried other than when we received the fourth cancer diagnosis. I can’t cry…or I fear that I will never stop crying when it comes to the journey that we have been on. All I wanted to do was crawl into church and receive the outpouring that I so desperately needed, I usually come fully charged and ready to precipitate a move of God in the House of the Lord, but not tonight. I came ready to receive. However, our pastor would not be teaching but rather a missionary from India would take the pulpit. I sunk a little lower in my seat. Lord, you know what I need tonight. As he began to share, his foreign dialect was difficult to understand as he began to share about giving. At that moment, I decided on a monetary gift for his ministry as that was where this was all going, right? As I struggled to understand the Word that he shared, it hit me. The Holy Spirit will always speak to those willing to listen even in the most unlikely settings, situations and people. He said, “We are to tithe in cash and in kind…” My husband and I believe in the tithe. It is holy. Each time the Lord provides us with monetary wealth via paycheck or gift, we give God what He requires which is one-tenth and many times include an offering. This does not make us great people. It does not make us religious or any better than anyone else. The Word of God commands it. We believe it so we do it. But what is this form of giving called “in kind”? Now, he had my attention.
Deuteronomy 14:22-23 (NLT)
“You must set aside a tithe of your crops—one-tenth of all the crops you harvest each year. Bring this tithe to the designated place of worship—the place the LORD your God chooses for his name to be honored—and eat it there in his presence. This applies to your tithes of grain, new wine, olive oil, and the firstborn males of your flocks and herds. Doing this will teach you always to fear the LORD your God.”
Tithing is non-negotiable. God has designated it as a holy act of worship and expects His People to do it. Yes, even you. Our family began tithing before we had the resources to do so and I believe it is why God has allowed us to prosper by protecting our wealth from the devourer. This not mean that we are rolling in the dough. We live on a budget just like everyone else. But we have all that we need because we are Children of God and He is our Provider.
Malachi 3:7-10 (NLT)
Ever since the days of your ancestors, you have scorned my decrees and failed to obey them. Now return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “But you ask, ‘How can we return when we have never gone away?’ “Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me! “But you ask, ‘What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you?’ “You have cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me. You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating me. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!
We have definitely cheated God. Most Christians refuse to tithe…because they do not trust the Lord. Even more people rely on government rather than God and this number is increasing every day with more government programs creating an even greater dependency on this world rather than the Kingdom of God. Here is the problem with this: If you are depending on the government than you will live a limited life because such a relationship requires it. If you prosper, you will lose your benefits unlike the Kingdom of God which operates on promises and prosperity. God has invited His People to participate in His Kingdom Plan which is blessing and promises. You cannot do this depending on anyone else. If you are on government assistance, it should be your goal to outgrow your need for this world and fully accept your benefits in Jesus Christ. As you move all faith and trust in the Lord, He will supply all your needs without you having to live in lack to have it. Tithing is a requirement for all believers beginning with your money but it does not stop there and includes something called “in kind”.
Matthew 23:23-24 (NLT)
“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things. Blind guides! You strain your water so you won’t accidentally swallow a gnat, but you swallow a camel!”
Jesus hates religion outside of a relationship with His People. To tithe money and nothing else makes you religious because you are sowing into supporting the “priest” and “temple” rather than to God as required. This is only the beginning of the type of tithing the Lord is requesting. He indicates that we must also tithe in “justice, mercy and faith.” This is tithing “in kind” and it has the power to change your relationship with Jesus Christ from religious to radical. Radicals gain access to the Kingdom of God by pressing into His Presence boldly. To legalistically offer one-tenth of all your monetary wealth neglecting to give yourself is not what the Lord requires.
Hebrews 7:4-7 (NLT)
Consider then how great this Melchizedek was. Even Abraham, the great patriarch of Israel, recognized this by giving him a tenth of what he had taken in battle. Now the Law of Moses required that the priests, who are descendants of Levi, must collect a tithe from the rest of the people of Israel, who are also descendants of Abraham. But Melchizedek, who was not a descendant of Levi, collected a tenth from Abraham. And Melchizedek placed a blessing upon Abraham, the one who had already received the promises of God. And without question, the person who has the power to give a blessing is greater than the one who is blessed.
Before Jesus Christ, men and women had to go through a priest to access God. After Jesus Christ, the temple veil was torn in half from top to bottom and now ordinary people could access an extraordinary God. Jesus Christ became our high priest. Now the church you attend including the pastor and staff who keep it running are supported by monetary tithes and offering but the gifts that tithe “in kind” go directly to Jesus Christ our high priest and bless Him. (Hebrews 10:19-23) Melchizedek blessed Abraham “the one who had already received the promises of God.” When we live our life tithing “in kind” to the Lord, we bless His Heart directly and He blesses us more. This is the access point of exceeding abundance above what we ask or require. The Lord is not interested in the things that rot and decay on the earth but eternal things like “faith, hope and love.” (I Corinthians 13:13) So we are to tithe faith, hope and love by offering justice, mercy and faith to others.
Romans 3:23-26 (NLT)
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.
Justice is a tithe “in kind”. God’s Justice for His People is salvation and justification. What kind of justice do you seek today? When dealing with difficult people who hurt you, talk about you, and hold you back, do you request the vengeance of the Lord? We have been justified by the Lord. This means when God sees us it is “just as if” we never sinned. Can you look at those who hurt, abuse and offend you the same way? This is a tithe “in kind” to seek the same justice in this life that you have found by surrendering your heart, body and soul to Jesus Christ. People are made right with God through Jesus Christ. Do you pray for the salvation of your enemies or hope that they rot in hell? Harsh words yes, but truth that will hopefully pierce our hearts allowing us to experience the prosperity of God. Everyone has sinned. We all fall short of God’s Glory. We are all equal when it comes to the Lord. He loves everyone the same. This is the justice we seek and it is the justice we must give even when it comes as a sacrifice. Justified people must tithe undeserved kindness and fairness to everyone they come in contact with just as Jesus did. “Look at my servant, whom I strengthen. He is my chosen one, who pleases me. I have put my Spirit upon him. He will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or raise his voice in public. He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. He will bring justice to all who have been wronged. He will not falter or lose heart until justice prevails throughout the earth. Even distant lands beyond the sea will wait for his instruction.’”(Isaiah 42:1-4) (Matthew 12:17-21) This is Jesus. He is our example.
Ephesians 2:4-7 (NLT)
But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.
Believers should tithe “in kind” from the wealth of His Grace and Kindness” given to us. God is rich in mercy and lavishes it on His People who in turn must give it back in like kind. Mercy and grace are valuable to us as Children of God. They allow us to come boldly into the Presence and ask what we would have from the Lord. Those who choose to walk in His Truth and Love will have His Mercy. (2 John 1:3) It is given to us new and fresh each day. (Lamentations 3:22-23) We are required to tithe from it by extending it to those around us. To whom much is given much will be required. The enemy will tempt us to “rob” God of sharing His Love and Mercy with other people. Pride tells us that we don’t have to take that, but it is a lie from the pit of hell. Jesus took the burden of our sins and carried them to the Cross. Then He marched right in to hell and snatched our Keys to the Kingdom back from the hand of the devil and has presented them to you! You do owe the Lord your life as a living sacrifice because His Mercy delivered you from death and grave by His Amazing Grace. We have the undeserved and unearned mercy and grace of God inside of us reserved for the world around us. We were given it in our helplessness and inability to save ourselves. It is our responsibility to extend His Mercy and Grace to the people who we encounter each and every day. It is our reasonable service to God. It is a tithe in kind.
Acts 2:38-39 (NLT)
Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, and to your children, and even to the Gentiles—all who have been called by the Lord our God.”
God has forgiven us through the Blood Sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Forgiveness is a tithe in kind. We must learn to forgive and forget just like the Lord has forgiven us. This is an act of mercy. This resembles His Grace. It is a requirement of His People. We must be tenderhearted giving up on rage and revenge. (Ephesians 4:31-32) We must make allowance for the faults of others as God gives us more and more grace each day. (Colossians 3:12-14) This was so important in fact that Jesus included it in His Model of Prayer. (Matthew 6:9-13) You must forgive others as Jesus has forgiven you to be faithful in tithing in kind.
Romans 1:16-17 (NLT)
For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile. This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”
Faith gives us a new life. Faith is a tithe in kind. God gave us a measure of faith to begin with. (Romans 12:1-3) We did not procure it on our own. What He gives to us, the Lord has a right to require a portion of. Every good and perfect gift is from the Father and available by faith. We have a lot to give back to the Lord…AMEN?! The tithe of faith is righteousness. Abraham understood the importance of tithing and he was a righteous man. Those who believe in God will strive to remain in right-standing with Him. (Romans 4:2-5) Abraham was an example of just such a person. ”Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.” (Romans 4:20-24) In order to remain in righteousness with the Lord, we should be obedient. Obedience requires continually investing our faith in the Kingdom of God no matter what is going on in the world around us. This directly affects our trust in the Lord. Faith tithed in kind to the Lord produces confident hope that encourages, equips and enables the watching world to see Jesus Christ in you and through you which glorifies God. We stand in undeserved privilege when we hold this position. (Romans 5:1-2) Nothing is impossible to those who tithe in kind.
2 Corinthians 8:7 (NLT)
Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us —I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving.
It is time for believers to learn the real meaning of tithing and a call to do it as the Lord requires. No more cheating God and begging in the streets. We can come boldly to God when we stand in righteousness. Tithing is obedience to the Lord. Not just your money, there is so much more to give. To those who are given much, much is required. If you want it pressed down, shaken together and running over in your life, give God your tithe monetarily and especially in kind! His Spirit will help you to cultivate the gifts in kind. (Galatians 5:22-23) Your reward will be great because you will never out give the Lord. This must be important to God. Think about it. He sent a missionary all the way from India to share His Word with us!
Luke 12:47-48 (NLT)
“And a servant who knows what the master wants, but isn’t prepared and doesn’t carry out those instructions, will be severely punished. But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.”